Author: Bonnie Harris

This weekend I was having breakfast with a stockbroker friend of mine who told me he thought my job must be really stressful, and asked how I dealt with it. A broker in this economy and market thinks MY job is stressful? I brushed it off, telling him I used to be in IT and this was nothing compared to working with a bunch of left-brained gearheads. In fact, I only have one token friend in technology now, and that's Gerard McClean. It's all I can handle. But he pressed me about it and so I told him. I meditate. I meditate all the time. No, I don't get in a lotus position and chant "Om". First of all, I have arthritis and these knees won't bend anywhere close to that. And I'm not very good at it and I get distracted when I'm doing it. But I try to do it once a day at least. And the difference in my stress level is pretty incredible. Years ago, I was in a horrible marriage and terribly depressed. The antidepressants they gave me literally made me crazy and I jumped out the window. Since it was the first floor, I was okay, but still had to find a way around the depression after I dusted the leaves off my butt. (I have a neighbor who thinks I'm absolutely nuts. I don't blame him.)  I went on retreat and met a former Catholic nun turned Buddhist taught me how to meditate. And I've been doing it ever sense. Here's how. 

[caption id="attachment_3964" align="alignright" width="300" caption="This is a Filofax."][/caption] I've had a couple of experiences recently that have made really question whether information is really a competitive edge anymore. I'm not talking about proprietary recipes, or things that can be copyrighted. I'm talking about the kind of information that USED to be a gold mine and is now available to everyone if they look hard enough.  Information is no longer for selling...it's for sharing. Collectively we can get better and make more money. For example, when I was in sales 100 years ago we kept our client lists very secret. Those relationships and those names were to be guarded with our lives. A colleague of mine once left his Filofax at a bar after a networking event at a bar. Our manager almost fired him, sure that our competition had snapped it up and were busy calling his contacts. Even names of producers used to be sacrosanct...only to be known by those publicists in the "in" crowd. I don't think we can use information as a competitive edge anymore. Anybody can buy a subscription to Cision and find out who to pitch. HARO goes out multiple times daily with key information that used to be shared among only a select number of people. Company LinkedIn pages often list key managers. It's all OUT there already. Why should we pay for it? 

These days, the only job that seems to keep me interested is the one that combines quite a bit of disparate activity. In PR, we are part counselor, salesperson, troubleshooter, secretary, creative, mediator...you name it and we do it. As a kid I wasn't much different. I had two main career aspirations - surgeon and go-go dancer.  In some ways, dissection and dancing go hand in hand in the public relations business -  so maybe I'm not that far off from my childhood dreams. When I was 4, remember it was the sixties and go-go dancing was all the rage. I had the COOLEST pair of patent leather go-go boots, and the shimmeriest shiniest mini- skirt you've ever seen. Me and my friend Sheri would practice go-go dancing on the stone wall between our houses for hours. This is not unlike the activity involved with a pitch. Dress it up, make it snazzy, tap dance your way onto the phone with an editor and then hit 'em with your jazz hands. (Everyone, do your jazz hands now. You know you want to.) That's the outward appearance of PR to most people. We're glad handers, salespeople, we add the "ta da" to the "to do". But in reality, there's quite a bit more surgery involved than people are aware of.

I think most people that know me will tell you that my brain might not work the same way as yours. (Four concussions, anyone?) But I am really good at find content for client social media accounts in very little time.  So I thought I would share my non-scientific process for finding and selecting articles, blogs and other little bits for Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, among others. Keep in mind a lot of what I do is B2B so it's sometimes not that easy to find good, current content. Here are a few ways to make the process faster and much less painful. 

I often get accused of having bad "work/life balance". I'm often told I need to get off the grid, stop being available 24/7, etc. I've already written about what happened the one time I succumbed to pressure and turned off my cell phone for a day, almost missing a HUGE opportunity. I've also written about why going off the grid for any length of time is dumb.  So today I've decided to explain to you why I think work/life balance is a crock.  I apologize if this sounds defensive but I'm feeling like maybe it's an opportunity to teach people that happiness is not based on how much "life" you have in proportion to how much you "work". The lesson I've learned is when work is fun and exciting and fulfilling, it's part of life. It's not something you have to do to HAVE a life. To make my point, I think you need to see how much time I spend goofing off. Probably 80% of these items are during the week, as Saturdays are reserved for spending time with my mom and Sunday mornings are sacred.  I do like to get ready for the week by working on Sundays, like I am now. So here are some stats about my life in 2011 - since I put just about everything on my calendar it wasn't too hard to add up.