Halloween Lesson: Step Out of Your Comfort Zone - By Shantel Carvalho

Halloween is normally filled with parties and spooky, scary, creepy things that go bump in the night. But, you can also learn something valuable from this holiday. You can learn how to step out of your comfort zone by being yourself, meeting new people and discovering the magic of thinking bigger.

Be Yourself
A big part of being yourself is knowing who you are and developing an accurate, true sense of self. Being honest with yourself to figure out your good and bad traits based on your defining characteristics will help you to see yourself as you are right now. Now, these defining traits are not set in stone and these traits will change as you begin to evolve into your true authentic self. The goal of this exercise is to encourage you to become more self-aware. The more you venture out of your comfort zone, the more you will be able to fully understand who you are and what you ultimately love to do in life. To get out of your comfort zone, take small steps and do something different that you normally wouldn’t do, but you’ve always wanted to do. The more experiences you have will help you to grow and be more confident with a better understanding of your unique individuality! Halloween is a great holiday for self-expression by creating your own interpretation through your costume choices and themed parties, so go out there, be yourself, enjoy life, and have some fun by just being YOU!

Meet New People
Start a conversation with someone new whether at a Halloween party, at the bus stop, the gym, or wherever you happen to be. This will probably make you nervous and feel as if you need a lot of courage to speak to new people. In 1994’s The Mask, Dr. Arthur Neuman said, “We all wear masks… metaphorically speaking.” Especially, during Halloween, literally and figuratively, but that shouldn’t stop you from meeting new people. This is a great way to get out of your comfort zone. You will realize you don’t need a bunch of confidence or courage to start a conversation and you may even learn something new from them. This is a great experience for you to get some really good advice about life and you may realize the things you don’t want in life but it’s up to you to figure out the lessons.

The Magic of Thinking Bigger
The magic of thinking bigger can help us to remember our beliefs by taking action in our lives toward our dreams. In 1993’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack Skellington said, “Just because I cannot see it, doesn’t mean I can’t believe it!” Even though you may not be able to see what you can achieve, that shouldn’t ever stop you from creating a fulfilling life no matter the challenges that lay before you. Try something new, such as a new hobby, start a blog, look for a new job, or whatever will make you happy and get you out of a perceived rut. Expanding your inner boundaries will require a new way of thinking than before and you will have to push past those self-imposed limitations in order to define the understanding of your inner growth.

Be patient with yourself when journeying to self-discovery because it’s fun to learn new things about yourself that you didn’t know before! Happy Halloween!

Making Feedback to your Team “POP” — By Delia Mendoza

Sharing constructive feedback on work projects, or performance is something everyone will do at some point in their professional life. Whether it’s giving feedback to peers or people you manage, knowing how to give feedback effectively is a skill that managers need to acquire.

The term constructive criticism is synonymous with constructive feedback. No matter how you look at it, the feedback or constructive criticism is meant to offer guidance. That means an opportunity to share feedback to help isn’t an opportunity to be critical just for the sake of it.

As I’ve grown in my career, I’ve adopted the POP method for sharing constructive feedback with people I work with and manage. POP is an acronym for “Positive, Opportunity, Positive.” You may also know this method as the sandwich method because the need for improvement is sandwiched between the positive comments. I’ve adopted this method to give constructive feedback while ensuring your peers and mentees walk away feeling good about themselves and their ability to improve after the feedback has been shared. Here’s how it works:

Positive #1
The first positive in this situation can come in the form of a compliment. Identify something the person does well or point out a strength they have. For example, “I value the way you are proactive and are the first one who jumps on a task in order to complete it.” That can be very simple. It just needs to be positive and point out something that the person does well.

The opportunity comes into play where you state where the person has room to improve. This is where you pay mind to give feedback constructively – offering guidance on how the person can correct themselves. “I notice you are not making your deadlines. Something that can help is to make a plan to prioritize and map out your day ahead of time, so that you adequately piece out your day and make sure things that are due first are completed first.”
The sentence above identifies the area the person can improve and offers a practical tip on how they can do better. It’s important to mention that you do not want to lead your opportunity after stating the positive with a contrasting conjunction. For example, “I admire how you come to work on time each day, but I notice it takes you awhile to get started on your tasks.” Inserting the word “but” contradicts the positive you just stated. It negates it and makes your feedback take a negative direction.

Positive #2
The second positive closes out your feedback on a lighter note. You don’t want to leave a person feeling like they aren’t performing well after your constructive feedback. You want to be encouraging or even highlight something else that they do well.

For example, “I know that you want to do well here and be promoted, and you’re doing a great job. I’m not worried that you won’t be able to improve.”

It’s important to offer encouragement in your feedback because at the end of the day, it lets the person know that you support them and that you believe in them. This does wonders for overall morale.

Paying mind to this will allow your POP feedback to be effective and strengthen your relationship with your mentees so they are constantly improving and continuing to grow as professionals while contributing well to the team.

Happy Boss’s Day to a “Boss” Boss

October 16th is National Boss’s Day, a chance to celebrate the people who direct, supervise, manage, guide, and mentor us at our places of business. “Boss” is also a slang term to describe something cool or excellent, so a great boss can be referred to as a boss boss.

Celebrated on October 16, or the closest weekday if that date falls on a weekend, National Boss Day is a day when appreciation is shown to bosses. The day was thought up by Patricia Bays Haroski, who registered the day with the United States Chamber of Commerce in 1958. Haroski worked at the State Farm Insurance Company in Deerfield, Illinois, and wanted to create the day to show appreciation for her boss and other bosses. She also thought the day could be useful in improving the relationship between bosses and employees.

The founder and CEO of NRPR Group, Nicole Rodrigues is a terrific boss who cares about her agency, clients, employees and industry and how to keep everyone at the top of their game. Nicole on her recent Beverly Hills Boss YouTube program told the audience that those with whom you do business care about who you are and where your ideas come from. Nicole’s inspiration has come from her life journey and some quotable quotes.

One of the first mobile entertainment publicists - ever, her first professional PR job was at an enterprise software company, Portal Software in 2000, until she decided to leave tech, briefly, to pursue a PR role with the Oakland Raiders—which is a step she credits as molding her into the consumer tech publicist she is today. As the future saw entertainment merging with technology, in 2006 she became the PR manager at MOBITV, the Emmy-award winning global technology company responsible for the first live mobile video experience on mobile phones.  Post-MOBITV, she worked as a Senior PR Manager at Voce Communications, with accounts such as Dolby, Yahoo!, Sony Playstation, and others. Nicole served as VP of digital entertainment at Bender/Helper Impact, until founding NRPR Group in 2014. Nicole has leveraged every position held, prior to starting her own agency, as an opportunity to build expertise needed to succeed in the role of CEO and head honcho.

Her favorite quotes include:

There’s always tomorrow and always an opportunity to do better
When Nicole was a cheerleader, there were days that the Oakland Raiders would be losing. Keeping a positive perspective and attitude helped her to remain smiling on the field. Being a cheerleader taught her to not look at losing as losing, but rather look at it as an opportunity to learn and develop. At heart, Nicole is still a cheerleader and will always encourage anyone with whom she works to do his or her best and to never stop learning.

You can have anything you want if you are willing to work for it
This quote came from Nicole’s mother. Nicole was the first of the nine children in her family to graduate college and worked hard in high school to earn scholarships. She held three jobs during college to pay for her own education. This dedication to success in reaching goals continues today as does the belief that one needs to create one’s own path in life regardless of the circumstances into which one is thrown. Nicole believes that the universe rewards hard work, and the more hard work you put in, the better the results will be. This includes work both in and outside the office. There’s only so much you’re going to learn between 9 AM and 5 PM. The work that you do outside of that time will help you stand out and grow quicker in your career. Your success is in your own hands.

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some hire public relations officers." - Daniel J. Boorstin
It is the role of a PR person to work closely with CEOs, executives, and internal PR/marketing teams to uncover specific passion, vision, and differentiators, and share those stories with appropriate key audiences. The company executives are generally too busy and too close to the day-to-day to see the stories that will resonate with media, customers, partners and other influencers. Nicole works to find client and product strengths and stories and can see the most effective, productive strategy for sharing them and using them as tools for growth. It is also important for the PR pros to educate clients on what PR can and cannot accomplish for them.

Nicole views each day as another opportunity to help others and do things the right way. She is a strong believer in the need to evolve to stay ahead of changing times and circumstances or risk being left in the dust. Whether it is staff, clients, or the kids she mentors, Nicole works to find each one’s strengths and stories and can see the most effective, productive strategy for sharing them and using them as tools for growth. She is a “boss” boss. Happy Boss’s Day. Feel free to share comments below about your favorite boss.

Life lessons from Football

Autumn is in the air, and in the northeast, this is evident by cooler days, deciduous trees with red and orange leaves, pumpkin spice everything and football. Whether you are a fan of the gridiron, fantasy football or Lucy pulling the football away from Charlie Brown as part of what binds them together; football offers lessons that can be used in life and at the office.

Every player on the team has a role whether they play or warm the bench. Teams win and lose together when everyone does their part. One cannot win a football game by trying to do it all one’s self. Players also need to be selfless and step in where needed when another player is injured or not available. Players who have large egos and want to be in the spotlight are not team players. They and employees need to focus on doing great work. Team players are not complainers; a player may feel justified in complaining when injured, but a better tactic would be to focus on healing and how soon one can get back in the game. Attitude is everything. Regardless of your role or place on the totem pole, someone else’s job depends on your completing your assigned tasks. The same is true in the office—everyone needs to do their jobs in order for everyone to be successful and may need to roll up their sleeves and help as needed.

The players on the football are required to attend practice, often early in the morning, and maintain good grades, which may require them to make sacrifices such as substituting time in the gym or library for time with friends or time as a couch potato. Moreover, the player with the discipline to work hard, be productive, deliver high-quality work and are determined to win gain the coach’s attention and trust. The same is true in the office where effective managers know which employees can be asked to take on tasks and greater responsibility and reward those who go beyond their scope of duties.

Leadership is more about helping others to succeed than it is about being the king or queen of the field. While the coach is the de facto leader of a team, individual members are likely to emerge as leaders. The first step in becoming a leader is to know what a leader does. Study how other leaders inspire, motivate, keep others on task, and know when to stand up for something and when to listen to the coach. Leaders push others to push themselves to achieve success. Leaders also help the team to focus on the bigger picture. Yes, it is fun and rewarding to win a game or to score the big account, but no one wins every time. In those situations, leaders need to look at the bigger picture and what could have been done differently in terms of preparation and play and the same is true in closing a business deal or completing a project on time and under budget.

Take pride in your accomplishments and in those of others. Take pride in seeing through from start to finish. You may not win the game or gain the blue-ribbon account, but one can learn from failure, fix the issues and focus on winning the next time. When teams do win, they need to celebrate the success of every team member and how they all worked together. We’ve all seen the football hero being carried by teammates or Gatorade poured over the coach, all great moves that may not be suitable in the office. The point is to celebrate successes together as a team and to recognize the office MVP.

Being part of a football team or any sports team offers great examples for the office. One learns skills such as goal setting, perseverance, and other life skills that are useful in the work setting to help individuals and the team to thrive.

Note: This blog originally appeared on October 10, 2018.

3Q2019 Announcement: NRPR Group Celebrates Five Successful Years With More Awards and New Clients

We're excited to announce five years and new quarter highlights, which include being named the official PR team for Los Angeles Comic Con, award wins, milestones and for re-signing two returning clients for their newest projects.

In addition, due to its success with clients, it has been a red-letter year for the agency itself. Founder and CEO Nicole Rodrigues was honored with a Ragan ACE Award Honorable Mention in the category of PR Professional of the Year. The award recognizes communication innovators. Through strategic planning, release creation, proactive pitching, social media, speaking and award opportunities, campaign building, and utilizing tactics such as leveraging celebrity advocates/board members/investors, videos, power panels, and digital media, Nicole and the NRPR team have secured coverage with top-tier media outlets for its market-leading, innovative clients. The agency was also named US - Strategic Communications Consultancy Firm of the Year and Nicole was named US - Gamechanger of the Year by ACQ5 and Gamechangers Magazine. Nicole was featured on the cover of Insights Success Magazine' s "The 30 Most Innovative Companies to Watch 2019," the 3rd edition to honor NRPR Group and Nicole as one of the 30 Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs of 2019.

"It still feels surreal that NRPR Group has reached its fifth anniversary," said Nicole Rodrigues, CEO and founder of NRPR Group. "It's commonly known only about 50 percent of businesses make it this far and I credit our success to client and employee satisfaction. If employees are happy, they will be motivated to do better work, which is noticed and appreciated by clients."

NRPR continues to grow its client roster and employee base with more consumer-tech, lifestyle, fintech and other game-changing clients remain interested in working with NRPR's award-winning team. New and returning clients in Q3 2019 include:

BUTTON Wallet: BUTTON Wallet, a leading messenger-based cryptocurrency solution for trading and buying digital assets offers financial technology for users to easily and safely manage their crypto-currency assets and personal digital finances at their own pace based on individual needs. NRPR is engaging with BUTTON Wallet to elevate its position as the leading global cryptocurrency exchange and ecosystem to advance the cryptocurrency market for innovative organizations.

Beautytap: Beautytap, the premier destination for Korean beauty education, advice, content, community, and premium luxury beauty products has returned to NRPR for its expertise in earned media. Recent campaigns have included garnering coverage for the news that Beautytap has been hand-selected to appear at the Backstage Creations Giving Suite™ at the 71st Emmy® Awards on Sunday, September 22, 2019. NRPR also re-signed with Beautytap to increase media visibility for the partnership between Mediheal, Korea's #1 Sheet Mask brand, and BTS, the #1 K pop band in the world, to bring the mask to the US market.

Los Angeles Comic Con: L.A. Comic Con is Los Angeles' biggest and best multimedia pop culture convention, showcasing comics, movies, sci-fi, fantasy, horror, anime, and gaming. NRPR is managing the media relations in partnership with Company X Marketing, managing the press room, and promoting the event to media and influencers to garner press coverage for the event itself and the companies participating in the event.

Neurovalens: Neurovalens is a global health tech company, focused on developing innovative neuroscience to improve lives. Its Modius product line uses neuroscience to improve lives through safe, innovative, non-invasive products that manage weight loss, sleep, and other common global health challenges that impact physical and mental health. NRPR is working with the company to increase visibility and brand awareness.

Read the full press release here and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more great updates from our team.

Goal Setting: You Won't Know if Successful if You Do Not Have Goals

While a recent blog discussed why September is a great time to start planning for 2020, in this blog we will take the discussion a step further and talk about successful goal setting, which is the first step toward creating a plan of action for 2020. As Steve Maraboli, author of Life, the Truth, and Being Free said, “If you don’t know exactly where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?” Without a clear destination, your GPS will not help you to navigate to arrive there. The same is true with setting goals. First, you need to know where you are going, then you need to set a plan for how you will arrive there.

What is Goal Setting?
Goal setting goal is the act of selecting a target or objective you wish to achieve. After one has an overall vision and purpose, they can be broken down into steps for how you will accomplish that vision. The vision could be of winning an industry award, increasing sales by 50 percent, or gaining a promotion. When you know what you want to achieve, you can determine how you will get there, also known as your goals. Goals can be long or short term and must be tied to a timeline and a measurement so that you will be able to track progress.

The Rudder and Oar
The goals set then become our guides for behavior for meeting the chosen target. James Clear, author of Atomic Habits shares this analogy:” Imagine a small rowboat. Your goals are like the rudder on a boat. They set the direction and determine where you go. If you commit to one goal, then the rudder stays put and you continue moving forward. If you flip-flop between goals, then the rudder moves all around and it is easy to find yourself rowing in circles. However, there is another part of the boat that is even more important than the rudder: The oars. If the rudder is your goal, then the oars are your process for achieving it. While the rudder determines your direction, the oars determine your progress.”

Moving toward the Goal
Having goals help us to focus our attention, time and resources on a specific project. The key is to be focused on one goal at a time. We can then think of a goal as a mission and when we choose priorities can ask ourselves if this task will move us closer to the goal. If the answer is no, then the task needs to be revised, postponed or even abandoned. Sometimes the goal also needs to be revised along with the steps needed to achieve it. You may make mistakes along the way, hit roadblocks and need to take a detour or chart a new course to success. The key is to keep going and make the effort even if we are frustrated at times. Celebrate milestones reached along the way to keep motivation high and keep envisioning how great the outcome will feel.

Goals help us to keep on track and to accomplish success if we are committed to their achievement and if they are something for which we truly want to work. We may have to make sacrifices such as sleep time, leisure time, or saving money. We have to take action even if it is in small increments. Goal achievement does not happen on its own. We do need to define success and what would constitute success for a specific project. Though we have been discussing the importance of goals to reach a destination or finish line. There really is no finish line because once one goal is achieved, it’s time to start on the next goal. Good luck!

Honoring the Servant Leaders

There are many types of leaders within a company setting. Some take on leadership roles by virtue of their assigned job role and others lead on a de-facto basis. Some leaders are very authoritative to almost the level of dictatorship. The leadership style that resonates the most with me is that of servant leader. “Servant leadership” was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay that he first published in 1970. According to Greenleaf, a director of Management Development at AT&T, “a servant-leader focuses primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which they belong.” This is in contrast to other leaders who seek leadership in order to gain wealth, power, and practice self-aggrandizement. Success is not about the leader, it is about achieving goals that benefit the organization and keep employees motivated and satisfied.

While servant leaders put the needs of the company or employees first, they are not subservient. Rather, this leader helps employees to grow, to learn to lead, and to feel empowered. To succeed, servant leaders need to ask themselves the following questions:

What does my team need from me?
The answer to this question may include thorough training, certain resources. The team members may also need less tangible items such as someone to listen to them, some empathy, compassion, fairness, and some trust in them. A servant leader is available to offer feedback and mentor staff so that they will learn and grow.

How can I remove obstacles for my team members?
Obstacles to the success of employees may include processes or procedures within the organization that need revising,

How can I increase employee engagement and confidence?
Employees feel more motivated when they receive a task and the resources and freedom to accomplish the task without being micromanaged by their leader. As the leader, you do need to be available to answer questions and provide guidance as needed. When workers feel connected, appreciated and supported, they will be happy in their roles and more likely to remain with the company.

How can I learn from my staff and others?
Regardless of their role in the organization, everyone brings something to the table and can add skills and perspective that you or another employee lack.

While a believer in the servant leadership model, I would be remiss to not discuss some of the challenges associated with this style. Servant leaders need to be careful not to over-step. While the goal is to help employees to succeed, one must be careful about not giving employees the impression that if they do not produce high-quality results or take the lazy way out, that the servant leader will step in to resolve any issues. Workers still need to take responsibility and not be allowed to take advantage of their leader. The boss is still the boss and there will be times that the leader will need to take a more authoritative role and make difficult decisions.

To learn from other servant leadership examples, take a look at Fred Smith of FedEx, who believes in taking care of his people first; Bill Marriott, and Howard Behar of Starbucks. Each of these leaders demonstrates authenticity, caring, community, and the importance of valuing and respecting employees.

How Toastmasters can Add to your Professional Development

To call Toastmasters a public speaking organization is to sell it short. The organization, whose tagline is “Where Leaders are Made,” helps its members to maximize their potential and build self-confidence and self-awareness in the mutually supportive environment within a club meeting. While Toastmasters has clubs in 143 countries, the local club, which provides a learning laboratory, is the foundation for the organization and member achievement. It in the club where one learns to build a speech, do impromptu speaking, develop listening skills and provide feedback to and inspire other members.

I joined Toastmasters in 2006 while working as a telecommunications industry analyst. During a performance review, it was suggested that I join in order to improve my handling of Q&A sessions following stand-up presentations and to network and mingle more comfortably. I joined a club and quickly worked with the foundational manual and began to feel more relaxed when speaking though still nervous to speak without notes. My leadership journey began as club officer where I learned to encourage others in their Toastmasters journey. A few years’ later, I was asked to serve as an area director, the liaison between a group of five clubs and the larger district. It was during this tenure that I learned the importance of respect for the opinions of individual clubs, which while following the Toastmasters program has its own culture. I continued up the district leadership ladder, serving as a division director, Public Relations Manager, conference co-chair, club quality director, program quality director and currently district director. As district director, I serve as “CEO” for a district of 172 clubs, close to 4,000 members, and over 50 district officers. At the Toastmasters International Convention in Denver in August, the district received recognition as a Distinguished District and I was honored to receive an Award for Excellence in Program Quality. As a district director, I also had the opportunity to be a flag bearer in the opening ceremonies.

opening ceremony Manny Willie Lynda with awards D83 Distinguished banner

It is an ongoing process to develop my leadership skills. NRPR Group has posted several blogs discussing leadership and it is a topic near-and-dear to my heart. Giving back is truly what characterizes a leader and as a Toastmasters leader, I help others to achieve their goals. In the words of Nicole Rodrigues, CEO of NRPR Group, “everything a leader does should be meaningful, informed and representative of the top of the game. Leaders inspire others -- especially our future leaders -- through encouragement, mentoring, and motivating them to pursue dreams, while also highlighting where improvements can be made. Leaders help others to achieve their goals. Whether it is staff, clients, or family members, leaders work to find each one’s strengths.” Being a leader is teaching me to respect the opinions of others, make fair decisions based on the circumstances not what is best for an individual, how to prioritize, when to be steadfast, and always to keep one’s calm.

Toastmasters International truly has changed my life and helped me to evolve as a leader and professional. I highly recommend the organization for those who want to develop all that is best within them.


It's Never Too Soon to Plan for 2020

Having a plan for anything is very important and there are a myriad of sayings to back this up, ranging from Ben Franklin’s “Failing to plan is planning to fail” to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” As we approach September, the back-to-school mentality kicks in regardless of how long ago we were in school and it’s a great time to get organized and start planning for 2020 (hard to believe we’re on the brink of 2020—what happened to Y2K?) and put together one’s marketing plan for the year. As one develops the plan, there are a few items to do at the beginning of the process, which we will discuss in this blog.

Step 1: Review the current year

Think objectively and ask yourself these questions:

  • How has 2019 been going?
  • Are you on track with your 2019 goals?
  • Are sales up?
  • How do Google analytics and other key performance indicators (KPIs) look?
  • What worked and did not work this year with your current marketing plan?

It may take some research to find the answers. You may also want to conduct a SWOT analysis delineating strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with the company, product, market, staff, etc. Once you have the answers to these questions you can start to think about goals for 2020.

Step 2: Establish goals for 2020

Think about what your company and marketing team want to accomplish in the new year in terms or products, processes, profitability, market position, sales, and costs Are these goals realistic and align with the SMART goals developed in 1981, which says that goals should be SMART or specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-based. Once you have the goals, you can think about how you will achieve these goals, including needed resources such as budget, time, staffing and messaging.

Step 3: Know Your Audience

Who are you trying to reach with your marketing plan? There may be several segments including customers, media, investors, and employees. Going through the exercise of determining personas or updating those you are already using may be helpful. Hubspot defines “persona” as “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers, including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals.” It is also important to consider which channels are best to use to connect with them, and their present challenges and opportunities.

Step 4: What Should be Included in the Plan?

A good marketing plan should have overall goals and then a month-by-month plan for accomplishing goals.

What events will be happening throughout the year? This includes trade shows, conferences, company-specific events such as anniversaries, product launches.

You also need to include strategies and timing for other content, which will also have their own plans. These include:

  • Blogs
  • Press releases
  • Product Launches
  • Newsletters
  • Email campaigns
  • Social media
  • Advertising campaigns
  • Proactive media pitching
  • Webinars
  • Internal communications
  • Thought leadership

This blog has presented an overview of the what and how to compile a marketing plan, but the process should not be taken lightly. It is a complex process that needs to involve executives, product management, marketing and public relations experts. It is never too early to start planning and it is best to start soon in order to be well prepared for 2020.

Should you check email on vacation? By Nicole Rodrigues

In 2017, the US Travel Association conducted its fifteenth annual State of the American Vacation study, which surveyed 2,593 managers who are company decision-makers including 479 senior leaders and 2,083 middle managers. The study found that 54 percent of Americans left vacation time on the table. The chief reason for so doing is fear of returning to a mountain of work. There are also numerous articles on once one does decide to take vacation, should the person check email? Ariana Huffington went as far as developing Thrive Away, a vacation email tool. While you’re away on vacation, people who email you receive an out-of-office message and then the tool deletes the email. If the email is important, the sender can always send it again, she explains. While I do agree with the need to take a vacation, spend time with family and/or friends and unwind, relax and recharge, Thrive Away may be a bit extreme and not the most efficient.

Like others, I used to come back from vacation doubly-stressed when I saw my full email inbox, which would then take week to clean up and catch up. Clients, reporters, staff and others expect you to be up-to-speed when you come back and you don’t want to feel overwhelmed so I developed this technique when I took my first vacation in four years after launching NRPR Group to be on top of emails without spending the entire vacation checking emails.

My daughter and I went to Paris and London last summer. My clients and staff knew that I would be off the grid. I knew when would be a slow time for staff and clients back in the US to be working and checking email because it was too early or too late in the day and this is when I checked email. It was usually when my teenage daughter was sleeping so it did not interrupt our quality time together. I receive hundreds of email each day. I started with the oldest emails received, deleted SPAM, and kept email in conversation view so I could see the full flow of conversations. I organized the 300-to-500 emails received that day by file, delete, or respond now or when get back. Newsletters are filed to be read when I have a chance. If I could guess what would happen if I responded right away and if a response would or would not trigger a long string of immediate email responses and conversation, I would respond if it would not trigger immediate conversation. In some cases, I was able to rock the email to another person to handle. In the end, I only had about 20 emails that I personally needed to handle on my return and I was prepared for that.

This power hour of focusing on emails without interruption enables me to check what needs to be done when I return to the office. It also works for short-term absences due to illness, business travel and weekends. You can give yourself peace of mind and the opportunity to be prepared for what events will occur when you return to the office, by taking a little time to get organized while on vacation.

This blog post first appeared on August 1, 2018.