Neen James, MBA CSP, is the CEO of Neen James Communications. From the board room to the meeting table, leaders, employees and entrepreneurs alike relate immediately to Neen's candid, engaging delivery on a variety of topics like: super productivity, networking,productive presentation skills and effectively managing messages inside and outside of the office.
An international productivity expert and native born Aussie, Neen is best known for her engaging keynotes that have educated, entertained and yes, charmed audiences with real-world strategies that apply in all roles, whether at work or in life.
When she isn't working, Neen travels the world collecting fabulous shoes, a fetish she candidly admits to. You may also find Neen traveling the United States on her Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Neen has graciously shared some of her expertise with us, exclusive to BodyImage3D readers. Read our interview with Neen below:
You run a busy schedule. What are your best tips for staying sane while multi-tasking?
• It is the power of 15 minutes - thinking in 15-minute increments is the only way to get it all done. You could set the alarm on your iPhone or Mac and do as much as you can for 15 minutes, when time is up, move on. It's the art of compressing a task into a small amount of time.
• Women pride themselves on being brilliant multi -taskers and yet we have a sense of incompletion in many areas. I recommend if you are multi-tasking, make sure there is not another human being involved. Fold laundry while listening to music, unpack the dishwasher while checking Hootsuite but try not to multi task with people (not easy, not always achieved but it is one of my goals to be more committed to conversations with those around me).
• We schedule recovery time after projects and big speaking weeks on the road. This means I know there is a break coming up and it's surprising what can be accomplished knowing you have time off, or a massage booked or a date night with your honey when you get home. Scheduling recovery time allows us to stay sane with a silly schedule.
What's your best advice for women who want to maximize their productivity?
• Start with you - you need to prioritize yourself and the people you love most. It's really easy to allow your work, your email and your projects to take a higher priority because someone is paying you (employers, clients, communities). However without your health and your loved ones life is tough. Start with you first and even if this is only 15-30 minutes a day - be strategic about how you start your day.
• Learn how to Fold Time! In our latest book Folding Time: How to achieve twice as much in half the time, we share that we all need to be more accountable for time, we need to engage our attention and we need to leverage our energy. This ensures we invest ourselves and our time in activities and projects that are within our personal integrity; and have a greater impact in the world.
• Women need to compress time - choose to shrink tasks into smaller timeframes to complete them as we are juggling so many activities and expectations of others.
How do you achieve balance in your life?
• I don't! I don't believe in work life balance; I think it is a big fat myth. However, I do believe in work-life integration. The idea of balance conjures up visions of a set of scales where work and play is equal - that's not true for most women I know. I prefer to seek integration. Integration is managing my environment, managing the expectations of others and managing emotions. That's the magic trifecta.
• Give up guilt - women seem to feel guilty much of the time, never enough time at work, never enough emails answered, never enough time with those we love - I choose not to feel guilty - most things can wait but our relationships can't.
• Invest in VIPs (very inspiring people) and eliminate VDPs (very draining people). We need to invest our emotions into people we care about and stop wasting time on those we don't!
• I believe NO is a complete sentence. No is a productive word, no is one of my favorite words, and I use it often (smiling sweetly of course). We say yes to way too many things; occasions, obligations, projects, commitments and then we feel like we have no room to say yes to the things and the people we really love. Try it out. Say no and see how you feel - I promise you will feel lighter and you will enjoy the experiences you can say 'oh yeah' more often!
• We have a very scheduled week - due to our travel and speaking commitments combined with mentoring sessions and community service we need to allocate certain days to clients and other days to loved ones. I try to avoid travel on weekends whenever possible, I also try to be home for Friday night and if I am home during the week I have a mid week date night with my honey. Running a practice, speaking, traveling and also juggling the roles at home means I am quite strict with calendar and what I agree to do (and what I graciously decline).
• I pay a personal trainer for 3 - 4 sessions a week - it's crazy because I have a full home gym (complete with pink boxing heavy bag, full set of weights, running machine blah blah blah) and yet, I pay for accountability. Working out with a trainer allows me to have the stamina I need for the long days and travel and also makes me feel stronger. Regardless of whether you like to exercise it is a NOT negotiable activity for every woman.
Why is it important to build downtime into your schedule?
• No one can run at a million miles an hour all the time, and even though we think we are really Wonder Woman in stilettos, this isn't true. We need to schedule activity, recovery and re-energy time - all need to have an important place in scheduling your calendar.
• Projects require recovery, so if you are finishing a huge project, assignment or a big travel commitment, scheduling a recovery day or timeframe allows you to get your mojo back so you can face the world with your Wonder Woman cape flying strong.
When do you feel you are at your very best?
• I am a morning bird, I love the quiet of the morning and the freedom to be more strategic and think clearly, uninterrupted time. After a deep night's sleep, a workout, espresso and something delicious for breakfast I am ready to take on the day!
• I also respond to being surrounded by brilliant people. Any time I am with my accountability group or thought leadership community I am energized and want to be a better version of myself because magnificent people surround me.
Anything else you want to add?
• Every woman needs another women they can rely on - their bestie, lifeline, cheerleader, someone who knows their crazy dark side and loves them anyway. If you don't have it, find it. It will change the way you show up, it will give you the confidence you need to take on the world and it will also be a great role model for other women. If you have young women in your life or little girls, share with them the need to be a good friend, be a faithful girlfriend, and be a great woman to other women.
To learn more about Neen, check her out at NeenJames.com