Wendy Ellin worked in corporate America for many years, and often found herself stunned by the way the people around her operated.
“I was the only one that was organized, I was the only one who only had what I was working on that minute in front of me, I was the only one who didn’t have clutter, I was the only one who was on time,” Ellin recalled. “I realized I had a gift, and if I could teach other people how to live this way — oh my God, what their life could look like.”
Ellin left her job in advertising sales and has been a workplace productivity expert for over 20 years now, coaching others in her ways and even writing a book on the subject.
“It’s a mixture of a gift and a super passion about teaching people how to work differently so they not only love what they do, they love the way they do it,” she said. “That’s the key. You’ll enjoy your work more when you set yourself up for success, when you’re not frustrated and overwhelmed by the distraction, the clutter and the chaos.”
A speaker at the upcoming Women in Insurance Boston event, Ellin calls herself a consultant with a workplace productivity toolbox, and the set of tools she’s got on hand have become increasingly more important as the COVID-19 pandemic keeps people working from home and, she noted, “sent many into a tailspin.” It’s unlikely any organization is going to totally reverse course, so with the days of going to an office full time behind us, “it’s really imperative that everybody figures out how to do this in a way that serves them well,” she said.
Ellin has tried-and-true tools for keeping focused, for getting your inbox to zero and keeping it that way, for dealing with distractions and handling interruptions and — perhaps most importantly — for setting boundaries around your time. Though all the tools are important, she said one of the big ones, especially for women, is giving your day structure.
“You need to create a set morning routine that you do every single day at least five days a week, and everybody in the house knows it,” Ellin said. “In that morning routine, build in self-care. A lot of people had commutes they no longer have — I always say take that commute time and convert it to self-care because it’s critical to this whole process.”
It’s no secret that the brunt of family caregiving responsibilities before, during and after the pandemic largely falls on women, and Ellin said that’s why focusing on your home team is so important. At the beginning of the shift to remote work, everyone was quick to meet their workplace teams daily on Zoom. But what about the people under your roof that you have to deal with in person every single day? Ellin, whose home team consists of her husband and their dog Ruby, has daily check-ins where whatever needs to be tended to on the work and home front is outlined. If there’s a time you absolutely can’t be interrupted, let your home team know so they can pick up the slack — and that includes the routine you’ve carved out, something Ellin takes very seriously.
“I’m so good at taking care of myself — I would say it’s my super power — and to some people that looks selfish but I will tell you right now, women need to step up to the plate when it comes to self-care,” she said.
To check out what other tips, tricks and tools Wendy has to offer, join her at the Women in Insurance Boston event.