Thrive Global spoke with Erin on how she makes it all work.
TG: What’s your secret life hack?
Planning. I map out a few plans every Sunday for the week ahead: Meetings, kids schedule, meals – as much of it as I can. Then here is the hack part – I toss 50% out as the week unravels. But I feel like I can manage the chaos and curve balls and it’s a choice to not follow my plan.
TG: Name a book that changed your life?
Michelle Obama’s “Becoming.” She is fierce at work, at home, in public and I love how honest she was about how hard it is to juggle it all. The sincerity and genuine vulnerability is key.
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
My phone doesn’t get a second of rest, much less sleep! It does buzz incessantly on the stand next to my bed though. The amount of emails and texts that come in – even though it’s on silent, it’s like white noise. I’m at the point where it helps me sleep.
TG: How do you deal with email?
That’s like asking how a Sherpa deals with Mt. Everest. Emails are a constant. I try to attack as many as I can at a time and prioritize what’s the most urgent ones I need to deal with. I obsess about reading every one and clearing them out of my inbox. I try not to read them twice if I can solve the problem after the first reading.
TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?
Phone a friend. I love to connect, to vent or to just gossip with the people I love in my life and who love me, I can never get enough time for that.
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
I often get over-scheduled. At work its non-stop, back-to-back meetings, calls and supporting the needs of my staff all day long. Then fighting LA traffic to get home and going straight into mom mode with sports, and meals and family and social commitments all weekend long. If I don’t make room in my days to process all those transitions, I get burned out quickly. I start to feel like I am letting everyone and myself down and that quickly transitions to burn out for me.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right, for you’ll be criticized anyway.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
TG: What gives you energy?
My three boys (four including my amazing husband) are like an adrenaline shot every minute of every day. The moment I see them, I feel their energy and that carries me all day long.
Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed? Coffee, then I read. It used to be real books. I loved snuggling in, even if it was just for 15 minutes with my hot coffee and a good book in the dark morning before everyone is stirring. Now it’s more news and blogs than as many books and 2 cups of coffee. But I still try to read.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
I lost it at work. I mean I did the ugly cry in a meeting in front of my peers. Everyone disapproves of a woman who cries at work, yet we all have one of those stories. And reflecting back, it was the best thing I could have done for myself and my confidence. I don’t hide who I am now: I talk about when I am getting overwhelmed with my co-workers. I am who I am, and I am not going to pretend to hide that I am strong female who actually has emotions. The more you hide that stuff or shove it down, or pretend like you don’t have feelings, the more it all festers and comes out in all the wrong ways. We have to learn to support women being who they are, emotions and all and not women trying to be like a man.
TG: What other steps do you take to improve your productivity and performance?
It’s like a video game in my head, I constantly look at what I did or am doing and see how I (or it) can be more efficient. Some of this I do with my own motivation (and obsession), but a lot of it I seek out education and useful tools in books and from other people smarter and more experienced than I am.