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Nina Velasquez: “Create realistic deadlines for yourself”

Create a list of everything you think you need to finish in one day, then cut that list in half. More often than not, I look at my “to-do” list and a lot of items are things I can push to the next day or even next few days. Create realistic deadlines for yourself. I […]

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Create a list of everything you think you need to finish in one day, then cut that list in half. More often than not, I look at my “to-do” list and a lot of items are things I can push to the next day or even next few days. Create realistic deadlines for yourself.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Nina Velasquez, North 6th Agency (N6A) SVP of Talent Development. With 20 years of experience in public relations, Nina Velasquez runs talent at N6A, responsible for building, managing and implementing a variety of programs to support N6A’s talent development. Her role includes oversight of recruiting, culture, internal training, professional development, marketing, and customer service best practice initiatives across N6A’s offices in New York and Toronto. Nina joined N6A as an Account Director in 2012, servicing clients in a variety of technology industries, and was responsible for designing and executing integrated thought leadership programs, developing corporate and product messaging, supervising social media activities and supporting new business initiatives. Prior to N6A, Nina worked at technology PR agencies and managed programs for global brands including IBM, Lenovo and Microsoft, and led campaigns for a number of smaller start-up companies in online marketing, social networking, mobile app, green tech and personal finance industries. Nina has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from University of Washington, and is a proud resident of Brooklyn, NY.


Thank you so much for joining us Nina! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to this specific career path?

My role involves coaching the agency’s employees and developing a training curriculum to help them provide exceptional service to our clients. We focus on public relations, an industry that I’ve been involved with for 22 years. I’ve always been fascinated by public relations because it’s all about managing how information gets across to specific audiences. If it’s done correctly, PR could be a huge boost to any organization or individual. But if it’s done poorly, consequences could be disastrous.

According to a 2006 Pew Research Report report, 26% of women and 21% of men feel that they are “always rushed”. Has it always been this way? Can you give a few reasons regarding what you think causes this prevalent feeling of being rushed?

We feel rushed due to ongoing advances in communications. We’re living in an on-demand world where communication is always on, and nearly everything is available to us 24/7. That can put a lot of pressure on those who feel they need to respond and deliver immediate results.

Based on your experience or research can you explain why being rushed can harm our productivity, health, and happiness?

I often make mistakes when feeling too rushed, and consequently, put way more pressure on myself to correct things.

On the flip side, can you give examples of how we can do more, and how our lives would improve if we could slow down?

Practice big-picture thinking. If you understand the overall goals of any task, you can still have a healthy sense of urgency to do things effectively.

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed. Can you share with our readers 6 strategies that you use to “slow down to do more”? Can you please give a story or example for each?

  1. Schedule your own tasks. I use my daily calendar to schedule blocks of time dedicated to each assignment. This way, I don’t feel as rushed to do everything at once.
  2. Turn off email and instant messaging. It’s a scary thought for some to shut off their email or IM. But sometimes your inbox can be a huge distraction if you’re on a deadline to finish a task. You can tell your team or manager that you’re not checking emails during a certain time period so they know not to expect responses.
  3. Create a list of everything you think you need to finish in one day, then cut that list in half. More often than not, I look at my “to-do” list and a lot of items are things I can push to the next day or even next few days. Create realistic deadlines for yourself.
  4. Eat breakfast. Begin your workday with something that’s joyful. For me, it’s food. For others, it could be exercise, meditation, household chores, calling your parents or playing with the kids and pets. Your morning activities set the tone for the rest of the day. You might as well start the day on a positive note.
  5. Practice flexible planning. I’m constantly planning for the next week, month, quarter, and year. The key is having a good action plan that allows you to pivot when you need to, while still reaching your overall goals.
  6. Walk. I take 20-minute outdoor walks each day with the sole purpose of clearing my mind. The quick change in the environment is a nice reset to the day.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Yes, you can.” I heard it recently from a personal training coach. It can be applied to anything.

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