Your Best is Good Enough


Your Best is Good Enough

For some of us, maintaining solid self-care habits – much less mastering the art of work-life balance – was a challenge before March 2020, right? There was always more work than time in the day and our phones and laptops made it all too easy to dive back in after returning home.

When shelter-at-home started several weeks ago, I assumed that I’d be able to increase my productivity – both professionally and personally – by leveraging (at the very least) my lack of commute time. All too soon however, the endless Zoom meetings and conference calls seemed to swallow up my days, leaving me with more follow-up emails and writing to do “after work” than before.

So now, not only was I not taking advantage of being at home the way I had envisioned, I was feeling less productive and more stressed. Then, one night, I read something that flipped the switch for me.

This was the start of a friend’s post…

“I’ve been seeing so many people seriously beating themselves up because they aren’t “maximizing” their time in quarantine by organizing their cupboards, repainting, developing a side hustle, becoming a piano virtuoso, exercising themselves into a lucrative career as a swimsuit model, etc. Everybody! Seriously. Stop. And breathe.” (HT, P. Duke)

So, I did. And it made a huge difference. It gave me the chance to pause, reframe my expectations and recalibrate.

I looked for some tips on how to take better control of my work habits and how to take better care of myself. (Two of the articles I found helpful are linked below.)

  • I cut myself some slack for maybe not knocking it out of the park every day.
  • I recommitted myself to eating healthy, getting enough rest, exercising and to scheduling in breaks to recharge between meetings or projects. (While I usually go for a short walk, one person I read about benefits from taking Nintendo Just Dance breaks!)
  • I also found that scheduling a start and end to my workday has offered me a greater sense of control.

I’m not pretending to be an expert here and realize that this is pretty much current conventional wisdom. Nevertheless, amidst so much change and uncertainty for all of us, I just wanted to share my own personal “discovery.”

If you’re feeling like you should be “doing more” or that your days seem to be spent on a never ceasing hamster wheel, I invite you to breathe, acknowledge that you’re doing your best and to know that your best is good enough. If there are steps you can take to make your surroundings or work habits more productive for you, great. If you’re not making time to take the best care of yourself (especially if you are also doing triple duty every day trying to juggle roles as a professional, parent and teacher), please do. IMHO, that’s the most important step of all.

If you’ve discovered a better way to WFH or if you have other strategies that you’ve found helpful, please let me know and we’ll share your ideas in a future post.

Take good care and take it easy on yourself. You’ve got this!

David Gee, Vice President, HPS Chicago

P.S. Here are the articles I mentioned:


A Little R&R


A Little R&R

I write this blog post as I head to the airport for a little weekend getaway. All week I thought about what topic to write about. What news might I share about…. Major gifts? Events? Relationship building? Spring appeal? Board development? Did I have a fun story that might be useful to share with all of you?

Well, I came up with nothing. Why? Because sometimes we just need to take a break….pause and exhale. Our weeks are filled with meetings with donors, phone calls, perhaps writing a grant, and more. Sometimes our daily work can make our heads spin because we are always “on.”

Technology and all the social media tools we use daily help us stay current and connected. Yet, as great as it is, it makes it more difficult to step back and unplug from our busy work life.

So today, as I head to Florida for a few days and see some sun, walk the beach, and read a good book, I’m going to put my work aside and recharge. Time for a reset. It’s important every once in awhile to be present in the moment, and put away our phones and leave email for another day and just simply…be. I encourage you to do the same across the year so you are fresh and ready to do your best work for your not for profit.

by: Susanna Decker, Senior Consultant HPS Chicago

Feeling Stressed?


It’s hard to believe the holidays are upon us once again.  Where does the time go?  Are you feeling prepared?  Or are you feeling stressed and overwhelmed?  In the midst of the last-minute holiday rush, it’s often hard to find time to enjoy those around you and appreciate all of the gifts that we have.

I learned a new word the other day: HYYGE.  It is a Dutch word, pronounced “Hue-Guh”, which really doesn’t translate into an English word.  However, it is a word that we should know and a sentiment we should understand, especially during this time of year.

As I mentioned, hyyge does not translate into any one word in our vocabulary.  I would describe it as more a “state of being”.  The Oxford Dictionary defines it as, “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment of well-being.”  It is a word to acknowledge a feeling or moment as cozy, charming or special, one which requires a certain slowness or consciousness.  It is not just being present, it also requires you to recognize and enjoy the present.  So, let’s think about this.

Quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality – When was the last time you felt coziness and comfortable conviviality?  Think about it – and think about the circumstances surrounding that time.

Engenders a feeling of contentment and well-being – When do you truly feel a sense of contentment?  What contributes to this feeling?  What distracts from it?

It’s not just being present, it requires you to recognize and enjoy the present.  My guess is that the last time you felt that sense of comfortable conviviality you were truly “in the moment” and present with those around you (or by yourself!).  Recognizing and truly enjoying the present is a gift to yourself; it is part of practicing good self-care.

So, during this season of “busyness”, how can you possibly find time for hyyge?  It probably feels somewhat counterintuitive, right?  Ironically, hyyge is an energy booster and can be a way to replenish your strength.  And as you probably guessed, it does not come in a magic pill.  But it also isn’t rocket science.  Below are a few simple ideas to help you get started;  perhaps take a few minutes each day to truly focus on hyyge.

  • Find a quiet spot to be present – alone or with a family member or friend – and truly focus on listening and being present/mindful
  • Unclutter your surroundings, but also consider introducing something that makes you feel more calm or present, such as a candle or soft lighting or music
  • Give yourself permission to be still for a few minutes
  • Take a few cleansing breaths
  • Count your blessings

My hope is that it will help you will find a little more joy and peace  – and a little less stress – this holiday season.   Wishing you joy and peace.

by: Susan Bottum Matejka, Vice President, HUB Philanthropic Solutions