Call Me Maybe

Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me, maybe?”

                                                                      –Carly Rae Jepsen, Call Me Maybe

Okay, I’m going to cop to the fact that I love this song. It’s not on my iPhone (yet), but it’s been playing in my head for the better part of a week. It may have something to do with a recent report by Lobbyists.info which indicated that while lobbyists prefer in-person meetings with congressional staff, congressional staff would rather communicate via email. The report identified age as a contributing factor in the disconnect. The majority of lobbyists surveyed were 46 and older while the majority of staffers were under the age of 35.

Blatant generalizations about age and technology aside, what’s really going on here? Are lobbyists and congressional staff as disconnected as it appears? Or is this more of a function of the lobbying profession where traditional methods of communicating still get results? Yes, there are times when emailing a staffer is the best way to lobby them. It’s quick, simple and provides a reliable paper trail if necessary. However, face-to-face meetings have their benefits as well. Anyone who has met a potential mate via online dating knows that in order for the relationship to progress, you’ll have to meet face-to-face at some point. The same holds true for lobbying. How do you build relationships with your contacts on Capitol Hill if you can’t put a name to a face?

The lobbying profession is changing for the good. We should utilize new technology to get our jobs done. However, as we look to these new methods, we must not forget what has helped us along the way.

Back to Reality

Yesterday was my first day back in the office after being out for 10 days due to business travel and vacation. In this day and age, being out one day feels like you’ve been gone for a week. And what do we come back to? Endless emails to delete  read, mail to sort through and all of the projects that seem to pop up while you’re out of the office. So how do I manage this? Here are some simple tips that have helped me transition from vacation mode to work mode.

1. Treat my first day back as an off day. Yes, I’m in the office, but don’t expect much from me.  When I sat down in front of my desktop yesterday, I couldn’t remember my network password. Luckily, I have it written down. If it’s going to take me more than five minutes to log into my computer, you have a pretty good sense of how productive I’m going to be for the rest of the day.

2. Deal with email early. My goal for this year is to keep my inbox to under 500 messages. I’ve succeeded more often than failed because I tackled it head on.  When I’m first back in the office, I slash, burn, and archive until I’m down to a reasonable number (between 150 and 200).

3. Get it on the calendar. Just because you’re out of the office doesn’t mean meetings won’t be planned. Make note of all of your appointments including meetings you promised to have before you left. In my head, if it’s not on my calendar, the meeting didn’t happen.

4. Make a to-do list. Not only will the list help you organize your first few days back in the office, it will also help you remember what was going on before you left.

5. Don’t forget to breathe. Getting back into work mode can be a challenge. Accept it and know that you’ll do better tomorrow.