Life is Full of Distractions

Our phones, laptops, and tablets disrupt our days with every email or text that comes through. Professional and personal commitments fill our cal­endars, not just during the work week but weekends too. Many of these commitments are required— you can’t skip those client meetings. The dis­ruption and distractions of our lives sometimes prevent us from achieving our own goals.

As Will Rogers said, “The road to success is dotted with many tempting parking spaces.” How true that is. Personal confession: I am guilty of al­ways having my phone in hand. Those of you who know me will agree I am sure—my phone and I are inseparable! That phone contains my emails, my contacts, and my multiple calendars to keep work and family schedules in order. It provides me a connection to everyone and everything at every moment regardless of where I am. The disruption of instant electronic con­nection distracts me from my goal of personal connection. The phone is a tempting parking space that I find myself in, often necessarily but some­times because of my own habits.

The past months have provided me with opportunities to disconnect a bit. In August, I headed to Hot Springs, VA to participate in the Virginia Lead­ership Retreat. I packed my phones, my laptop, and my iPad. However, in­stead of connecting with members via email or on a scheduled conference call, I sat in the hotel’s front lobby, enjoyed the front porch rocking chairs and took in the views around the property. Business was done, but mostly, I learned more about our members than I ever would over an email or text. The same is true for the Chapter Executive Directors Retreat I attended in September. CEDs from CAI Chapters around the world gathered to share ideas, experiences, and best practices. I learned so much from seasoned CEDs sitting at the table, and I was able to share new things with them from my perspective as one of the newest CED in the room.

Volunteering in your industry is one parking space worth the temptation and distraction. Adding a WMCCAI committee meeting to your schedule or register to attend a networking event; bring a coworker or a board mem­ber to an education session—disrupt your calendar to give back to the CA industry. You invest 40+ hours each week to your clients—adding a few hours a month to your own industry will benefit you, your clients, and the industry for years to come.

Consider adding WMCCAI volunteering to your must do calendar—it is a distraction worth the disruption.

By Jaime Barnhart, CMP
Jaime Barnhart, as the chapter’s executive director, is responsible for imple­menting the organization’s mission and goals, and managing its staff. Jaime has worked in non-profits/associations in the D.C. Metro area for over 12 years fo­cusing on program management, events and trade shows, and marketing. She joined WMCCAI as the events manager in 2015.