The Beast from the East…Tamed: Turning challenging Snow Days into Business as Usual Productivity

The Beast from the East…Tamed : Turning challenging Snow Days into Business as Usual Productivity

Understanding Urgent/ Important

As we enter the grip of Day 3 of The Beast from the East, as a working parent, I totally understand the competing emotions of enforced time to reflect, spending time sledging with my nearest and dearest, and the nagging thoughts of what other business stuff I “should” be doing. I draw a parallel to an ordinary working day, when competing distractions vie for our attention and steer us off course from tackling our most important priorities. Stephen Covey’s Time Management Matrix which he explores in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, is really useful to identify those urgent/ important tasks.


When coaching clients, I encourage, as a helpful starting point, the identification of their top 6-8 priorities, after which they can order into levels of importance their will to tackle them.

Some examples might be:

  • Life Balance/ Boundaries:

How much you are willing to put in without compromising other things like home life which might include learning to say “No.” Taking calls from your CEO at 10pm at night might be acceptable if you work in a global operation taking conference calls over different time zones, but be aware of these becoming a matter of habit.

  • Time management/ Efficiency:

Be ready to plan your week/ day as far as you are able to the letter, to get best use out of them. If you work in 2 offices in geographically separate locations ensure you are planning all meeting on one site in one day, and vice versa.

Do you struggle with the “first in, last out” mentally, with poor productivity in between times? Perhaps consider bringing your finish time forward by an hour and plan in between times to make the fewer, remaining hours count more.

  • Distraction Avoidance:

Email notifications and mobile phone calls, all designed to make our lives more easy and efficient have also become known as a modern day curse. If you have already identified what is important to you, and at what level of priority, you can more easily exhibit resolve to remain focused as opposed to distracted. Have you yet dared to turn off your email notifications, switched your phone on to airplane mode for 30 min stints of work or even set your email automated out of office notification on to alert clients to the fact you will only be checking them between 2 set identifiable times during the day? Try it. There is some huge liberation and focus/ productivity in remaining present throughout every activity you take on during your working day.

  • Financial Reward:

Are you prioritising you own professional worth with your corresponding value? Have you given thought to how your fee accurately reflects the work you do and the hours you put in. I’ve heard lawyers talk of the “Toilet Thinking Time” conundrum. If you are clear on your worth, you can properly charge the appropriate fee.

Thinking Differently to Tame the “Beast from the East”

Even if, today of all days, you are snatching 5 or 10 minutes on the laptop here and there between togging up in snowsuits to get the sledge out or clambering out of the wet waterproofs to get the hot chocolate on, notice any tweaks or changes you could make to tame the Beast and have a productive snow day too.

One to One Coaching

I am a Corporate and Executive Coach empowering professionals, especially female lawyers, to achieve career ambitions whilst creating congruent lives.

I specialise in 1-1 Coaching in 3 areas:

  • Career Progression – for/ at the point of promotion, new positions/ projects, career- break returners
  • Life Balance – wellness/ resilience in the workplace, productivity/ time management
  • Confidence & Communication, including presentation skills

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