AOL chief marketing officer Allie Kline says that the inspiration for one of her 2016 New Year’s resolutions hit her in a meeting with a handful of coworkers before the holidays.
Despite the frantic clip that comes with closing the fourth quarter, her peers looked healthier and more fit than she was feeling.
When she asked how they possibly found time to exercise amid the insanity, one person’s answer resonated with her.
He said that that personal time he made to take care of himself (to exercise, to cook healthy meals) was “non-negotiable” and that he didn’t let anybody or anything eat into those allotted hours and minutes.
Kline knew that she had struggled with this concept.
“Our industry is so intense and our pace at AOL is so intense, that I have a tendency to let work get away from me,” Kline tells Business Insider.
A lot of people — including me! — sometimes have that same inclination: to surrender personal time to fulfil responsibilities that they think take precedence.
“I thought back to all the things that I haven’t done this year — I looked at the pants in my closet that I can’t fit into,” Kline says. “And I asked myself, ‘What were the meetings or what were the projects I was working on that I sacrificed each thing for? And I couldn’t remember any of them. Not one.”
Although she could remember a handful of big events (Verizon buying the company, AOL adopting Microsoft’s sales team…), the individual “emergencies” that had seemed so critical at the time were ultimately not important enough to be worth skipping all those trips to the gym (or opportunities to catch-up with loved ones or to read good books).
“My resolution is to truly try to protect the time to do something for myself as much as I protect the time to do work,” she says. “It’s finding a little bit more perspective.”