This time of year is often filled with big projects with short names and incomprehensible acronyms - 10-Ks, AIFs, Annual Reports, proxy circulars. They sound innocuous enough, but every Corporate Secretary knows that they are nowhere near as innocent as they sound. Read on for some ideas to help you through the craziness of the season.







Stop and Smell the Roses

I like to use the phrase Get the Corporate Secretary Home in Time for Dinner and Add Value for the Board. Well, let me assure you that I know, just like you do, that this time of year is usually a whole lot of the latter and almost none of the former. The job must get done and often the Corporate Secretary barely gets to sleep until it is finally out the door.


So, especially for this crazy time of year, here are 5 Survival Strategies that I Promise will Fit your Schedule!


1.    Got 7 seconds? Stretch it out. Go ahead, lean back in your chair just a little bit and reach your arms as far up or back or out as you can. Take a deep breath and hold the stretch while you count to three. Personally, I'm a big fan of making one of those "Oh my gosh, that was amazing" noises along with the stretch. If you have another seven seconds stand up and shake each foot in turn. Now go back to the pile on your desk ever so slightly refreshed by muscles that have been released and increased circulation.


2.    Got 30 seconds? Open up to a new vision. Turn your chair ever so slightly or completely around from your computer. Look out of your office or out the window and focus on the furthest object you can see. Can you tell what it is? Your eyes will be less fatigued now that you have focussed on something far away. Like the elusive puzzle piece you find after a break away maybe a new idea will surface for you.


3.    Got a minute? Inhale, exhale. No, seriously! Try taking three deep belly breaths. Here's how - put one hand on your belly and breathe in slowly through your nose (to a count of 8) until your hand moves from the incoming air. Hold for a count of 4. Exhale slowly (to an 8 count) through your mouth until your hand moves from the outgoing air. Repeat two more times. This should take about 1 minute and both your body and mind now have an extra hit of oxygen compared to our normal shallow breathing. Oxygen that improves concentration and focus.


4.    Got 2 minutes? Move on up. Go to the nearest stairwell and run up two floors as quickly as you can (even if you have to go down first). If you don't have a stairwell close and its after hours, try running up and down the hall two or three times. Once again you get a great oxygen hit, your muscles get a mini workout and your circulation gets boosted. All good things.


5.    Got 6 minutes? Focus on the best to (momentarily) forget the rest. Find a quiet spot and spend a minute coming up with 5 things you are grateful for - take the first 5 things that come to mind whether they are big (like family or friends) or tiny (like your favourite ice cream). Then (and Do Not Skip This Last Part) spend a minute on each one thinking about why it brings a smile to your face. Now, your mind has had a chance to refocus on some of the best things in your life, leaving you better able to handle the difficult ones right in front of you.




Send me an email at sylvia@grovesgovernance.com if you have a question about a governance practice or a corporate secretarial procedure.

I will reply to you privately. With your permission, I will share the question and answer (but not your name or organization) in an upcoming newsletter.


Coming Events

Facilitator - Key Responsibilities and Decision Making  


Get on Board, Intermediate Series Calgary

March 22, 2012. 


Check out theCanadian Board Diversity Council website for more information on all of the Get on Board programs. 



What Participants Say

Presenter and Facilitator - Sylvia Groves is a frequent facilitator on the Role of the Corporate Secretary and Value-Added Governance Practices. Here's what session participants say about her presentations:



"Sylvia's presentation was, as always, highly educational & provides practical guidance & action planning tools."


 "A wealth of valuable information." 


"Sylvia has a gift for making things clear and straightforward. Very good for some of the challenges I'm facing right now."  


"Sylvia is a very engaging facilitator."

Shout Outs

Special thanks this week to Darrell Heaps at Q4 Websystems for making me laugh so hard my stomach hurt at the IR Canada Awards!


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