Sparkpr’s Tips for Focus and Clarity

by Veronica Feyling

As we venture into our ninth week of working from home, I began to reflect on all of the incredible public relations professionals and marketing mavens I work with every day. The past two months have felt like a year and it’s hard to believe I haven’t been in my colleagues’ presence within that time. Although instant messaging and video chat has helped bridge the communication gap, I still miss the everyday nuances that being in the office brings. As we continue to enter the weeks of uncertainty, it’s more important than ever to showcase people’s talents, creativity, and abilities. Here at Sparkpr, I’m very fortunate to work with a remarkable group of practitioners, and although I can’t highlight everyone I work with, I want to bring to light how my colleagues are juggling the days of uncertainty.

Although I wish these interviews were conducted over a cup of ‘Philtered Soul’ at a local Philz Coffee shop (a San Francisco institution), the phone has to suffice. I went ahead and asked several of my coworkers in various offices, New York, San Francisco, and Johannesburg, “what are you doing on your downtime to clear your mind?” These are the thoughtful responses I received.

Natalie King
Title: Social Team Lead
Office: Johannesburg
Observant Fun Fact: When in doubt, Natalie always has a positive attitude, great energy, and brings team spirit to every project she works on – it’s something to admire.
Q: Natalie, what have you been doing to clear your mind?
A: “I’ve been skipping rope in my living room! I feel so much better once I get active with my bright green jump rope and as lockdown in South Africa includes no walks, runs or leaving my house, this really helps clear my mind.”
Natalie’s Pro Tip Takeaway: Take some time during your busy schedule to move around, even if that means doing jumping jacks or jumping rope in your living room – it’s easy to forget prioritizing exercise when you’re working so hard.

Greg Chiemingo
Title: Senior Vice President
Office: San Francisco
Observant Fun Fact: This is no exaggeration, Greg always manages to have matching Vans with every outfit, it’s quite impressive. Whether it’s a business meeting or Halloween, Greg has a pair of Vans to go along with every occasion.
Q: Greg, how have you been clearing your mind?
A: “I’ve been stopping and listening. The world is measurably more quiet right now, and hearing the sounds that are around us, from birds to breezes, can be grounding because it puts us in the natural world.”
Greg’s Pro Tip Takeaway: Remember to breathe, and stop to smell the flowers. Just stepping out on your balcony, backyard, or porch will help clear your mind and provide a good little break from the busy day ahead.

Madison Zlotolow
Title: Account Executive
Office: New York
Observant Fun Fact: Having a bad day? Don’t worry, go to Madison, and she will clear that up so quickly you won’t even know what the bad day was about.
Q: Madison, what have you been doing to clear your mind?
A: “After a day of working remotely, I find it best to clear my mind by going for a walk, working on a hands-on activity, such as a paint-by-numbers or a jigsaw puzzle, or trying out a new recipe – anything to avoid moving from one screen (the computer) to another (TV, phone, etc).”
Madison’s Pro Tip Takeaway: Take a break from the screens surrounding us on the daily and the overthinking that consumes our thoughts. Whether it’s a jigsaw puzzle, cooking, or painting, take advantage of this time to clear your mind and step away from the blue light of screens.

Angela Pontarolo
Title: Vice President
Office: San Francisco
Observant Fun Fact: Even when Angela says, “no, I don’t need coffee today,” if you stare long enough at her, she’ll say, “okay, you’re right, I need coffee.” I’ve got it down to a science now.
Q: Angela, what have you been doing to clear your mind?
A: “I find solace being near the water. So, every evening, for my bout of exercise, I take a walk to the Bay and listen to the waves, taking particular notice of where the tide is moving, as it changes ever so slightly each day. If I’m lucky, I’ll see a seal playing near the rocks, fish swimming, and just last week, I was lucky enough to spot a whale coming up for air inside the Bay – a rare occurrence.”
Angela’s Pro Tip Takeaway: Take advantage of the sights and sounds of your surrounding areas, while wearing a mask – of course.

As we continue to do our part and shelter-in-place, we at Sparkpr believe that good times do lie ahead and when we get there, we will appreciate the times together even more. This is the time for support and encouragement, and we are lucky to be a part of a team that believes in that to the fullest extent. Stay safe and healthy everyone.

You can learn more about our leadership team here.

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About the Author

Veronica Feyling is currently an Account Executive at Sparkpr in San Francisco, Calif. With an extensive background in Public Relations and wordsmithing. She has worked with household names such as Dyson, Discord, Zazzle, and Mars Petcare, among others. Veronica earned a BA in Communication and Fine Arts from Washington State University (Go Cougs!) and an AA in Journalism from Santa Barbara City College.