The Myth of the “Superwoman” :
3 tips to help you achieve balance.
Why are we all so very tired?
- Like every woman of the world, I have a Masters in Household Management, a Diploma in Cleaning Services and am still learning the fine skill of juggling tasks successfully, and I mean successfully.
- Like any wife of the world, I have a Masters in reconciliation, a Degree in remembering dates, and am still studying for my Diploma in Maintaining the Passion and understanding Men’s fascination for Ball Games.
- Like any mother of the world, I have a Doctorate in Negotiation for Minors, a Diploma in Caring for Everyone but Me, and am currently still studying Behavioural Linguistics of Children.
- And like any small business owner, I am the everything – Accounts dept, marketing dept, and General Office Manager.
And we wonder why we are so very tired…..
With so many demands placed on us these days from all facets of our lives – our families, our friends and increasingly our work, it seems that a lot of people are letting work demand win out. Australians are now recognised internationally as one of the hardest working nations on the planet. And we are doing this at the expense of what is really important in our lives, doing things that make our soul sing. Have we forgotten about the things in this wonderful world we live in that really make us tick?
I know in my former life as an Architect for a medium sized firm, I had clawed myself up the ladder to be rewarded with regular 70-80 hour working weeks, which included of course nights and weekends. This was BC (before Children) so my husband was the only one I really had to worry about. Reality slapped me in the face when I forgot our Wedding Anniversary. I know – who does that? I felt so terrible and it is something that I will never live down. This, and the fact that I was having so much trouble getting pregnant – was really a wake-up call to me that clearly my life was not in balance.
Clearly my life was not in balance.
Are you going to be on your deathbed saying “geez I wish I’d spent more time at work making more money for all the directors, shareholders and partners”? No. You will be saying “geez I wish I’d spent more time with my family, my children and my special friends”.
So how do we do it all?
The key is really – how do we do it effectively?
I have 3 Tips which I’d like to share with you tonight to hopefully help you as they have helped me. –
Tip No. 1 – Be Here Now – Learning to be in the moment
Learning to be in the moment and not have
a million thoughts racing around our heads, which if you’re like me – takes a lot of practise. It is something that I still need to manage consciously every day, but the difference in the experience of the situation is amazing.
The first point I’d like to make is that your mind cannot be still until you have freed it of all the blocks and baggage that cloud our judgement and our minds. This is our own task as individuals to do. If you have limiting thoughts patterns and belief systems that you need to change – then just do it! A definition of insanity is continually doing the same thing and expecting a different outcome! Free yourself from any further negative thoughts about a certain situation, person or event! NLP – (Neuro Linguistic Programming) is a wonderful tool that has helped me to do this in the past.
Turn off your email alert..
When you limit interruption to your thoughts (both by you and others) , you are so much more productive in that moment. How many people are constantly interrupted by the email alert at the bottom of the screen alerting them that “they have mail”. This is so distracting. You stop your train of thought, wonder about the email, who it’s from, what it’s about until you can’t help yourself and have to read it. After you’ve checked it, you then have to remember where you were and what you were doing. It is estimated that it takes about ten minutes to get back into the concentrated thought space that you were in before you were interrupted.
I long ago I turned off the email alert coming up in the bottom of screen and stopped all the mind interruptions that go with it – now only check email twice a day – I know crazy stuff. I don’t worry about all the emails because I have scheduled in time later in the day to check them and answer them. (See Tip 2) Look if it’s that important – they’ll ring me. I know when I made this little change – my productivity increased immensely because I was able to stay focused in the whatever task I was doing –and finish it without all the interruptions. Sound like a good idea?
Being in the moment creates a stillness within us, so that we’re able to listen to and actually hear our intuition. When we listen to our intuition, we instinctively know the answers to questions and we are able to make much better decisions more quickly and skilfully.
Being in the present moment has allowed me to give myself permission to spend this time fully devoted to the task at hand and I am so much more productive and enjoy the task. By being in the moment we become effective at what we do.
Tip No.2 – Organise & Delegate your tasks.
Myth of the Superwoman
In this increasingly fast-paced world that we live in, as Women we are under this shadow of trying to be Superwomen. There is a real crisis out there amongst our young women that we have to be/do/have it all. Sometimes I think Women’s Lib has a lot to answer for – just kidding – but really, wouldn’t it be nice sometimes to just have one station in life, rather than trying to be devoted wife, mother of the year, and carve a career? No wonder our stress is so high – we are trying to do 12 roles at once and it is us placing the pressure on ourselves. My husband I think has it pretty well covered. He said to me once when I informed him that I was multi-tasking – “You chicks don’t multi-task. You just start ten things you don’t finish”. You know sometimes I think he’s right. I only have to look around the house…
Studies have shown that we are simply not good at doing multiple things at the same time. We are best doing one task at a time and doing it well. This is good for our minds, stress levels and the task at hand.
So what can we do about it?
One thing I do is break my months, weeks and days working tasks into three groups- green, red, and yellow. This is a method I learnt a few years ago from a wonderful system called Red Day Coaching. (1)
You can apply these tasks to whatever it is that you do – whether you are in paid work or not. For me -
- Yellow Tasks - are the tasks when I work in my business such as accounting things, paying bills, answering phones/emails, calling clients – all those everyday mundane tasks.
- Red tasks - are the tasks I do when I work on my business to help it grow and flourish.
- Green days are my days off!
All of them are equally important to run a successful and growing business and a successful and growing individual.
Starting your “to-do” list.
Do you have a list of what you plan to achieve today? If you are not already doing this, then start now, but be realistic to the time you have and what really needs to be done today.
Step 1 – Write your list. Be specific and realistic.
Step 2 – Organise your daily tasks from your to do list and allocate a set amount of time to each task – be specific – write down the tasks and pencil out the time in your diary or using outlook. Include everything, lunch, checking emails, returning phone calls as well as your key daily tasks. This may take you 5-10 minutes every morning but it is the most productive time you will spend.
Step 3 – Now follow it. You now know that you have time set aside to return calls and answer that email – so stop thinking about it! Be present with each task at hand and watch how productive you become.
Learning to Delegate.
Delegating can be for some of us one of the hardest things to do. “But who could possibly do what I do as well as me?” syndrome. Do you think that the founder of McDonalds thought this when he flipped his first burger? When you buy a McDonalds franchise these days, you are not paying for the burger (which in my opinion isn’t worth the paper it’s wrapped in) You are buying a set of systems which enable any 15-17 year old anywhere in the world to run a highly profitable franchise.
To begin just take one of those jobs you don’t like and could get rid of – opening/closing the office, paying accounts, bookkeeping, ironing or cleaning – and systemise it. Write a set of instructions that would enable anyone to be able to do it. Be specific in the steps you write to make it foolproof. A checklist is a great tool. Now - let it go. Spend times on the tasks that you like and that you are more effective at. It just makes good sense.
Tip No. 3 – Care for you
Taking time out for you is as important as it is to BREATHE!
What makes you tick and feel great? Is it a drink or dinner with friends, or a picnic in the park, a swim at the beach, shopping with your best friend, walking in the mornings…. we’re all different. Doing something outside is a wonderful way to boost your intake of energy which we can only gain from outside air and sunlight.
It’s not rocket science. Drink lots of water and watch the amounts chemical you consume in foods and healthcare products. I was at a wonderful conference on Women’s Health recently, and the data on hand is that my generation will be the longest living generation – that is our kids won’t live as long as us? Why? Because generally our kids diets and lives are filled with chemicals and additives, both in their food and in the environment. A good way to think of it is – don’t eat anything your grandma wouldn’t have eaten. Her generation was about whole foods – as close as possible to its natural source. This is as much about what we put on our bodies as well – remember – our skin is our bodies largest organ, so choose products for your skin with ingredients that won’t harm you or your family.
Work and play – in balance
Need I say more? At the start of every quarter, my husband and I sit down and pencil in our play time first – date nights, a morning off, weekends away. This is going back to the organising and delegating in Tip 2. At the start of every year we know exactly what major holidays we will be planning and to where? We need this so we can work knowing that the play is just around the corner. So go home tonight, or over the weekend, sit down with your diary and plan you rest / play time for the next three months – and do it! Make this a habit and get excited about it!! These are our best years – so make sure you enjoy them!
“You look after you for me, and I’ll look after me for you”
If you make some simple changes today, you will begin to notice how much more productive you can become. This helps to free up some time in your lives to just Be and enjoy the moment. Being able to skilfully juggle your work / life balance and bring happiness, serenity and calmness into all facets of your life is really up to you. It takes an active commitment by you – It will not happen on its own – so get to it and make the changes today that you need to – This is your life so live it – and live it well.
Director – Carmajé – pure botanical skincare
- Red Day Coaching. http://www.reddaycoaching.com/
Jo Hassan: 0411 490 418