Women and Time Management
an article by Barb McEwen
Today the majority of working women still consider managing the home a significant part of their responsibility. This fact, along with a certain amount of guilt for being out of the home, creates ongoing stress. The more stress, the more overwhelmed a working woman becomes. There are too many things for her to do before she can relax! And the more exhausted she feels, the more urgent it becomes for her to get everything done.
In a woman's brain there will always be more to do. That's why she finds it inconceivable that a man can effortlessly sit in front of the TV and not think about things.
It has been said that the nicest words of love a woman can hear her man say is, "Leave, it I'll clean up the kitchen." When the man in her life offers to help around the house, even the small things he does mean a lot to her.
When a woman allows herself to undertake activities that create oxytocin, her stress levels drop, her sense of being overwhelmed disappears, and her energy returns.
Oxytocin is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that seems to be involved in reproductive behavior in both men and women, and apparently triggers "caring" behavior. Oxytocin is also the hormone which allows contractions of the womb during pregnancy and labor.
When women have plenty of energy, they take great pleasure from their responsibilities. Creating a lifestyle and diet that sustains unending energy by producing plenty of oxytocin is key to lower stress levels.
A woman's oxytocin levels fluctuate and must be replenished ... often ... by giving to yourself while reducing your giving to others.
TIP: Here are a few activities a woman can engage in to increase oxytocin by treating herself:
- getting a massage,
- getting her hair done,
- obtaining a manicure/pedicure or a facial,
- having a night out with her girlfriends,
- participating in a friendly telephone conversation,
- scheduling time to be with a special friend,
- working out with a personal trainer,
- taking a personal interest class,
- listening to music,
- singing in the shower,
- planting or buying fresh-cut flowers,
- going to a farmer's market,
- holding a baby,
- reading a good book,
- hiring a handyman to get those pesky jobs done,
- planning special occasions to look forward to, and
- pursuing a hobby.
Creating a more holistic paradigm of balance to your work and home life will help you from thinking you are running between compartments. This new dynamic equilibrium is meant to allow all the parts of life to work synergistically in a highly interrelated whole. Life balance isn't an "either/or" but an "and."
The roles you play at home and work must be in concert instead of requiring you to play different roles. Although there are distinct competencies attached to each role, it is to your advantage to create a powerful synergy among all roles.
This inter-role synergy saves incredible problem-solving time and energy. Understanding that you are accepting personal responsibility for your own life helps you transcend the either/or categorical thinking of others. Research tells us that the so-called feminine attributes (well exercised in parenting) are the critical capacities required to effectively manage in the cross-generational cultures of today's organizations.
Creating a balance between your world of work and your personal life takes some focused self-learning.
It's common for us to read where it is possible for women to have it all. In my opinion, there is an opportunity for us to have it all -- as long as we first change an outdated belief system that we need to do it all.
One of the secrets of a well balanced life is understanding that we all -- both men and women -- need to have the appropriate supports in place to allow this to happen. Women often will support their men allowing them opportunities to relax and enjoy life. It is now time to recognize women also need support, whether this be through family supports or otherwise. And, this boils down to managing our home with the same efficiency that we manage the office. We don't, or shouldn't be, doing everything ourself in our place of employment. It is expected that we will rely on others who have skills to do the jobs that we simply do not have the time for. The same is necessary in the home if a business woman wants to decrease her stress and have a well-balanced life. And, don't be too quick to say how much money this will cost. If you are an astute business woman, you can find the money to get what you need.
Here are some of the things you may want to consider hiring outside help to assist you with:
- cleaning the family home,
- yard work,
- routine repairs,
- child care,
- quality meal preparation,
- laundry, and
It's common for my executive clients to exclaim, "I just can't do any more." Their focus becomes family and career. Somewhere along the line their personal life gets lost. They lose contact with close friends -- a real shame -- when life issues happen. They choose to stay away from social events because there is no time to reciprocate. Fast food becomes a mainstay. They promise themselves to eat better and exercise but that falls by the wayside. It's all so overwhelming.
If you just don't know where to start, quickly get yourself a mentor or coach to help you along your journey to effectively managing your time. You, your boss and your family will be glad you did.