Such a great question. And one certainly many of us women struggle with at some point in our lives or maybe for some even on a daily basis at work or at home?
As women we tend to be natural caregivers, and nurturer’s and we often find ourselves pulled in many different directions. Perhaps we have our fingers in too many pies. This can sometimes lead to feelings of overwhelm and burnout trying to take care of too many things all at once. While we may be excellent at juggling many balls at the same time, this is NOT always a good thing! And for one reason or another we may be in a situation where we are needing to try take care of many things.
There will also be certain things you may not want to delegate of course.
Generally speaking, in order to reclaim our time, we need to be champions for ourselves and learn to say the magic word more often.
Certainly, there are many demands of our time and attention, often people pulling from all directions. So how do we even begin to level the playing field and balance the scale more evenly between giving to others what they want and need and giving to ourselves?
And Do we really have to manage it all?
A stay at home Mom with no or limited family or social support may feel like she does have to do it all. She may be both mother and father to her children, playing both roles. And the challenge may be that she wants to surround herself with a positive peer group who are also importantly a positive influence on her children, so having standards may also add to the challenges of feeling alone, and doing it all.
When it comes to parenting, I believe our job is to raise our children in such ways that they can tie their own shoelaces, they can ride their bike without stabilizers and they can think critically and feel empowered and equipped to make good decisions. We provide discipline, guidance and freedom. We give them good roots and eventually the wings to fly.
At work and when it comes to leadership, I learned a great piece of advice from one of my mentors and that is, if you can delegate a task and have someone else do it almost as good as you, 70% as good as you, then yes by all means delegate. Some of the best leaders I know are indeed excellent at delegating, empowering and equipping their teams to run with the ball. They don’t micro manage! They are far enough in front and also willing to walking beside you and they focus on equipping and empowering their teams to high performance.
What are some of the road blocks to more time for ourselves?
- 1-8 American’s age 40-60 are raising children AND caring for elderly parents. Often referred to as the ‘sandwich’ generation. And many of us find ourselves in this situation.
- The challenges many experience and associated with being in the sandwich generation include: not enough personal time, health issues, not getting the rest and relaxation needed and for some maybe career development, goals and dreams are put on the back burner.
- The affects of all of this, could lead to burnout, stress, depression and feeling overworked and under-appreciated.
Certainly, there are some things we CAN all do to help reclaim our time and our agenda and to feel and think and sense that we have more control of our time and that we are back in the driver’s seat.
So what can we do? How can we reclaim our time?
Here are 3 strategies:
Set some boundaries. First, having clarity over how you want to spend your free time is key. Maybe your idea of relaxing is listening to music, reading a book, going for a hike, working out, a walk on the beach or getting some more sleep etc. Next, setting boundaries about who and what you will allow into your day is vital. Brevity. Be punctual. Keeping your meetings and appointments to the time allocated. And spending time with those who are a priority to you. As a leader having an open door policy, means your team can feel comfortable coming to you and they sense and think and feel like you welcome their idea’s, support, concerns and solutions. It doesn’t mean you don’t have boundaries. Of course if your job requires that you are on call 24-7 then that of course is a different matter.
We learned earlier that if someone can do your job or a given task 70% as well as you can, then go ahead and delegate it. Leadership isn’t doing it all by yourself. Yes be an example, roll up your sleeves and be with your team and know that the really great leaders do also delegate, they focus on duplication, empowering, equipping and giving their teams the tools and resources to succeed. Sometimes the challenge is not delegation, rather the art of delegating to the right person for the job!
For the next 90 days, I challenge you to say NO. Say NO at least once per day for 90 days to the things, or people or demands of your time and attention that are not a priority for you. Giving you, more time to say YES to the priorities and people who matter most to you. Giving you also more control of giving to yourself and the projects you are working on.
Try implementing these three strategies into your daily routine and see if you begin to sense, think and feel as though you are more in control of your time and agenda, putting you back in the driver seat and reclaiming more time for you!
Let us know how these workout for you and share your comments below.
Janet I Mueller is the CEO of J Mueller Group. She passionately serves and helps her clients and audiences to unlock and achieve their full potential, raise their self-esteem through personal growth and leadership development. Helping leaders to become excellent leaders through practice and philosophy of servant leadership. Janet is a mom, educator, executive coach, speaker and published author. Coming soon, her new book “The Blossoming – A Leader’s Guide 10 Keys To Unlocking Your Blooming Potential”. Author of “A Champion’s Guide To Thriving Beyond Breast Cancer”Janet is an advocate for women and girls and member of RAINN the largest national anti sexual assault organization. She is hired to speak on personal growth, leadership development and self-esteem.
To work with Janet or hire her as a speaker for your event please inquire here: firstname.lastname@example.org