There is no shortage of data to show that women are now bearing the brunt of the pandemic. Lean In and Mckinsey released their 2020 report showing that 1 in 4 women are considering downshifting their career or leaving the workforce altogether. Working women now have so much on their plate that time management is critical to them staying afloat.
There are all sorts of time management hacks that can be employed to help people stay on top of their to do lists but I think there is a fundamental element that a lot of people miss which is their wellbeing. I can literally hear you thinking ‘what the hell has wellbeing got to do with time management?’ Let me give you just 3 reasons why.
- Organise your activities around your energy levels
This is one of the key tips that is given to people to help manage their time. The fact is, a lot of people are drained all the time. I work with women in burnout and if they were to organise around their energy levels, nothing will ever get done. They wake up tired and go to bed tired. Although I get the logic of matching your energy levels to the task at hand so you do the most difficult tasks when you are at your most energetic, if you don’t manage your energy levels, you will fall at the first hurdle. So, if you manage your wellbeing and you are eating and sleeping well, exercising and know how to process stress then you can start your day full of beans and be able handle the difficult tasks first.
The other part of this advice is to take breaks. The smart thing about this is that once you take a break, you get rejuvenated so you come back with more high energy and can again handle demanding tasks. Next time you have that energy dip in the afternoon and you are on the verge of deferring that task for the umpteenth time, rather than grabbing the bar of chocolate, go for short 15 minute walk outside and see how your energy levels shift.
2. Say ‘No’
Women struggle with this because they want be nice. Society doesn’t usually deal well with an assertive woman. This means that women end up with more on their plate than they should. You may have ‘ninja’ time management strategies but if you don’t know how to say ‘No’, your to do list will always remain unmanageable. If you prioritise your wellbeing and understand that, it is what powers you, you will not only make time for self-care but it will be scheduled in your diary which means it will be obvious to you when you have no windows left and you will say ‘No’. Also prioritising your wellbeing means you understand your self-worth and the value you bring to the table. This also gives you the confidence to say ‘No’ so you are not overwhelmed. Practise saying ‘No’ – trust me when I say that people will understand.
3. Done is better than perfect
There are lots of tasks that languish on to do lists that get shifted from day to day and hijack energy simply because there is never enough time to do it perfectly, so it doesn’t get done. Just do it. If you value your wellbeing, you will understand the low-level stress and the energy tied up in that task, begging to be released. Your perfectionism is sapping your energy. Sometimes good enough will just have to do. Your wellbeing is about knowing how to create and manage your energy levels efficiently. This means you minimise your drainers like that lurking task and maximise activities, like having fun with your friends and family, that make you feel good about yourself. Once you understand that, you will prioritise just doing it.
Prioritising your wellbeing, believe it or not, also helps you to gain clarity and sharpens your prioritisation skills in other areas of your life. When the going gets tough, the tough prioritise the wellbeing is my motto.
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