The irony of this blog is that the women who need it the most will be too busy to read it. The world seems to be speeding up…
So much to do.
So little time.
And women have it worse for a number of reasons.
Firstly, we have more neurons firing at any time than men yet they are often devoted to worry. Did you know that the part of the brain devoted to worry is bigger in women than men? We worry about everything from low level second guessing to full-on catastrophising.
In evolutionary terms, men were responsible for hunting, and women were responsible for just about everything else – child rearing, tending the fire, keeping everyone safe and comfortable.
Sadly, whilst our society has developed, our brain hasn’t. This wastes valuable effort and energy and impacts our confidence to take action.
Secondly, women carry the majority of the mental load in a relationship (even at work). So even if you and your partner share household duties, you will still carry the burden of remembering what needs to be done – where do the kids need to be, what do they need to take with them, family birthdays and other family logistics.
Again, a draw on our precious energy.
“We are busy with what we say yes to.”
Lastly, women are shown to volunteer more and take on more menial tasks at work. They are more likely to clean up after events, do kitchen duties and take on low-level administration tasks, even if they are ‘higher status’.
Are you busy doing things that you said yes to?
Maybe you have delegated or devolved responsibility for tasks but you are still worried about whether they are being done right, checking in or checking up or maybe even re-doing tasks that weren’t done properly and then silently seething.
A key to managing your time and your emotional wellbeing at work is being really clear about your boundaries. I often talk about the ‘Jeff Test’ – think about an average middle-aged white male in a management role. Whenever your confidence falters or when you find yourself doing menial work, ask yourself “What would Jeff do?” or “Would Jeff say yes to this?”
And then don’t forget that NO is a complete sentence.
Enforcing boundaries can be challenging for people-pleasers and conflict avoiders.
Learn to lean into the discomfort you feel when jobs remain undone or the silence when volunteers are called for. If asked, either politely decline or point out it may be someone else’s turn. Be clear about your start and finish times so colleagues know the days you work late and the days you leave on time. Publish the times and when you have to compromise, take the time back another day.
If you are a manager/leader, check your gender mindset. Do you ask or expect male staff members to contribute to the full range of obligations – from buying retirement presents and emptying the dishwasher, to organising catering and washing staff room tea towels??
If you are drowning under the weight of what you said YES! to then maybe now is a good time to say NO. If setting boundaries and saying no is getting in the way of you being the woman you want to be, then book a complimentary discovery call here.
Hello there! I am Jenny Cole – Coach, Consultant and Cheerleader. I work with women to create careers, workplaces and lives that allow them to flourish.
I love nothing better than watching smart, capable but overwhelmed women step confidently into their best self and truly succeed.
I am endlessly curious with two successful businesses behind me. My blog shares what I see, what I know and random musings.