Here’s the simple secret to managing it all.
As we head into a new phase of Covid-19, I’m wondering how you are managing your workload.
A few weeks ago, I asked the 1500 or so women of the Leading Ladies Facebook Group (a free group that I run for mid-career professional women) whether they were less busy, about the same or more busy as a result of Covid.
I had expected a bit of a mixed bag of responses – but to my surprise the response was a resounding “WAY more busy!!”
Give a busy woman something to do… and she will find a way to make it work!
And hasn’t this been the truth over recent weeks.
During the last couple of months I’ve seen so many professional women very effectively juggling home schooling and keeping the family fed along with adjusting to working from home, supporting their team to maintain productivity while managing to churn out a massive volume of their own work.
Ladies – you are amazing. But there comes a time when it’s time to take a breath and take care of you.
I’m curious – have you been putting everything and everyone else’s needs ahead of our own?
Doing your best work, remaining productive and focused, keeping your mood and emotions in check; these are all vitally important to any leader. To achieve this we need to feel fresh, energised and on our game... not stressed out and tired!
My question today is “What are you doing to take care of you?”
What are you doing to allow your brilliant best to shine every day at work, even when things get a little crazy?
We all know what we should be doing… but are we doing it?
These are questions I have had to ask of myself more than once over the past couple of months.
Too often, when we get busy, the first thing we drop off the to do list is our self-care. But it is exactly these times when maintaining our self-care rituals and routines are most important.
Here are my personal rules for taking care of me even when things get busy.
1. Keep moving.
Ok… you don’t need me to tell you that exercise is important. It is critical for your health and brain function to maximise productivity, creativity and general mood. My early morning walks at the beginning of the day is a must for me – to get you fired up and focused for the day.
2. Quality refuelling.
If you put poor quality fuel in a racing car it doesn’t go well. We are the same. We can’t expect our mind and bodies to perform at their best if we don’t pay them the respect with high quality fuel. Have you been treating your body respectfully the high quality refuelling? (And ladies – quality vino does not count!)
3. Still the mind.
The research around the benefits of meditation and the powerful state of mindfulness are irrefutable.
But who needs proof?
Intuitively we know that when we make time for even 10 minutes for a little meditation or mindfulness, we feel calmer and our thinking expands, allowing ideas to flow, creative solutions to appear and projects to be completed without quite so much effort.
If you are looking to add a regular meditation practise into your daily routine, there are lots of great apps. My personal favourite is Insight Timer.
4. Say NO.
How often have you said yes to something, only to later wonder why you did or, worse still, feel resentful and trapped into doing something you don’t want to do or is not your responsibility? If this resonates with you – it’s time to learn the art of saying no!
Take your time. Think it through and only commit to those things that will serve you well.
5. Schedule ‘you’ time.
Ladies… I know many of us are hard wired to put others before ourselves. However, if we don’t take care of ourselves, we can all too easily end up feeling depleted, burnt out and exhausted. And when that happens, we end up with nothing left to give anyone.
Self care is not a luxury. It’s the foundation to doing your best work.
To manage the increased workload that many of us find ourselves in right now, working harder, longer hours is not the answer. We need to double down on those activities that allow us to be our most productive, clear thinking and keep stress and fatigue at bay.