“I think people get caught up in striving for success that they just forget to enjoy the simplicity of life.” Catherine Mahugu.
Happy International Women’s Day! Today, it’s all about celebrating the amazing, strong and supportive women in our lives. They could be our mothers, sisters, friends or even yourself. If you are a woman reading this, kudos to you and all the things that you do.
In the spirit of the day, we’d like to get behind the scenes of how successful women balance everything; be it work, family, self-development, the glow, you name it! Here are 5 practices that businesswomen swear help keep them on top of things.
One founder of a successful company says that in order to help ease her workload, she hired two assistants. One managed her appointments and emails while the other managed her website and followed up with clients. By giving up administrative work or nitty-gritties, she was able to focus her energy on what was really important.
It’s very easy to try to be a superwoman and do everything by yourself. While this may work in the short run, you may eventually find yourself exhausted or even in the middle of a breakdown. To avoid this, learn to give away certain tasks to either your family members, your coworkers or your house manager.
2. Make Some Time for Yourself
As the old adage goes, ‘You cannot pour from an empty cup’. Think about the last time you were on an airplane. You were probably advised that in the case of an emergency, you should first put on your own oxygen mask before attempting to help others. This is because you cannot assist others if you are not in a healthy state yourself. No one is going to benefit if you push yourself to a point where your hair is falling out, so be selfish once in a while! Go for that pedicure, that pricey massage or that weekend away. You will come back refreshed and be the better for it.
Here’s how one woman puts it, “When you start your own business, you live and breathe it. You will do everything in your power to make it the successful brand, you envisioned it to be. But it is so important to switch off and take time out, too. I exercise every other day, and I practice mindfulness.” (1)
Successful CEOs often say that they had to be very resolute in their time management. They often started by making small decisions such as committing an hour in the morning to exercise or an hour before bed to read a book. Here is one woman’s account:
“The first thing I did was shift my work hours. I used to start at 8 a.m. and finish at 9 p.m. or later. I’d grab a bite to eat in the five-minute break I had between meetings. Now I work from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and I schedule time for breakfast and lunch into my calendar.
Next, I limited the times I met with clients to Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. On Mondays and Fridays, I focus on a creative project of my own or plan a fun experience outside of work.
I reply to emails in batches, instead of every time I hear my inbox ping. I’ve maintained screen-free evenings for our whole household. I also set an alarm for myself to make sure that I’m in bed by 11. (2)
While it may be tasking to commit everything to a schedule, doing so allows you to control exactly where your time is going. Decide on what’s important to you and give it the time it deserves.
4. Learn to Say No
Most women have had to set boundaries when it comes to work and family life. This is inevitable in the demanding world that we live in. Some of the ways you could regain control is by negotiating flexible hours with a boss or turning down travel assignments in order to spend more time with your family. Some businesswomen also testify to switching off their phones in the evening or notifying their clients that they will get back to them the next day. At the end of the day, it’s all about identifying what you’re not willing to compromise on and communicating those desires.
5. Find Other Women Like You
Have you ever confided in a friend and then experienced that beautiful moment where you perfectly understood each other? That’s a feeling that cannot be bought. Sometimes a timely word of encouragement can make all the difference in your hustle. A problem shared is a problem halved after all. Make a point to look for women in your circumstances. Lucky enough, our networking events are a good place to start.
6. Forget About Perfection
A work-life balance should not be seen as a perfect 50/50. There will always be huge pressure on our time, both from the business and from our families. In the words of one founder, “I believe in blend- our personal lives sometimes need us at noon and our work sometimes needs us at midnight, and there’s no reason to fight that.” (3)
Have you picked up any tips that could help you in your work-life balance? If you have, go a step further and sign up to our Entrepreneurs Hub where you will get to learn more about navigating your business journey. Don’t forget to appreciate the women around you today.