Lack of time, stress, frenzy, inability to pull the plug: sometimes the work seems to completely absorb our days, giving us the impression of not having completed anything we should have. A common condition often arises from a lack of organization or from an inadequate or approximate ability of time management.
However, as far as career women are concerned, the reasons may be further and connected to an unequal division of free time and work, still strongly linked to the traditional conception of gender and roles (especially with regard to the family environment).
For a single woman the discourse on time management is essentially linked to the need to emerge and overcome prejudices or distorted visions, reaching the point of exhausting all energy without being able to achieve the set objectives; for a married woman, perhaps with children, to all this is added the burdens of family life that often weigh exclusively on her shoulders. In both cases, stress, anxiety and haste accumulate, giving the only result of losing a great deal of time, without ever recharging and thus making one’s possibilities below.
We try to address the problem by providing advice that is as effective as possible for each category of woman. How better time management increase productivity, so as to combine private life and career?
1 # Plan your days: establish the priorities
The organization is the only possible solution to face full and demanding days. Make sure you are clear about the program of the day, or perhaps of the week, to avoid finding yourself with water in your throat due to a forgotten appointment or a task that had slipped your mind.
Take a short amount of time each day to plan the next one and plan commitments, meetings and tasks so that you always have a line to follow. It will help you proceed quickly and deal with the unexpected events that will inevitably happen: in this way, it will be more difficult for you to forget something and, above all, you will not waste time deciding what to do from time to time.
2 # Impose a maximum time limit
It is possible to adapt the famous Parkinson’s Law to time management: summarizing, “the more time you have available, the more you will waste”. The point is precisely this, because the more a task seems to be far away in time, the less it is encouraged to complete it quickly.
To overcome this, establish a maximum time to be used to complete each commitment. Obviously, it must be a probable timing, so it is useless to set a limit of one hour if realistically it takes at least a couple! You would only end up finding yourself even more busy and stressed.
The secret, therefore, lies in imposing a maximum limit to be respected for each time slot while planning the day, without taking it too easily, without procrastinating but without even attributing yourself to be “superpowers”: this will exponentially increase your productivity and, with it, your satisfaction.
3 # Starts with the most difficult tasks
Very often anxiety leads us to postpone the most difficult tasks during the day, starting from the easiest ones. This behavior, apparently logical, is strongly counterproductive: a large part of our day is engaged in negligible or trivial jobs that we are led to complete in more time than would be sufficient , leaving us so little room for maneuver to get to the point, to more complex practices.
Choose what you really don’t want to do and go under: concentrate on that one only, without hesitating or changing your mind. Don’t go from one job to another to postpone something that you will have to face sooner or later.
Even if you will need a great deal of effort on your part (at least at the beginning), learning to try your hardest work first will help you worry about the simplest tasks for a tiny portion of your day.
4 # Deletes (or reduce to minimum) distractions
We live in the era of continuous connections, social networks and distractions always at hand. It seems trivial, but ignoring all the devices that could disturb us is the first thing to do if we want to be more productive and save time.
Having Facebook always open is a great excuse to get away from something boring or problematic. The point is that every time we give in to a distraction, even the most innocent, and our brain takes about half an hour to return to a state of good concentration.
How many times do you send in a job and, due to a notification or an email, do you spend a quarter of an hour on your smartphone? How long does it take to get back into the rhythm? Much too much time you can’t afford to waste.
Schedule your interruptions, disconnect the phone (if you can) and force yourself to check mail and social networks only during breaks that you have decided to give yourself (because a break sometimes is not only useful but, on the contrary, it is also advisable).
When at the end of the day, you have completed twice the goals than usual, or maybe you have taken half the time to complete them, then you can give yourself all the distractions you need … and you will have more time to enjoy them!
5 # Learn to say no and take care of yourself!
An alternative title could also be “don’t let extra-work commitments only affect you”.
Learn not to always be too open to colleagues or to bosses, do not burden yourself with excessive burdens and do not exceed levels of stress and fatigue that you cannot bear.
Often your desire to do leads others to take advantage of your kindness or to expect the best at any time and on any occasion: if you have other things to do or you understand that that “favor” would overwhelm you, or you are simply too tired to do it, politely declines and continues to follow your schedule of time management.
If you live together, you are married and / or have children, you agree with your partner on a fair division of the household tasks and make sure that the care of the children does not become just your concern: it is no longer obvious that the woman should be mother and woman of home before being a worker, just as you don’t have to give up your career or the job that satisfies you to please someone else.
Take care of yourself, meet your friends, go to the cinema, to the theater, to dinner out: carve out those spaces all for you that are essential for your well-being and, above all, don’t feel guilty about it!