As an Executive Coach to female CEOs and entrepreneurs, one of the things that I really enjoy doing is working with my clients to help bring some balance into their schedules.
Over and over again I find that women entrepreneurs, and in particular Mompreneurs, are overwhelmed by the multiplicity of roles that they play – from wife to Mom, to business leader and CEO, to mentor, to coach and finally to being me. Yes, it can be very overwhelming but help is at hand.
One of the things that I also found is that many women in business do not place a priority on setting priorities. And in turn this brings chaos to their schedules and multiple roles and responsibilities. The end result is exhaustion – a lot of it – and frustration.
How can we alleviate this? Well, I always say it boils down to a couple of things – planning, setting priorities and time management. In sum, defining the non-negotiables. Any female CEO has four spheres of influence and responsibility – herself (health, nutrition, wellness), her home (domestic, children, husband, partner), the business (ensuring that the defined business aspiration is clear and unambiguous, executing this into profit and being a leader in your industry), and leading and coaching your employees for your business and their personal greatness.
A lot of work, I know – but that is why planning, setting priorities and time management are key. If you don’t do this, physical and mental fatigue will set in, and so will discouragement and ultimately lack of motivation to run your fabulous business.
1. Let’s start with you and your wellness needs.
Determine to place a priority on your health and wellness. This for a lot of people may mean developing a new way of life – or faking a new way of life, at least initially. From nutrition and diet, exercise, quiet time and prayer time, to reading and me time, all of these play a tremendous role in improving the physical and mental wellness of anyone. But if we do not prioritize these, we will not feel good half of the time.
I place tremendous priority on my physical, spiritual, nutritional and intellectual wellness. I rise early almost without exception. I will exercise early, enjoy me time after the exercise as I cool off with a hot drink or a green smoothie to plan and chew over my day’s appointment, after which I will spend quiet time in prayer – oh yes, let me not forget the playing of soft music to awaken me from the night’s rest.
2. Whether a mother or not with domestic priorities;
Devoting this top of the morning to yourself before the children and hubby are up is to my mind absolutely crucial. Otherwise, the rush, chaos and hurry, hurry, hurry of the morning will seep into your, well, chaotic, unstructured day. Then the getting children up is rushed, as is the getting breakfast ready, as is the drive to school, and alas the drive to work now becomes the 20 minutes of peace before the storm at work and the only 20 minutes in which you make time to plan and structure your day – in the midst of the traffic, the road rage, and the morning talk shows on the radio.
Yes, it will mean purposefully waking early on Monday to Friday so you can enjoy me time before the rest of the family rises. It will mean planning the weekly breakfast so that the short time you have in the morning is more efficiently spent. It will mean purposefully delegating some tasks to domestic staff (if you are privileged to have them). It will mean being organized. But isn’t organization what you are trying to achieve? And isn’t that why a business is called an organization because it is, well, organized?
3. Organizing also means organizing family time– especially at weekends.
Some children’s parties you may have to say no to – but don’t make this a habit less your children drive you up the wall with the crying and whining. Prioritize and plan time with your partner and children. What constructive play time activities can we schedule and what relaxing family play time can we schedule? All are important in the business of attaining balance and enjoying play time with family – but it takes scheduling, planning and prioritizing.
4. Moving on to the business needs.
As a business leader your business needs a strong vision and strategy, strong leadership and management from you, profitability, visibility, service excellence, innovation and creativity, the list goes on. How can you achieve all of these without planning? It is from the planning that strategic execution, and success, ultimately comes. Plan your week. Have days that are devoted to external meetings, and have set blocks of time that your staff know that you have an open door policy and can come in for a chat or direction.
What you don’t want is for them to have the liberty of walking into your office anytime of the day to discuss trivial matters that you are paying them to think about. They need to be able to come to you with thought and solutions for the challenges and problems of their role – all you are doing is providing the strategic direction. Structure a half day for you to research and keep in touch with what is happening in your office, and do this during office hours not when you are at home when your family needs your full attention. Believe me whilst some may have achieved business success by sheer luck and audacity, tenacity and meticulous planning is what keeps them successful. Plan, followed with strategic execution.
5. And then your employees.
On the demand side they want recognition, appreciation, reward, work hours flexibility, etc. On the supply side they need to be motivated, they need clearly defined roles and responsibilities, they need mentoring and coaching and they need KPIs (key performance indicators). They need for you to coach and mentor them to be who their role needs them to be, and that comes with you delegating tasks so that they can practice that responsibility.
It’s no use not trusting them with delegation. Why have you employed them if you are so paranoid that you don’t trust that they are up to the task? Yes, it’s a tall order but that’s just the way it is. Achieving all of these demands your own organization, but once that is achieved you are more likely to enjoy balance since everyone knows what is expected of them, when and how.
Attaining balance is no longer a negotiable. It has become a priority for business success. Heard that Arianna Huffington is talking about the power and need for sleeping, getting enough hours of sleep so you can be most effective? Yes, read up on it – and most of all ensure that you are able to live that as a result of carefully planning your schedules to accommodate your balance needs.
One of my long term clients thanked me the other day for supporting her with a schedule that allows her to be a Mom and an entrepreneur with ease, for we have scheduled two Fridays a month when she has a half day, picks up the children from school and everyone goes home for fun family time. I smiled and responded, ‘that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”
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