One of the most powerful coaching questions I ask executive women is “What’s enough?” It normally stops them in their tracks. These women are used to defining ‘enough’ as EVERYTHING! They are used to getting A+s all through school and now expect the same of themselves throughout their career.
So what happens when “everything” becomes impossible to accomplish? Guilt, depression, stress, anxiety and possibly even a decision to “drop out” or downsize their careers.
What’s the solution? Start by accepting that everything is a physical impossibility and by redefining “enough” to focus on our true priorities. As much as we want it to be otherwise, there truly are only 24 hours in a day. I ask my clients to define what’s important to THEM – not their boss, spouse, family, coworkers – but THEM. Then we can allocate their time accordingly.
Many of us feel guilty unless we say yes to everything. In reality, we ARE saying no to some things, perhaps things we really care about. Saying yes to one more project at work may mean that you’ve effectively said no to being at your kid’s soccer games. You might now make that choice consciously – most of us would say our kids are always prioritized first. But the net result of taking on another project means you’ll never get there on time or be fully present. You’ll be stressed, thinking about the project, checking emails and making lists of everything else you’ve got to do.
So the first step is to get clear on what you truly value and want to put as a priority in your life. Then we time block accordingly, given the fixed and finite number of hours in the week. Anything that no longer fits is dropped.
Men are usually more able to ignore the stuff in their email inbox and any projects on their plate that don’t fit into their top 5 priorities. Women try to do it all. It’s much more effective from a career management standpoint to do 5 things well and promote your accomplishments than to try to do 25 things. The 25 will not be your best work, and you’ll be too busy and stressed to tell anyone about them anyway. And the folks you really want to know are business than you are, and you’ll end up not getting full credit for all 25 anyway!
Bottom line: Prioritize based on your values and use time blocks to make sure you execute. Enough does NOT have to equal more work!
Elene Cafasso helps create leaders people want to work with, and work for. Elene is a professionally trained and certified executive coach, and President of Enerpace, Inc. Her coaching enables leaders to achieve their objectives in the areas most critical to their success: emotional intelligence, leadership agility, team building, professional communication and organizational effectiveness. She helps over-stressed and over-busy executives focus on what really matters, while growing themselves, their team and their bottom line. Elene can be reached at #630-832-4399, firstname.lastname@example.org or www.enerpace.com