It is 7:45 am, and 29 female senior level executives are gathered in a law firm conference room. They are sitting around a 30-foot board room table, writing feverishly, as Miami Herald columnist Cindy Krischer Goodman gives tips on balancing work, life, and happiness. Cindy has a 25+ year career in journalism, has her own weekly column (which is now syndicated throughout 100+ newspapers nationwide) and is CEO of Work Life Balancing Act.
I learned a TON of information from Cindy. Below is my own interpretation -- and my own order of priority -- from the notes I took while Cindy talked this morning.
Recognize that being busy does NOT equal being productive. In life, women juggle so many responsibilities, and the secret is to step back and organize yourself so that you are truly productive, utilizing time management, prioritization, and delegation.
Seek help from other people in your field via networking and referrals. Women are particularly more inclined these days to HELP other woman. In the old days, women were more closed-vested and not willing to share advice. It’s a nice trend to see people helping people, especially women helping women. An added benefit: helping others actually reduces stress in your own life.
Ask yourself a simple, basic question: by spending an hour or two reading email, Facebook and monitoring Twitter -- all time consuming and keeping you BUSY -- does this make you PRODUCTIVE? Is this time helping to generate revenue for yourself, or help you check off items on your to-do list?
Become technologically savvy (even if it kills you). In today’s world, using technology efficiently can not only save you TIME, it can make you MONEY. Case in point: a top partner of a very prestigious CPA firm multi-tasks while using her Bluetooth. She can get a bikini wax, a manicure and a pedicure WHILE giving $200/hour tax-consulting advice.
If you get a new “toy” like a smartphone, invest one hour of time to actually read the manual and take the online tutorials. Learn time-saving techniques and efficiencies. Asking your kids to teach you how to use your phone will not produce the business-related time-management tasks it can perform.
Make your health, exercise and diet #1 on your to-do list. If you’re laid up in bed recuperating from heart surgery, you’re unlikely to be much good to anyone (including your business).
Are five (5) personal assistants too much? I about fell off my chair when another executive in the room spoke about her ability to balance life with work.
She said, “It’s easy, I have FIVE personal assistants and 22 employees.”
Now these five personal assistants are not full time, and may give her as few as 5 hours a week doing a very specific task, but when I sat back and closed my mouth after my jaw fell open, I realized her time was extremely valuable. She can make MORE MONEY sitting at her desk doing financial planning for her clientele, than if she were to run to the grocery store, shop, load the car, put the groceries away, and then cook dinner for herself. She saved about 3 hours, and if she’s only paying an assistant $10.00 per hour and she’s raking in, let’s just say, $100 per hour, she has a net earnings of $90.00 per hour. I think I need to hire myself a few personal assistants too!
Create a Vision Statement for yourself. In order to find balance between juggling work, family, and being a caretaker, you must have a written and clearly defined vision for yourself. A vision statement includes personal and business goals, desires, passions, and the specified measurable results you are seeking.
The 2 pm Check-in. On your computer, schedule a task/appointment EVERYDAY for 2 pm and have an instant reminder pop-up on your computer or cell phone. This is your 2 pm reminder that you need to re-read your to-do list and make sure that you are prioritizing your tasks so that you can LEAVE the office on time. If you normally leave at 5:30 pm, you only have 3 ½ hours left to complete your to-do list. If you have to reshuffle and re-prioritize based on emergencies that came up during the day, then do it now so that you can keep to your vision statement, make time for yourself (maybe a workout before dinner) and your family.
The Wind Down Ritual – decide what you can do, everyday, to bring closure to your day. Whether it is writing a to-do list before leaving the office or simply clearing off your desk, this daily ritual will give you “permission to end my day and know that what I leave as “un-done” today will be scheduled for tomorrow.”