Thursday, May 17, 2007

Work-Life Balance

  • 42% of the professional women we surveyed indicated work-life balance is their greatest challenge as a woman in the workplace today.
  • According to The Supergirl Dilemma, girls also struggle with balance issues. 50% of girls, grades 3 through 12, said it is true that girls are expected to spend a lot of their home time on housework or caring for younger siblings; 65% of girls said they worry about getting good grades at school; and 60% of girls said they often feel stressed.
Full Circle...
Are there expectations placed on young girls that are attributes found in grown, professional women today? Can we help girls and women find balance to make a difference tomorrow?

The answer for us lies in the definition of balance…

Despite the worldwide quest for Work-Life Balance, very few have found an acceptable definition of the concept. It does not mean an equal balance--it will vary over time, and there is no one-size fits all. Read a definition of work-life balance that will positively impact your everyday value and balance today.

“Girls are very pressured today to get good grades, look good, have a lot of friends, do a majority of the chores, and still have time for family.”
-9th Grade Girl, The Supergirl Dilemma
“[My biggest challenge is] having it all…and defining what 'all' means to me.”
-Professional Woman
“[I would like to see] the expectations of a ‘leader’ shift so that other things in life (i.e. family, friends, hobbies, rest, etc.) are just as valued and expected as work performance and commitment.”
-Professional Woman
Time Management... Delegating is entrusting someone to make decisions; it is not dumping work on people and feeling guilty.
  • Remember the 80/20 Rule: 20% of your inputs generate 80% of the outputs.
  • Use 10-10-10 Rule: Ask yourself; Will it matter in ten minutes? Will it matter in ten days? Will it matter in ten months?
Technologies can be barriers to finding balance. You must set the expectations and communicate YOUR availability.
  • Turn off devices when it’s your time.
  • Prioritize and answer emails accordingly.
  • Recommend others that can assist on your behalf or attend meetings.
  • Build “me” time into your calendar. Great leaders need time to just think and to be strategic.
Know the Four Time Traps
1. Procrastinator. If you find yourself procrastinating. Try this…
  • Set deadlines for yourself.
  • Understand why the task is unpleasant for you.
  • Assess the negative effect of avoiding this task and what impact it will have on other priorities.
  • Break task into small steps.
  • Understand why you procrastinate and take steps to change behavior.
2. Perfectionist. Do you set unreasonable standards for yourself? Worry that people won’t like you? Constantly displeased with your work? Try this…
  • Commit yourself to the idea that getting the project out by a designated deadline is your highest priority.
  • Clarify the expectations of those who will evaluate you work before you begin.
  • When you have completed a project, get feedback.
3. “Yes” Woman – Is it hard for you to say “no”…to turn down requests? If so, you are not alone. Many people find it hard to refuse requests for a variety of reasons. Try this…
  • Determine if you are the best and/or most appropriate person for the task based on your responsibilities and priorities.
  • Don’t postpone your decision.
  • Say, “No” immediately, but take time to explain factors involved in the decision.
  • Suggest other possible solutions.
  • Understand that saying “no” does not have to mean rejection, become a confrontation or cause bad feelings.
4. Distraction Driven – Distractions come in all forms but they have a common characteristic: they divert you from the task at hand. Try this...
  • Understand the real issue: you are allowing yourself to avoid completion by giving in to distractions.
  • Determine if you enjoy the distractions.
  • When you feel yourself being tempted, stop! Remind yourself of your priorities and what you stand to lose if you give in to distractions.
  • Don't be misled by the apparent urgency of a distraction.
*** Try and value your time. An extra hour at work adds 10 % to work and reduces all other time by 50% ***

Girls Inc. recommends:
  • Help girls think about how to make smart choices and set priorities.
  • Redefine what it means to be kind and caring. Help girls overcome the pressure to please everyone. Support them in learning to say "no" and in establishing boundaries.


Allison K. said...

I recommend the "Compulsively Transparent" entry from the Deloitte Women's Initiative blog to to spark a great conversation (debate?) about work/life balance.

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