Women in the workplace need to be more: be more proactive, be more assertive, be more accomplished, be more productive. While men float by on their gender’s established work ethic, women constantly need to prove themselves for even the hope of equal status and pay. It is an egregious double-standard, but its end is hardly in sight.
Thus, if you are a woman new to the workplace — or, even better, if you are a woman preparing to start her own workplace — you should practice the following habits to prove that you already are more than a man ever could be.
1. Stop Multitasking
Several times over, research has found that women are superior multitaskers. Without batting an eye, you can probably monitor your email inbox, QA some data sheets, talk to a client on the phone, and mentally compile a grocery list.
Unfortunately, research has also shown that multitasking isn’t as efficient for completing tasks well. Instead of keeping so many balls in the air, you should focus on one ball at a time — which is to say, you should complete one task as fully as possible before moving onto another one.
It seems like doing everything yourself proves that you are indispensable. It seems that refusing to ask for help proves that you are competent and qualified to do your job. Women are notoriously bad delegators for our self-conceived notions of what makes leaders great.
The truth is, you look foolish — not strong — when you refuse to give away any responsibilities. However, when you fail to delegate, you are only giving yourself more work and letting your employees off with an easier job.
3. Plan Your Week
A life isn’t lived day by day; it’s lived week by week. You might not find balance in your work and home life in a single day, but if you spend an hour or so planning your week, you should be able to devote sufficient time to your career, your loved ones, and (importantly) yourself.
You can start your weekly plan by arranging your most important goals, such as “complete X project for X client” or “attend X child’s sports game/recital/science fair.” Then, you can fill in the smaller tasks around those.
4. Make Lists
You can organize your thoughts better by putting them on paper. When you can see the tasks ahead of you — as well as the ones behind you — you are more likely to remember what you need to do. Moreover, you are more likely to do it.
To-do lists can vary from person to person, consisting of either broad responsibilities (rethink business funding strategy) or minute tasks (eat lunch), but it is important you phrase your to-do list properly to ensure things get done.
5. Track Your Time
You should know how long it takes you to drive to and from work. You should know how long it takes you to check your email, how long it takes you to eat lunch, and how much time you need for intermittent breaks.
Then, you can maximize the efficiency of your scheduling pursuits. Plus, if you ever feel that time is getting away from you, you can set timers that prompt you to move on to your next task — but only if you feel more productive when working on a deadline.
You can’t have one calendar for home and another for work; you can’t keep your to-do lists separate from your schedule. By splitting up all your commitments and responsibilities, you are ensuring that you forget something until it’s too late.
As soon as possible, you should bring together all your various agendas, planners, schedules, and calendars into one well-tended source of information. Not only does this save you time — since you are no longer synchronizing every little obligation — but it keeps you sane.
7. Turn Off Distractions
This should go without saying: A buzzing phone, a flashing internal IM program, a dinging email inbox, and other distractions should be put away during work hours. You can allow yourself a few minutes every morning — and if necessary, after lunch — to respond to messages, check social media, and engage with other mindless distractions, but never should they interrupt your productive workday.
8. Know What’s Enough
In most cases, “good enough” is actually good enough. For example, when it comes to your home, unless you can afford to hire a house cleaner, you should be willing to accept floors and dishes that are mostly clean and bathrooms and bedrooms that are mostly tidy.
In many of your work tasks, you should have the same mentality; not every email needs to be worded with precision. As long as your main responsibilities are executed perfectly, good enough will work.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life – Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.™ Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. Their answers can be random and in the moment or they can be aligned with the above article. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
1. What have you accepted within your life, physically and/or mentally? What are you still working on accepting?
My main acceptance in life would be that “change” itself is a constant and regardless of opinion it is inevitable. Making peace with ones self and accepting the things we CANNOT change is key to living a full and happy life. Within those experiences we grow as people and learn.
2. What have you learn to appreciate about yourself and/or within your life, physically and mentally? What are you still working on to appreciate?
I have learned to appreciate all of my imperfections as it makes me who I am as a person and in reality “perfection” is all up for interpretation. In return I have taught myself to replace the old methods in dealing with situations and problems with ones that will deliver or elicit positive responses and solutions.
3. What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? Tell us not only what makes YOU most proud but also share the goals and dreams that you still have.
I believe my core values or the personal rules I have set in place for myself and chose to live by have brought nothing but reward to my life as it has created my known presence to be one of value and those things remind me daily of my standards set if ever I were to steer off course.
4. We all have imperfections, so we think. The truth—we are all perfectly imperfect. What are your not-so-perfect ways? What imperfections and quirks create who you are—your Identity?
Over analyzing every situation would definitely be a not-so-perfect quirk about myself, leading my mind to wander with thoughts of what-if’s, that usually are just that, “what-if’s”. Along with spontaneity and positivity it creates my not-so-perfect, but awesome self!!
5. “I Love My…” is an outlet for you to express and appreciate all the positive traits that make you…well… YOU! Sharing what you love about yourself will make you smile, feel empowered, and uplift your spirit and soul. (we assure you!) Identity challenges you to complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my positive outlook on life and the huge heart I carry with me daily filled with nothing but compassion for others and a willingness to always be learning something new.