Several years ago Allison Pearson wrote a very funny book called I Don’t Know How She Does It, based on the fact that the primary question other women ask working mothers is “How do you do it?” The character, Kate, is the mother of two children and the manager of a hedge fund. One of my favorite quotes:
The women in the offices of EMF [Kate's firm] don’t tend to display pictures of their kids. The higher they go up the ladder, the fewer the photographs. If a man has pictures of kids on his desk, it enhances his humanity; if a woman has them it decreases hers. Why? Because he’s not supposed to be home with the children; she is.
I find that when people ask me, “How do you do it?” some are registering their disapproval, per the quote above. Most—80%– are women who are truly looking for hints, tricks, anything to help them with their busy livesSo here is my best hint: Plan. And develop the art of both sticking to plan and being flexible, never too stuck or too flexible. As soon as I get the school calendar, even if it is nine months in advance, I enter it into my Outlook calendar. I even guess when events might take place based on previous years and enter them tentatively. Then plan monthly—travel, things that must be accomplished. Finally, when it gets to the week, I follow the weekly planning process we teach in Focus: Achieving Your Highest Priorities. I think about my most important roles: wife, mother, my own health, executive, facilitator, friend. Then I think about the most important thing I could do in that role for the relationship and/or to honor commitments and obtain results. And I block out time for that to happen.
Some of the other skills—for future posts—include saying “no” effectively, having a vision, and the all important: sleeping.
Author: Jennifer Colosimo, Chief Learning Officer at FranklinCovey
Follow Jennifer on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jencolosimo
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