The most common problem I hear from women is that they always feel behind and want more time. But hear me out, I don’t think wanting more time is the issue.
(Recognising your capacity and your self worth is the real thing (but the solution to that is not so easy to sell….)
I personally despise the mindset of ‘Beyonce has the same 24 hours in the day as you do’. It’s unhelpful to say the least.
The real issue is how we determine our self-worth, how we recognise our capacity to want to do less, and how we find ways to not just cope better but thrive.
Right now, we define our worth by what we have achieved in any given space of time. We can’t help it, that’s just how we have been trained, how society values us and so that’s what we’ve learned.
So the reason you constantly feel like you’re behind, like maybe you don’t have much to show for your day/week, is because you’ve been told you aren’t worthy unless you’re being productive.
And often the reason you’re not being productive is that you have so much going on! It’s NOT because you aren’t good enough.
We’re battling so many things
We’re trying to handle (with no training or pay) the mental load of being ‘good’ mothers, ‘good’ partners, ‘good’ friends, ‘good’ citizens etc. We’re trying to handle the ever-increasing constant attention required to every area dare we let ourselves drop a plate.
In addition, we have been taught as women not to prioritise ourselves because that is selfish. By extension, our businesses are what we ourselves love and so working ON our own businesses does not get prioritised.
We want to be in control and on top of things but we also don’t want to take risks because being risk-averse is safer and we already feel like we’re rubbing ourselves with sandpaper
We also want to get the highest return possible from doing the least because we’re tired and feel stretched thin. And that is how we make our decisions but we feel frustrated because we aren’t seeing the results.
We look for reassurance but there is no one to give it to because we don’t want our self-worth valued by how much we do in a day. We want to be told we’re enough.
We take fewer and fewer risks and actually the odds are stacked against us as female entrepreneurs. The world is not set up to support our success which is why I’m even more passionate about helping as many women as possible What we are doing is a radical act. It was the only year I was born (1982) that women could order their own drinks in a pub without a man.
No wonder we want reassurance. We want to be certain that we are putting out value into the world. Think about it, we are pioneers. Personally, I am only the second generation of women in my family not to have to quit work when I got married. I am the first generation in my family to earn an entirely independent wage from my own business without a partner’s support. I’m guessing you’re similar?
We’re in a constant flux
At the same time, we are in a state of constant change. There are thousands of external factors in the world affecting our everyday experiences. So we burrow into safety, again looking for risk-free ways to live. This doesn’t exist and so we stop being visible. We stop showing up and we become stagnant. But this becomes a risk in itself because then we are ever more left behind where we want to be
So what’s the answer? What if we just took steps every day for the business we want to lead? What if instead of looking at the list of things we want to achieve we created a plan as if it were already the case? This is what I mean when I talk about the mantra of “Done is Better than Perfect”.
We simply have to give ourselves a break from this All or Nothing attitude. We have to be willing to get messy. We have to be willing to take risks. We have to want to learn from whatever we publish for next time. There is no race. We have to cushion ourselves with comforting milestones whilst at the same time stretching ourselves to see the success we want for ourselves + our businesses. Because nothing good ever grew from staying in our comfort zones.
So what if we started thinking more strategically – where do we want to take the business? What will help us get there? What can we try this month / this week / this day to share that with the world? We put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect, to be the best we can be, whilst at the same time believing those negative voices that tell us we cannot do it. Why not turn down the volume on both extremes of those voices and focus on the practical, what you can control. You can’t control your thoughts but you can control your actions. We do not ever need to finish our To Do lists because it is physically impossible. That’s the point of a To Do list. Our worth is not defined by how much of our To Do list we have done that day. We keep telling ourselves that it is and at the same time fully in the knowledge that this is an impossible task. Things will always be added. Everything feels the same level of urgency which makes our brains feel very full.
There is no one size fits all solution
When I’m overwhelmed and struggling with my load, I find this exercise helpful:
1. Divide a piece of paper into four boxes e.g. four areas of your life like your business, your family, your hobbies/creativity, and your social life. Or you could focus on four areas of your business – your content, your website, your sales, and your Google ranking (these as it happens are four key areas of training in my Visible Vibes membership community)
2. In the four boxes you’ve identified, do a brain dump. Get all your thoughts and questions and outstanding queries out of your brain and onto paper in these areas.
We are not designed to be human USB sticks. We will have no room for creativity or flexibility unless we stop trying to remember everything. We will instead burn ourselves out, get overwhelmed, shut down, and become horrible to ourselves and others because we are frustrated, and make life generally very difficult. Get it out of your brain and onto paper – every single thing you can think of.
2. Get 3 different coloured pens and use one colour for each meaning, circle everything that can be
a) scheduled, that already has a specific date, time, and deadline. I use a colour-coded calendar but you can use a wall planner or paper diary. Cross those things out once they’ve been added to your diary/calendar
b) delegated/outsourced to someone else. Ask our partners, our families, or even our future selves (because not everything actually has to be decided upon or done today) and leave it alone.
c) considered – these tend to be bigger projects that require more research and have more questions than answers. They might be things that you need more support with that you don’t have access to right now, so you’ll need to break these things down more in due course. Then, look at your diary/calendar/wall planner and schedule a couple of hours (NOT TODAY) to sit down and go through one at a time. Some of these tasks may not go so smoothly so schedule another session 3 working days later to follow up / complete the tasks.
By breaking down your overwhelming task load into smaller manageable ways like these, then maybe you can see how you *can* give yourself a break.
You do not have to take responsibility for getting everything done in a day. You are not more worthy if you try. You are not less worthy if you try.