Accredited Coach and Mentor
I coach women in journalism and the media to feel empowered at work, achieve success and gain work-life balance with confidence | BBC Senior Journalist and News Editor | Accredited coach
Is lack of time stopping you from getting to where you want to be?
It was the late Steve Jobs, the billionaire iconic Apple boss, who once said: “My favourite things in life don’t cost any money; it’s really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.”
For all the many years I worked busy, frantic, journalism shifts that were long, hard, with extremely unsociable hours, I would often dream of this ‘elusive’ time that I felt that I didn’t have. And what I could do with it if I had it. And what it could do for me.
So if you’ve caught yourself recently saying something like “I’d love to, but I just can’t, I don’t have the time, I don’t have the energy”, then these three little nuggets of advice will help you get at least one foot back on the track to where you want to be…
Let it go
My friend recently told a group of us that she didn’t have time to exercise around work and children.
“But the family ironing pile gets out of control and I can’t handle it,” she said.
Almost everyone began lamenting their expanding waistlines until another friend, with just as many young children and a job, gently said: “But of course you’ve got time to exercise, but you’ve made a choice that the ironing is a more important outcome for you.
“You’ve prioritised it in your head that way,” my (somewhat brave) friend continued.
“For me, it’s my health and always will be.”
Boom. Learning to schedule in time for the things you really want to do can also improve your performance when you pick up the chores again. Realising that most things can wait is key, and that if you stop for a short while things will not spiral out of control.
Which brings me nicely on to…
Stop being a perfectionist
I met someone recently who introduced themselves as “a recovering perfectionist”.
I loved it; and oh, how it struck a chord.
I nearly missed a flight to Australia once because I was too busy vacuuming the house instead of getting on the motorway to the airport, just in case my parents stopped by while I was away. I was paranoid about appearing perfect.
Being a perfectionist is a completely misguided and unwise “quality” to have. And, often, being a perfectionist is actually an attempt (or many ongoing attempts) to please someone else.
Learning to let things go a little is key. Not having the perfect clean home every day, for example, could mean you start that yoga course you always wanted to do.
When we try to be perfect what we’re actually doing is wasting precious time. There’s a balance to be had – and you have to ask yourself… are the results of the task really so important? Will it make a difference in the long run?
If the answer is no then learn to accept not getting everything done and relax about it, it’s very liberating.
And not being a perfectionist means learning to…
Say ‘no’ and be assertive
This is one of the hardest things to do. Our desire to constantly please others makes saying “no” an unnatural and unpleasant thing to do. We might feel we are letting people down, especially if we are saying it face-to-face.
Learning to say no requires assertiveness. But being assertive can also increase your self-esteem, control stress and earn the respect of others.
Ask yourself… do you let yourself down more than you let down others, by not saying “no”? Where is the mutual respect?
Assertiveness has to be consciously learned and practised. Many large organisations provide assertiveness training to help equip employees with skills to effectively manage their workload and get overbearing managers to back off.
Key things to remember when being assertive – say no, be direct, keep your reasons brief and your body language and emotions positive.
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Accredited Coach and Mentor
I coach women in journalism and the media to feel empowered at work, achieve success and gain work-life balance with confidence | BBC Senior Journalist and News Editor