Recently in many of my conversations with ‘corporate mums’, a common theme was raised about “being bogged down by the doing” and “not feeling in control”. They felt there was just so much to do, that small tasks were falling through the cracks and they were paying the consequence of taking on too much at one time. When we started to work through the reality of these situations, we found a lot of the mums were stuck in the “getting things done” mode and took a lot on, that in reality they personally didn’t need to. They simply wanted to be able to “do it all”.
As corporate mums, we get so busy that we can sometimes loose sight of the big picture. We have multiple important roles in our lives, we get so busy doing the doing, the detail can start to slip and we get forgetful. This often lead us to focus on the less important things. Recently a corporate mum explained one of her weeks with me where she was very near loosing control. She had three new projects about to kick off, an office that was in dire need of de-cluttering, filing and sorting, expenses and budgets to manage which were now well overdue, cupcakes to bake for a school fundraiser, a child’s specialist appointment, a school tournament and a partner away for work. Sound familiar? Being incredibly successful, loving her career and and her family, she suddenly felt disorganised and incompetent in the eyes of her colleagues at a senior leadership level and her family. By stopping for a moment, creating some time where we could work through her week and prioritise, delegate and work out success strategies for her, she very quickly regained control.
Another situation arose with Sonia, a senior manager for a key New Zealand bank. She was required to have a new procedure signed off by the Senior Executive Team. Unfortunately Sonia was stuck in ‘super doer‘ mode and was focussed on completing the whole process personally instead of delegating to her team. She was also juggling her entire to-do list in her head instead of writing it down. As a consequence, she forgot to email the procedure with her own official sign off to the team, which from one small forgetful act set of a string of acts that had huge consequences.
From all my discussions, a vast majority of the corporate mums I have worked with, have at some point had to move on from the ‘super doer’ phase. The following key tips aided them in doing so:
Power Plan – Spend 15 minutes every morning working on what you want to get out of the day. Reflect daily on your progress.
Embrace technology – most people have a phone with a “to-do” function on it. So for those who aren’t list people or don’t like writing tasks down, embrace technology and create a current, up-to-date “to do” function, electronically. Renew it daily in your power planning time.
Prioritise – Steven Covey talks about the urgent versus the important. Be clear on what the urgent and what the important is for you in your role at home, and your role in the office.
Delegate – Whether you empower your people and delegate at work, or whether you decide to delegate at home by hiring a cleaner or sharing jobs with the family; be sure you start to handover tasks that you don’t have to own.
Being organised and letting go of the super doer working mum phase, will help you create the time and space you need to feel in control.
Take the time to focus your energy on where you need to be.