Complaining is not cool and I somehow prefer to look for solutions or an opportunity while evaluating a problem. But, I can’t stop complaining that the best selling authors and great thinkers of the self-help and productivity nonfiction genre are biased. As I read these books I find more often that they are all scripted for the male audience. I am not kidding!
Authors like Sheryl Sandburg, Mary Kondo, Amy Chua, and a few other local leaders are exceptions to this. They have shared their hacks designed for women, but most of the other authors build ideas around the patriarchal system of survival. Productivity hacks from them do not meet the needs of an emerging or young female leader.
It begins with a flaw in the morning routine and an evening routine. In most cultures, the woman of the house kickstarts the engine of the house and shuts it. Mothers of babies and toddlers, working women, single mothers really can’t cope with those hacks. To support the women who have set their path towards a goal, I feel they need a different approach. And, this article is for them, technically “us”. I am sharing some of the productivity hacks as a woman who is a full-time mother and content strategist, anxious yet happy parent of a toddler with no full-time nanny.
So, let’s get started.
Productivity Hacks for Great Women
1. Great leaders spare at least five hours a week towards learning. Not possible with my lifestyle. So I set an agenda of smaller lesson consumption periods. Like while washing the dishes. Driving: listen to audio files. When my daughter takes a nap. This includes reading, watching TED videos or rather listening, videos on Coursera. Don’t lose on sleep. Try engaging your little ones while you do some reading and learning. Take the help of a daycare, hobby classes, play dates, neighbors. But, be wary that you don’t do too much of it. It is just five hours a week.
2. Great leaders have a #morningroutine of #meditation, #exercise, and #reading. Women, unfortunately, begin in the kitchen. While getting anything to boil on the hob, do you breathing exercises? Wake up 30 minutes early for meditation or stay back in the car before you head to the workplace and align yourself with meditation. Use audiobooks, you will not lose your virginity as a reader. Do it if you feel that you are more of a knowledge seeker and less of a loyal reader.
3. Focus on the most challenging tasks first. After you are set with your morning routine, you will jump onto the most difficult tasks that you have to accomplish. Set a plan the previous day and mash the most difficult task into micro-tasks that you can achieve. Add unpredictability to your agenda of the day. It is not as smooth as it seems in those books. It gets really crazy, especially when your little one falls sick, your maid or nanny takes a day off by surprise, your boss or client has a sudden deadline for and when you look at the date, it is backdated. LOL.
4. Great leaders set a pattern for themselves. This is true even for women like us if we are onto accomplishing something. But, the journey between setting the routine or pattern and emerging into people who follow it with discipline, is an extremely tricky one.
Let’s say you read something and are determined to set that routine from the next day. But, your husband comes back home to inform you that he has a flight to catch at 6.00 am the next day and you will have to manage home, children and work all by yourself. Deep inside you are like “Uh!! not tomorrow, my routine will take a back seat”. And this is when it gets really difficult. These times require you to adopt “Acceptance”. Setting a routine and staying discipline is probably 3X, 4X or XX times more difficult for women than men. It will be a slower process for you. But, what can make it faster is to communicate your plan with your family. This is important. For some sad reason, we are wired to keep our plans and agenda to ourselves. Let it out and the pace would increase.
5. Great Leaders avoid multi-tasking. Neuroscience studies have confirmed that multi-tasking is a non-productive approach and that it true. But, for women it is an indispensable skill that comes handy almost all the time. However, you too can avoid multi-tasking.
Divide your day into zones. And, set rules for each zone. Some of the zones that I have for myself are
- Me zone
- Parenting and kids zone
- Scaling or enhancement zone
- Family zone
- Work zone
- Health zone
- Errands zone
- Life zone
- You can add more
For me each zone is not just a time slot. It is also a space that I create for myself to focus better. This helps me remove all those distractions that discourage me from giving my 100% to that zone. I am not just referring to mobile phones, but distractions like the doorbell, hot pot on the stove, your children’s school project, movies, social network, and so on.
Once you set those rules of who is allowed into each zone and for how long, you will be able to reduce the degree of multi-tasking to a great deal.
If you have tweaked or customized productivity hacks for your life, please share them below this article with a comment. Would love to learn and respond…