Situation 27: CHANGING PRIORITIES

Femsy is struggling with the fact that since she is working in “Co-Colours” her friends are complaining about her more hectic working schedule. Femsy realizes that not only her job has changed, but as a result her life has changed as well.

(Click on the pictures to see them in full size)

A great leader:

  • Has a holistic view of what she wants to achieve in life; both in her career and in her private life;
  • Looks to achieve work-life integration that gives her flexibility to meld work and home priorities;
  • Knows what is important to her and sets her priorities accordingly.

How to best handle the situation:

Striving to succeed in your career whilst retaining a balance with your home/personal life can be hard and requires you to make choices.  Determine whether you actually want to achieve balance; your needs for work-life balance will vary over time depending on what stage of life you are in; when you are single your career may be uppermost, whilst when you have (young) children you may prioritize them more.

At times your work schedule may be intense and demand that you work long hours to deliver required outputs and realize deadlines.  Balance these times of pressure and intensity with down time during which you can spend time with friends and family and re-charge your batteries.

Consider all the things that compete for your time and determine which ones are most important to you and give you the most satisfaction.  Prioritize these things and discard the rest.  If spending time with your friends is important, schedule time that you will devote to them and protect that fiercely.  If a colleague or your boss asks you to work late on a night that you have already booked to be with your friends, politely decline saying that you have a prior commitment and agree when you can complete the work that is needed.

Determine whether you can work more flexibly, for example change your working pattern or see if there are opportunities to do some of your work from home.  Have a discussion with your boss about how you can be more productive and add greater value by changing your working patterns.

Learning suggestions:

  • Write down your list of personal values, the things that are important to you that guide how you live your life.  Now consider how well you are acting in accordance with those values; what are the things that don’t resonate well?  Make a plan of action to minimize or stop those activities that don’t fit in with your values;
  • Experiment with blocking some ‘me’ time into your agenda and sticking to it.  You can use this time for exercise, relaxation, daydreaming, spending time with family and friends etc.  Explore what works best for you such as 15 minute breaks every hour for a brisk walk, protected time for an evening meal with your family, or one night off per week;
  • Create a workspace at home where you can concentrate.  Trial different technology apps, including those provided by your employer, to ensure that you can remain connected to your work colleagues and access documents that allow you to work from home;
  • Be ruthless with your extracurricular activity; cut down your involvement to only those activities that are really important to you; for example, only volunteer for one organisation, sing in one choir, etc.

Femcommunity tips:

We welcome your thoughts, experiences and comments on how you would deal with such a situation.

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