We all know those women who seem to be professional superheroes. They are those women we’re convinced have secretly been given more than the regularly-allotted twenty-four hours in a day. The Internet is full of articles about successful individuals (CEOs, entrepreneurs, etc.) and how they manage their day successfully, thus making millions of dollars. If we struggle to manage our calendars and fit everything in, what must it look like for the female running a Fortune 500 company or the woman who just opened a local small business and makes it seem so easy?
If you take some time to browse these aforementioned articles, you’ll find there isn’t one particular thing they all agree on. There’s not a secret sauce, per se. Some claim the secret to be early rising. Some do their best work after the rest of the world goes to bed. Some swear by yoga and meditation while others have apps on their phone to keep them straight. Everyone’s life is like a different version of a Tetris game. We’re all just trying to make our pieces fit into our life comfortably.
Despite the lack of a secret sauce, there does seem to be common threads that run through the lives of these women whose success leaves us looking for the twenty-fifth hour in our day.
It’s not just about having a to-do list. Anyone can do that. It’s about knowing what on that list is vital, what can be delegated, and what can be crossed out completely due to lack of necessity. Those who we look to and admire for their time management seem to go into their day knowing exactly what is essential and how to tackle it. There’s no indecisiveness and no decision fatigue. Who has time for that?
These movers and shakers seem to have perfected knowing what to take on and have developed magical powers that allow them to say “no.” They seem to be able to sift through requests for their time with great ease knowing exactly what will be beneficial and manageable and what needs a firm “no.”
Burnout is a very real thing, yet some of the most successful people in the world seem to have a sense of self-awareness the rest of us haven’t yet mastered. They know when enough is enough, and they know what reenergizes them. In a recent episode of Inside Source, Holly Lange talks about swearing off anything that involves evening meetings because that is her time to decompress. Does that work for everyone? Absolutely not. By paying attention to what drains and what motivates her, it’s an awareness Holly has come to about herself.
Like anyone who becomes great at anything, possessing the attributes listed above takes great discipline. These people aren’t successful simply because they were born knowing how to make a thorough to-do list or knowing when to say “no.” Making all the trains run on time every single day is an art and a discipline.
Despite how easy these professional superheroes make it look, most would probably be the first to tell you their time management skills are something that came with years of practice and even failures. They’re not something a twenty-two year old walks away from college knowing how to do. It’s all too common for professional women to bite off more than we can chew, but having a good grasp on prioritizing and execution of the tasks most important to you and your business is a skill worth developing.