Working moms are known for being busy. Most complain about juggling priorities and having too much on their plates, yet will say “yes” to more. The natural consequence of saying “yes” too much is an overflowing platter of things to do. Here are some indications that you might have too much, or at least the wrong things, on your plate:
- You’re always running “just a bit behind” schedule on EVERYTHING.
- You’re busy, but not productive.
- Your work overlaps into your personal time, and vice versa.
- You’re constantly irritable, on-edge or stressed.
- Things that used to be easy to accomplish, are suddenly overwhelming.
Unfortunately, most working mothers have been socially programmed to adopt a distorted view of motherhood that encourages them to be a “do-be-have-it-all woman.” You’re trying to be an exceptional mother, and you’re trying to do it all by yourself. This kind of self-reliance may work for a period of time, but the long-term effects of this approach can lead to depression, anxiety and stress-related illnesses.
To get back on the road to greater productivity, more effective living and overall balance, consider implementing these three steps to share the workload you carry from day-to-day:
1.) Separate your emotions from the situation. As an achievement-oriented woman, you may be connecting too closely with the work you do, professionally and personally. You care about the outcome of everything, and are even emotionally attached to how the outcome is achieved ("my way or the highway" mentality). The first step toward successful delegation is to let go of the emotion attached to whatever task you’re handing off. If you’re especially tied to a task, or it’s a high-risk task (i.e. the consequences of it not being done properly are grave), then consider passing along a less emotional, or less risky, task. This will relieve your own stress and gives the person you’re delegating to an opportunity to show you they can handle the task.
2.) Focus on what and when, not how. When you’re delegating a task or assignment, whether it’s to a peer at work or a family member, it’s important to clarify the results you expect. In this step, you should also establish clear boundaries, or guidelines, within which the task should be completed. For instance, if you ask your son to maintain the front yard, what should he know about the tools he has available to him? As a word of caution, don’t fall into the trap of explaining how to accomplish the task, unless of course, you’re delegating to a young child who needs help understanding the basic how-to’s of a task. When you question or direct someone else’s approach, your helpfulness could be misconstrued as “she thinks I’m stupid,” which is damaging to the relationship and decreases the person’s desire to help you.