Newsletter--Women, Time Management and Stress
- Women and Time Management
The more stress a woman feels, the more overwhelmed she becomes. There are too many things for her to do before she can relax. The more exhausted she feels, the more urgent it becomes for her to get everything done.
In a woman's brain there will always be more to do. That's why she finds it inconceivable that a man can effortlessly sit in front of the TV and not think about things. It has been said that the nicest words of love a woman can hear her man say is, "Shall I clean the house?" When the man in her life offers to help around the house even the small things he does mean a lot to her.
When a woman allows herself to undertake activities that create oxytocin, her stress levels drop, her sense of being overwhelmed disappears, and her energy returns. Oxytocin is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that seems to be involved in reproductive behavior in both men and women, and apparently triggers "caring" behavior. Oxytocin is also the hormone which allows contractions of the womb during pregnancy and labor. When women have plenty of energy, they take great pleasure from their responsibilities. Creating a lifestyle and diet that sustains unending energy by producing plenty of oxytocin is key to lower stress levels.
A woman's oxytocin levels fluctuate and must be replenished...often by giving to yourself while reducing your giving to others. Here are some activities a woman can engage in to increase oxytocin by treating herself: getting a massage, her hair done, a manicure/pedicure, a facial, a night out with her girlfriends, a friendly telephone conversation, exercising or meditate while walking, scheduling a walk and talk with a friend, working out with a personal trainer, taking a yoga class, taking a dancing class, listening to music, singing in the shower, plant fragrant flowers in the garden, buy fresh-cut flowers, go to a farmer's market, hold a baby, read a good book, hire a handyman, plan special occasions to look forward to, etc.
Creating a more holistic paradigm of balance to your work and home life will help you from thinking you are running between compartments. This new dynamic equilibrium is meant to allow all the parts of life to work synergistically in a highly interrelated whole. Life balance isn't an "either/or" but an "and."
The roles you play at home and work must be in concert...not requiring you to play different roles. Although there are distinct competencies attached to each role, it is to your advantage to create a powerful synergy among all roles.
This inter-role synergy saves incredible problem-solving time and energy. Understanding that you are accepting personal responsibility for your own life helps you transcend the either/or categorical thinking of others. Research tells us that the so-called feminine attributes (well exercised in parenting) are the critical capacities required to effectively manage in the cross-generational cultures of today's organizations.
In creating this synergistic world of work life and personal life takes some focused self-learning. However, self-learning is not doing it alone without a support system. Get yourself a mentor or coach to help you along your journey to effectively manage your time and live a well-balanced and passionate life.
Source: "Why Mars & Venus Collide" by John Gray, Ph.D. (HarperCollins)
Too Busy for Tough Decisions
The greatest barrier to tough decision-making is a lack of deep thinking.
In today's email/text message/cell phone/BlackBerry world, we're all so busy that we have no time or energy to think deeply about our real challenges. To compensate, we often consciously or subconsciously avoid making clear decisions, hoping to think more deeply about them later.
As a result, development efforts are scattershot. Energy is wasted. Effectiveness is diminished. Combine these factors, and you are left with stunningly poor execution. Most failures that are blamed on poor execution are, in truth, the result of poor leadership early in the process.
A lack of leadership creates a chain reaction of problems:
Product lines are broad but not deep in quality, advertising is unfocused and unconvincing, sales teams are unhappy and unproductive. When Domino's Pizza founder Tom Monaghan simplified his company's menu, he found his stores could offer consistent 30-minute deliveries--a persuasive selling point.
When focus is sharp at the top, great results follow.
Source: Doug Hall, author of the Jump Start Your Business Brain book series in BusinessWeek SmallBiz, Winter 2006Women Executives and Stress
When a woman executive feels rushed, overwhelmed, or pressured to do everything, her stress-reducing hormones are depleted, and her stress levels increase.
Taking part in testosterone-producing activities at work can diminish a woman's oxytocin levels. Oxytocin is a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland that seems to be involved in reproductive behavior in both men and women, and apparently triggers "caring" behavior. Oxytocin is also the hormone which allows contractions of the womb during pregnancy and labor. When women have plenty of energy, they take great pleasure from their responsibilities. Creating a lifestyle and diet that sustains unending energy by producing plenty of oxytocin is key to lower stress levels.
Oxytocin levels begin to rebuild when a woman feels seen, heard, and supported.
At the end of the day, the anticipation of a simple hug, conversation, and some affection can make a big difference. When she gets home, without an abundance of oxytocin, her roles as a partner, mother, friend and caregiver seem overwhelming. When she expects to have to do more without enough time or energy, her stress levels go up. Her experience is quite different from a man's.
When a man's day is done, he begins to relax. With more responsibilities and less time to recover his testosterone levels, he has less and less energy. Instead of coming home to a sanctuary of love and support, both men and women today are confronted with a new stress. Women need more of their partners' time and support, and men are running out of energy. Consequently, they both have less to give.
Success in the workplace is important for women, but it will never improve the quality of her relationships unless she also takes time to balance her job-related testosterone-producing activities with oxytocin-producing activities and attitudes. It is primarily the quality of her relationships that keeps a woman's stress levels down.
Source: "Why Mars & Venus Collide" by John Gray, Ph.DO.Performance Gender GapThe Harvard Business Review (February 2008) reports star Wall Street female analysts tend to maintain their status when they switch firms, but their male counterparts don't.
Boris Groysberg, a Harvard Business School professor who focuses on organizational behavior and management, spotted the performance gender gap while studying earlier research into the work of star stock analysts. The data reveals that top female analysts--defined by their rankings in lists published by Institutional Investor--were more likely than men to have built their success on relationships with clients and companies they covered.
By contrast, male analysts relied more on internal networks within their companies. The women also considered a wider variety of factors in assessing prospective employers. Male analysts tended to emphasize compensation in their decisions to switch firms.
The female analysts more successful transitions might be partly inadvertent--the women could have felt compelled to build external relationships because they had more difficulty than their male colleagues securing in-house mentors. Sexist attitudes could force them to work harder to protect their portability in the industry. And women generally look for organizations "that will welcome them as individuals," raising the odds they will be successful at the new firm.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, January 26, 2008