Women and the Productivity Trap

Women are capable of more than ever before. They can have it all (apparently). A fulfilling career and a full family and social life.

So why do we feel like such failures?
‘Mindfully’ juggling perfect kids’ parties with time critical work deliverables, whilst racing to and from after school activities, running the PTA and baking for the school fair, fitting in some volunteering, exercise, meditation and family social duties…it’s exhausting and relentless.
So, who creates all of this?
Women do.
Before we move on to a 10-point plan of better time management, we should ask ourselves why women are creating this trap for themselves. When working with clients on managing their lives (home and work), I encourage some introspection. Before you can manage your life differently, it’s important to get more intimately acquainted with yourself. What is driving your behaviour? It can take some time to get to the bottom of your drivers. Responses from clients usually include fear of failure, wanting to be seen to be doing the best they can, being unable to admit that it’s too much, constant self-comparison with others, feeling that because we’re told we can have it all, we should have nailed it by now. The result for many women is anxiety, stress, sleep problems and compulsive behaviour.
By examining how you relate to yourself, you can begin to redefine that relationship and find a more positive and healthy way of being. Once you better understand how you’re relating to yourself, you can begin to create new, healthier boundaries. Whilst it’s true that women often place more value on social interest activities than men (which usually means giving more and more of themselves), there are healthy ways to do this. This involves looking at how you respond to drains on your time, what you say no to and what you say yes to, and how you manage your limits effectively.
The truth is, women can’t have it all without being clear about their boundaries and creating the right support structures. Consider what you’re expecting of yourself, challenge yourself on whether it’s realistic and start to identify some new possibilities for a better balance. Start by visualising how you really want life to look and don’t assume it’s not possible. Your life is a reflection of your values, attitudes and behavioural patterns. It is possible to create change for yourself, but it takes some honesty and effort.

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