Feb 21

Stress Management and Work-life Balance: Why Setting Boundaries is Vital for Women In Business

Women are known for their ability to multi-task and perform many roles at one time. This is true within business where a woman may be performing myriad roles including administration and finance officer, director of sales and marketing, and customer service representative, to name but a few!

The same is true when the picture is broadened. How many of the following apply to you?

  • business owner / leader / manager / entrepreneur
  • homeowner / home maker / housekeeper
  • cook / chauffeur / washerwoman / tidier
  • wife / mother / friend / counselor / homework helper / playmate etc etc!

The Center for Women’s Business Research in the US has found that 82% of all women business owners are mothers.

With so many things on the go at once, work life balance can get out of kilter, stress levels can rise, and it can be difficult to create the space and time needed to work effectively on a business…. little surprise when you stop to think of all the other things you are doing alongside the business, but more crucially, what structures (or lack of) you have around your work time and space.

In addition, many business women work from home, opening up opportunity for the work / life boundary to become very blurred.

Women who work from home often report constant interruptions from multiple sources:

  • Friends calling in to visit because you “are at home”.
  • Tradespeople dropping by to fix something up (usually organised by your husband or partner).
  • You see a pile of laundry right next to your workspace and take the 5 minutes to pop the washing on,

And for women who go out to work, countless commitments and pulls on your time can lead to confusion and stress.

Given all that is going on it is apparent that if you don’t have firm structures in place to define what is work time and space and what is not, the distractions can become overwhelming. This leaves little head-space to get on to the task of efficiently and effectively running your business, or your life. The offshoots of this will include feelings of frustration, lack of work life balance, high levels of stress and ultimately less productivity and success in both business and personal life.

Take ACTION!!!

Take the time now to examine how you are currently operating to identify areas where you are already magnificent, and other areas where you could put more structure in place in order to create clearer work life balance and reduce your stress.

Your work space:

  • Do you have a clearly defined space in which you work?
  • Is this clearly for work only? What possible distractions are there in your workplace (e.g. can you see the laundry pile from your chair? Can you hear your home phone ringing?)
  • What could you do to more clearly separate your work space from your home space (if you work from home)

Your work hours:

  • Are you clear with yourself when you are working and when you are not?
  • Do you stick to these hours? Be really honest with yourself – are there times when you are in work time and are doing non work-related tasks?
  • Do you ever hop onto the computer outside of work hours, just to check an email or finish up a task?
  • How could you more clearly delineate your work and out of work times so that you create the time and therefore head-space in which to succeed both in business and in your personal life?

The reality is that if you are a female business owner or manager, it is likely that this is but one of the roles you fulfill on a day-to-day basis. We often aim to be everything to everybody, leaving us with little time to do anything to the standards we aspire to. Work life balance is often talked about but tricky to implement… but making conscious choices now will be a step in the right direction.

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