Reset Your Mind, Reclaim Your Time

Individuals can reset the way they think about work and life to reclaim their time.

When PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi was told she was getting the top spot, she went home around 10 p.m., early for her, to share the news with her family. The newly minted top dog was met with a demand from her mother to go out and buy milk—and she obeyed. Nooyi recently shared this story during her talk at the Aspen Institute, which focused on the pressures of balancing work and family.

The pressure to work more hours and to work faster is real for both women and men, but many working women with demanding jobs add to the pressure by thinking they have to do it all themselves.

The Families and Work Institute, a nonpartisan research-to-action institute, has been studying the changing nature of family life and work for 25 years. We have found that the demands of work and home have been rising. More than 70 percent of both men and women say that they have to work very fast, and roughly 90 percent say that they have to work very hard, according to our research. But our research also shows that women tend to take on much of the responsibility on the homefront as well, for a whole host of reasons.

In a study of how women spend their time, we found that 45 percent of women with spouses who have equal or higher household standards still don’t relinquish to their spouses control over organizing or decluttering!

It doesn’t have to be this way. Organizations need to reinvent work so it reflects the realities of people’s lives and the way we work today. At the same time, individuals can reset the way they think about work and life to reclaim their time without sacrificing performance. Our research shows that there are five mind-sets that make a difference.

Five Mind-sets That Matter

1. Priorities, not balance
Balance is static, but life is not, so accept that every day is different, and anchor your day-to-day in your overall priorities.

2. Dual-centric, not work-centric

Don’t put work before everything else all the time. Our research shows that executives who prioritize work some of the time and personal life some of the time—what we call being dual-centric—are less stressed, have an easier time managing work and personal demands, have advanced as high or higher than those who are work-centric, and feel more successful in their home lives.

3. Better, not perfect
Expecting perfection limits your ability to ask for help, so set expectations that allow for getting better and you will grow.

4. Team, not individual

Going it alone limits your options, so get the whole team to work it out together. That means the team at home as well as the team at work.

5. Rest and recover, not flat-out
Making decisions in a constant time bind affects performance, so step away before diving in.
Adopting these five mind-sets should ease your time crunch and improve your performance. Next issue, I’ll share tips from executive women on how to implement them. DW
Anne Weisberg is senior vice president at the Families and Work Institute and a recognized thought leader who has designed innovative practices to build effective, inclusive work 
environments.

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