You don’t have to do it all. As a matter of fact you shouldn’t be doing it all. But as busy, corporate moms we think can handle it. After all, we’re handling million dollar accounts so surely we can still be the powerhouse at work, and a rockstar mom, doting wife, and committed volunteer all while looking fabulous doing it. We pride ourselves on this kinda stuff right? “Look at me, look at how busy I am”. Somehow we equate busyness with importance or status; the busier we are, the more important or the higher the status. We use our email inbox to justify our value, but it’s really a holding place for all the things we want to respond to, but don’t actually have the time to respond to.
Have you ever created a folder in your email just to house all the read emails, so your email inbox can start fresh? I did…I called it “old inbox”. I originally told myself I would go through the “old inbox” a few times per week, but that didn’t happen. One day I just got rid of the “old inbox” folder and all the emails with it! I deleted the folder, which meant I deleted the emails, and instead of going into panic mode, I relaxed instantly. It was actually freeing to delete emails…Who knew?
And now it’s your turn to hit delete and clear your inbox.
You don’t have to be as radical as me and delete them all, but what can you give away to someone else thereby releasing yourself from this need to do it all and be the overachiever?
You see I use your email inbox as a reference because your email inbox is a reflection of more than just work you need to do. It can represent indecision, lack of clarity, and procrastination. It can bring to life your inability to prioritize important tasks and it can highlight your distractions. It can show just how overwhelmed you really are and most importantly, it can shine a light on your inability to say no.
Yes! Amazing I can tell all that just from looking at your email inbox!
So now that you’re caught, what you can you do about it? There are 3 practices I recommend for busy corporate moms who are overwhelmed, and not willing to admit it.
We have a hard time with this for two reasons. One, we think no one can do what we can do and two, we feel like we don’t have time to explain to someone else what the heck to do. “By then I could have just done it myself, right?” You know you say that! This is so wrong and I too was guilty of it for many years. Now for some of my corporate mom friends who also are trying to start their own businesses along with all the other stuff, there’s a third block to delegation that comes up…It’s “I can’t afford it!” It may sound counterintuitive to think you need to spend money to make money, but this is vital. And once you give it away, let it go!
2. Ask for help from your spouse or significant other
Now this is a hot topic and I’ve got a lot more to say here so I will do a separate blog post on this, but for now let’s keep it simple. It is highly likely you won’t get help if you don’t ask for it. Now you may have to ask more than once and you might have to give explicit instructions but ask and ye shall receive. We get caught up in our #bossmom mode and think we got this. And maybe on the surface you do, but trust me, let daddy watch the kids while you recharge and reconnect to your work, your passions, and your side hustle.
3. Ask your employer for help
Now hold on, I know that look, but I’m serious. This is a viable option. Really assess those projects that require your support versus the ones that don’t. Discuss with the powers that be your rationale and create a plan that doesn’t involve you micromanaging it. Is this an opportunity to mentor someone so you build team capacity? Building team capacity increases the productivity of the organization and allows you to focus on the more critical aspects of your work.
Try any one of the three above and tell me how it works out. And take a close look at your inbox and see if it reflects any of what we discussed above. The more you let go of this idea that you have to do everything, the happier and more fulfilled you will be. I had a hard time with delegating for quite a long time. But I’ve let go of that and recently added another person to my team. Now just the potential for decreasing my workload alone is enough to inspire me to release my need to overachieve!