While perusing the Being Boss Facebook page, I stumbled across a discussion about the unique stressors that women in business face. Though men have taken on more responsibilities in relationships, families, and home maintenance, the majority of the weight still falls on the shoulders of women.
As we embrace our roles as titans of enterprise, as entrepreneurs and trendsetters, it’s time to recognize what our male counterparts figured out a long time ago: the most effective people do not attempt to do it all.
If we see professional help as an unreasonable expense, we don’t really understand the link between productivity and profitability. In particular among entrepreneurs, each hour of our day has value. The time that we spend checking emails, balancing checkbooks, and cleaning is time that we could be committing to more valuable activities – creative work or spending quality time with our friends and families.
Investing in a few “splurges” isn’t a selfish or wasteful act; it’s CEO decision-making. So where will you reap the greatest ROI?
Invest in your household
Women spend twice as much time as men cooking and cleaning and four times as much time doing laundry even with trends towards greater household equality. What’s the impact of this exertion on our businesses and our lives?
In general, clutter contributes to feelings of guilt and loss of productivity. The excessive stimuli overwhelms us and makes it difficult to focus on more creative, profitable tasks. In relationships, an unfair division of labor is second only to money stress in leading causes of divorce.
Hiring a professional to come to your house just twice a month takes pressure off of you while creating a clean, tidy environment to spend quality time with your family and even get some work done at home.
Invest in childcare
Parenting takes a toll on both men and women, but again, women often bear the heavier load of responsibilities – from keeping children fed and cleaned to setting up appointments and staying home when the inevitable cold sets in.
In 6 out of 10 households, mothers handle most of the childcare management, and 41% of working moms say that taking care of the kids makes moving their careers forward more difficult. Only 20% of fathers feel that same pressure. This constant juggling act leads 86% of working mothers to feel perpetually rushed and unnecessarily stressed. It’s not hard to imagine the toll that this takes on the family as a whole.
Childcare can take a bite out of your income, but it can also give you the leverage that you need to advance professionally. Ultimately, an invest now can mean a greater income down the line. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll be able to really enjoy the time that you spend with your family when they don’t feel like another chore on your already full to do list.
Invest in a professional accountant
Despite all the old stereotypes that paint women as terrible money managers, 75% of all family financial planning is undertaken by women, and 90% of the extraneous money management – from charitable giving to saving for retirement – is left for women to manage. The problem of money is not only the leading cause of divorce, but money stress doubles women’s risk of heart attack.
Hire an accountant. This isn’t just good for you, it’s good for your bank account. Whereas amateur money managers are often simply doing the best we can to keep accounts balanced and bills paid, professional accountants know all the tips and tricks for stretching, saving, and growing finances. This is a no brainer.
Invest in assistance
If you haven’t had a chance to read Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Work Week, make time. One of the most valuable lessons he teaches is the benefit of outsourcing the work that anyone else could do. Personal errands and trivial busy work will destroy your productivity, and any loss of productivity is a loss of profitability.
Whether you invest in time-saving tech tools or in a virtual assistant, outsourcing unskilled work can recoup three months of regained productivity. That’s three months that you could spend investing in growing your business or in enjoying other aspects of your life.
Invest in you well-being
In 2013, 42% of working Americans took no vacation. What’s the toll on our well-being? We lose quality time with our spouses and children. We lose much-needed rest and relaxation. Responsibilities, chores, and conflicts become never-ending, uphill battles.
You need rest. You need time with your loved ones. You need a break. You need inspiration. You cannot get those things if you’re chained to your desk. Taking time for your own well-being is not a waste of time or of money.
It’s an investment. It’s an investment in the relationships that provide a support net for you. It’s an investment in your health, which is critical to your work ethic. It’s an investment in your happiness, which shouldn’t require any justification at all.