The Superwoman Fallacy

Morning!

I found an old article online which I thought I should share with you:

The superwoman fallacy what it really takes to be an academic and parent

Although this article is aimed at working in academia, it is also appropriate to business life too. The author, Melissa Terras, provides a refreshing account of managing work life and motherhood, and (contrary to popular belief) being good at both.

She emphasises that she is able to do this due to the flexibility of both her and her partner’s jobs, she often works from home and she can be flexible with her hours (sometimes working late in the evenings). This is very true for small business owners too, you decide your priorities and can manage your time wisely in order to meet deadlines; gone are the days of working in an office 9-5 Monday-Friday (huzzah!)

Having an open mind helps (as does a big cup of coffee and a tablet computer!) and realising it’s OK to take time out, in fact you will be more productive if you do; go back to the task when you are in a better frame of mind. 

This will be hard, especially if you are like me and used to routine, but it will be completely worth it when you (hopefully!) have a contented child and satisfied clients or academic supervisors!

I’ll revisit this post in a few months time to add my reflections…

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Time Spent Wisely

Today has been an odd day, filled with lots of procrastination but with golden moments in between. I somehow managed to write a coherent initial plan for my research study, read (and made useful notes) on interesting journal articles on agitation in dementia, whilst also spending mindless hours on Twitter, Facebook, WordPress and having an afternoon nap!

This is the complete opposite to my usual working pattern, starting at 7am and working solidly until hubby comes home at 4.30 (with lunch at some point in between ate at my computer).

Just as my body is starting to get used to lack of sleep at night, at moment I often wake up to go to the toilet, or to stretch my cramped leg, perhaps my brain is preparing itself for working in a different way.

I should think of these next few weeks as brain training! Once the baby is here gone will be the days of working 9 hours without disruption, and I therefore need to adapt to this change.

Thinking about this, I’ve realised that if I do work in small chunks then the time I spend on my PhD needs to be of a high quality. This takes me back to my post of a few weeks back – 500 words a day – where you aim to write 500 words a day on your research. Perhaps this sort of small target is what I should set myself, during this time my phone should be set to silent, and social media definitely banned. That way I can feel that my time is being spent wisely and I am moving forward with my research.

Has anyone else set themselves small targets like this? I would be interested to hear your suggestions.

I shall leave you with a picture of my spaniel, Bertie, he is rubbish at motivating me to do work as he is always asleep!

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Afternoon Naps…my Saviour!

"Business Lady Sleeping On Table"

“Business Lady Sleeping On Table”

After my post yesterday about working on the sofa, I discovered that I am more productive when I feel comfortable (who’d have thunk it!) and so today has spent sitting on the sofa reading journal articles on my ipad, feeling very smug with how much work I am managing to get done!

Over the past few days I have discovered two things about myself: that I can work on the sofa without my brain switching off, and two that I work so much better when I have an afternoon nap. This one has taken me a long time to get my head around. As I am into my third trimester I feel extremely tired in the afternoons (more so than normal) and as such my work rate is minimal after lunch. However, I have started getting into a habit of having an afternoon nap whilst listening to Katherine Graves’ Colour and Calmness track, and I must say I feel so much better afterwards; I become more productive with work, and it also means I can spend quality time with hubby in the evenings without nodding off after dinner!

I think this comes back to the fact that we need to realise it’s OK to stop, take a break and go back to your work later, you will thank yourself for that power nap. Of course this isn’t always possible if you are not working from home or if you have a small child (although I will be taking the advice of sleeping when baby sleeps!) however, I’m sure just taking a small break from routine can make you more produce in the long run.

Well, as my eyelids are getting heavy I’d better hop foot it to my next appointment – power nap!

Hope you have a lovely weekend.

Rosie x

 

 

Productivity vs Comfort

girl with laptop

I am writing this whilst sat on the sofa (with two very sleepy spaniels either side of me). This new working space has been created as I woke up with terrible back ache and sitting at my usual desk isn’t helping no matter how I arrange cushions behind me. The most comfortable place to sit is on a huge gym ball I am using, but I feel trying to sit on this whilst balancing my laptop on my lap may be a bit risky!

I have found that I feel guilty for doing work whilst sat on the sofa; my productivity has gone down slightly as my body seems to be in relaxed mode! Although I will be more productive sat here than in pain at my desk…

It it just me that feels like this? How do other women cope working from home (or working in general) whilst in their third trimester? I have been very good and not sat outside enjoying the sun (as my productivity would be zilch!)

Likewise if you have any tips for relieving back pain let me know!

I know that I will want to plough on through with work today, but I must remind myself to listen to my body and take regular breaks. Our little girl is currently kicking away, perhaps she is trying to tell me to get on with it and stop procrastinating!

Have a good day.

Rosie x

Tips for Starting a Business

This morning has been spent organising all of my journal articles into Endnote, and searching databases for new references to add, this has been no easy task! As I sit waiting for Endnote to search over 1,000 references for their full texts I have been performing my usual mid-day ritual, trawling twitter of interesting articles.

I came across a really interesting and well written article by Alex Ritchie on taking the plunge into self employment http://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/guest_posts/2123259-Guest-post-Top-6-tips-for-starting-your-own-business?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=tweet&utm_campaign=blog%20guest%20post%20starting%20a%20business

I completely agree with her points, especially being flexible and making the most of networking. Being self employed can be quite lonely at first (I can imagine even more so if you have a small child) and so networks (both online and offline) can be a god-send. I don’t think my business could have taken off in the way it has without the advice and guidance from business mentors, other industry professionals and of course the support of my husband, family and friends.

Being self-employed can be risky and a huge change from the stability of employment; however, I agree with Alex, it can also give you more control of your future, it’s really what you make of it.

I’d love to hear from other people (mums and dads) juggling running their business and being a parent, do you have any tips for people starting a business or becoming a parent for the first time?

Hope it is lovely and sunny wherever you are!

Rosie x

P.S thought you would like this very unrealistic picture of self employment, if only it were like this!

Wish self employment was like this!

Wish self employment was like this!

A week of ‘lasts’ before I start my new chapter

Happy Friday, where does the time go?!!

This week has been a bit emotional, finishing working with some lovely clients before I go on maternity leave. I finished working in two hospitals this week, and yesterday I had such a lovely last day at one hospital, I even had one bay of male patients all singing together; it was fantastic and makes me realise I’m going to miss this sort of interaction whilst I’m off.

However, the plus is that I am finishing early so that I can dedicate some much needed time to my PhD and to running my business. It is a great feeling to know that over the next 3 months (if baby doesn’t come early!) I can work on both ventures over 4 days per week; something I haven’t managed to do since starting my business 5 years ago.

At times I may feel insecure not having the stability of knowing I have regular work coming in each week (and the financial benefits that goes with this), but the satisfaction of having the freedom to focus on my studies and business goals will be fantastic. So here’s to next week and the beginning of my new chapter!

Rosie x

 

Non alcoholic of course!

Non alcoholic of course!

 

Letting yourself stop before you can move forward

Morning!

I hope that you all had a good weekend; I was busy working yesterday and didn’t get a chance to blog. We had a great weekend involving dog walks, a friend’s 50th birthday party, a local country fair, and lots of sunshine, which meant we could have a mammoth wash of baby clothes!

Lately I have been fretting over prioritising my ever growing to do list, should I dedicate whole days to running my business and working on my PhD or should I split my days so that the mornings (which is when I work best) are dedicated to my PhD writing, and the afternoon’s are dedicated to more administration based tasks for my company. I feel I am often pulled in lots of directions; when I am writing my literature review for my PhD I am thinking about the telephone calls I need to make or emails I need to respond to for my company, and vice versa. This is definitely a catch 22!

How have you found juggling various commitments? Of course I am concious that this will all turn upside down once the baby is here, but I feel I need to start some sort of a routine now!

I am going to take a leaf out of my pregnancy yoga classes, we always begin by allowing ourselves to stop, step back from our busy lives and focus on our breathing (mainly on the important out breath). By doing this we are able to slow down and focus on ourselves and our baby before preparing our body to engage previously unused muscles (this is the part when I feel a bit like a weeble, my balance is terrible at the moment!)

Adapting this principle to a work environment I am going to take a step back, breathe, and allow myself to become open to working in different ways. I am yet to decide how to manage tasks for both the business and my PhD, perhaps instead of daily tasks I should set weekly ones and see on a daily basis which tasks I feel I should focus on (and ignore the voice reminding me of the rest of the items on my list).

For now, I will take a step back, have a nice cup of coffee (my one and only of the day!) and catch up on everyone’s blog posts, before starting the day again.

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Rosie x