It’s time that we treat our time like it has value. This is the pervasive thought that repeatedly grips me as I interact with busy professionals, especially women, at my speaking engagements. The powerful women I tend to encounter are often beasts in business—hard-working go-getters—who, if you’re very still and look very close, wear a look of weariness behind their masks. If you engage them in conversation, they’ll start off excitedly discussing their newest deals, mentees, and partnerships. Within a matter of moments, though, if they feel safe, they’ll transition into their lack of sleep, desire to do something creative for fun, or how they’re too tired to fix dinner tonight.
Even though we have access to more tools and resources than ever before—we’re closing the pay gap with male counterparts, have access to unlimited technology, etc., American women are more unhappy than ever before. While we were busy fighting for equality, we forgot to give up some of our already-existing responsibilities. Sisters, we’ve been had!
Now we pay “work-life balance” gurus to postulate on how to prioritize our overflowing to-do lists better to get rid of the guilt and feelings of inadequacy that many of us feel in our shortcomings in both areas. I’m here to tell you that, much like Santa Clause and Big Foot, work-life balance does not exist. If there is more work to be done than hours in the day to do it, no amount of prioritizing can fix that. What we can do is push things off our plates, and technology will help!
A couple of months ago, I found myself in a position familiar to many professionals. I had finished a long and productive day of work. It was 6:30 p.m. I needed to go to the gym, send three hundred words to a client for an article, purchase home air filters, buy groceries, and prepare dinner. Obviously, I would have to push some things to the next day. Then, I realized I didn’t.
Leverage Technology to Multiply Yourself
I understood that I could get everything done on my to-do list, with a little help. I put on my workout clothes, then opened my phone to the Instacart app. In less than five minutes, I ordered groceries to be delivered to my home at 8:30 p.m. I jumped in my car and opened the Evernote app. As I drove to the gym, I used voice-to-text to hammer out the 300 words I agreed to send my client. When I parked at the gym, I emailed them to her. After I had completed my workout, I opened my phone again, this time I used the Postmates app. I sent one Postmate to RA Sushi to pick up a meal for me and my husband and another Postmate to Home Depot to pick up my filters. I came home, took a shower, and when I emerged, my food, groceries, and filters all arrived within ten minutes of each other! How’s that for efficiency?!
Put Technology Into Action
Becoming a master of technology for efficiency just takes practice and creativity. For instance, after a string of business trips in December that left me exhausted, I decided to test out ordering a Christmas tree, rather than groceries, from a local grocery store using a grocery app. Sure enough, a very tickled woman arrived at my door with a Nordmann Fir in her car!
Write down a list of all of the jobs you have—paid and unpaid—then decide which of those jobs you want to push off your plate. The next step is to identify technology that can do those jobs.
My observations of professionals, especially women undervaluing their time with menial tasks that they don’t even enjoy are what lead me to write my newest book, One Tech Action: An Efficiency Guide for Busy Non-Techie Professionals to Get More Done, Build Better Relationships, and Enjoy More Free Time! Read the book to discover how to use technology to:
Crystal Washington is a technology strategist, speaker, and the author of the books One Tech Action and The Social Media Why. She works with organizations that want to leverage technology for profits and productivity. She is hired by corporations and associations around the globe to provide keynotes, workshops, and webinars.