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A couple of weeks back, I talked about the secret to having it all; how we, as women, can have it all at work and in our personal lives. The response to this piece was overwhelming. People reached out to tell us about what having it all meant to them and where their personal journeys had taken them. We then took your feedback and combined it with the latest research to identify ways employers can create a culture of empowerment, and you responded to this too.
All this got me thinking about how each of us defines our “all” and one of the most powerful lessons I learned from Hurricane Harvey. In the span of 12 hours, I lost my house, my business, and three cars. It forced me to think quickly about what’s most important, an exercise I think everyone should try.
Ask yourself: “What would I take and what would I leave behind? What do I have right now that I know I could live without?”
You CAN be happier and accomplish the same results with less.
While we were getting our home set up again after Harvey, my family and I stayed in an apartment. We didn’t have all the things we had accumulated over the years, and we would often reach for something only to realize we no longer had it.
One day, my daughter Ally and I were making a pizza when she declared that our pizza cutter was missing.
“I know where it is,” she slyly grinned.
“Where?” I asked.
“It’s in the Gulf of Mexico,” she laughed.
While I don’t like the idea of contributing to pollution and waste, Ally had a point. This thing that we had accumulated, that we felt we needed, was gone, but we were ok without it. We went through this process repeatedly with different items for months. However, as cathartic and crazy as it was, I was happier with simplified life after Harvey.
We CAN have it all at work with less too.
Having it all at work, or anywhere else for that matter, doesn’t mean we have to have more. It just means we meet our needs and let go of the excess things that aren’t really necessary…
- Go paperless (or close to it). The average office worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper per year. If all the paper used for businesses was stacked, it would reach halfway to the moon in a year. With cloud-based tech and tons of devices to choose from, it’s easy to cut back on paper.
- Do less. As much as I believe in the concept of leaning in, you shouldn’t be doing it all. Sometimes, it’s good to lean out too. Delegation and outsourcing are great options as well.
- Write less. Test yourself to see if you can keep emails quick and set a limit, such as five lines or 200 words. If a message is going back-and-forth repeatedly, pick up the phone instead.
- Meet less. Only hold them when absolutely necessary and try to keep them to ten minutes or less.
- Work less. Research shows that taking short breaks throughout the day can boost your productivity, increase motivation, enhance creativity, and improve your memory. Similar benefits are seen with vacations too.
- Waste less. In our fast-paced world, we consume single-use items at breakneck speeds; water bottles, coffee pods, coffee cups, batteries. The list is endless. Not only does this overwhelm landfills, but it doesn’t really save us time or money.
These are just a few of the ways you can have it all at work with less. What have you cut, dropped, or simplified at work that ultimately contributed to your success or happiness?