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Working Smarter—

There has been a lot of coverage about Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post, and her concept of The Third Metric. Money and power are the first two metrics—the essentials in the traditional work environment.

What women may bring to the mix, and these elements comprise the Third Metric and are deliberately loosely defined—says Huffington, are wisdom, wonder, and the concepts of giving and well-being. 

One of the key points made at a Toronto talk before a large group of women was that we don't need to mimic the typically accepted work ethic that one needs to work 24/7 and compete diligently, and for very long hours, to succeed. This was established by men—and when it was established, the domestic roles of men and women tended to be viewed differently.Men could fit in long hours on the job more easily.

But we don't have to follow this tradition. We do not need to devote good chunks of our lives to getting ahead at work in the same old way, but can choose a different life and work balance. This is because we operate differently and bring different things to the table. We can take the time to meet our own goals and be supportive to others—friends and family, if we wish—and still pursue success. What worked in an old-fashioned and traditional workplace--may not be the best choice for now. Women are more and more often crafting new definitions and redefining success and how to measure and achieve it on our terms—whether we work for others or ourselves.

SHORTEN YOUR TO DO LIST

Continuously adding more items to your To Do lists isn't the route to well being. You don't have to follow through on every idle plan or half-baked project—you don't have to learn Spanish or how to ski or how to analyze an annual report. Arianna's advice is to assess our tasks and then drop them if they're not that important to you personally or professionally. This frees time and leaves more energy for what is most important to you. You can say no. Perhaps you have to learn to say no.

The key word here is YOU. We don't like to think of ourselves as quitters. So we go on and on, long after we've lost interest. Or we may be working so much overtime because the work is there and we don't like to say no that life has lost its pleasure. We tend to forget that “life is not a dress rehearsal.” A weekend spent staring at a computer screen instead of with your friends or family—is a weekend that's gone forever.

SAY NO AND NOT NO BECAUSE...

Another comment that will probably stick in many memories from the talk I heard was the comment by Arianna H. that NO is a sentence. Women tend to say, “No, because...” 

Men rarely do.  The strong take home message that saying no should be enough for not adding to your To Do List is a keeper. Stop making excuses or thinking up reasons. No is sufficient.  However high we may have advanced career-wise, many of us still say, “No, because..., as in, No, I can't finish that project at home tonight because the computer is on the fritz or my husband and the kids all have the flu...” Try just saying no.

Working smarter and doing less, but what counts to you, instead of harder or longer or more may be the best route to the top.

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