In a world that is designed for men, by men, it is not surprising that women find it hard to gain respect and accomplish their goals. But overworking only hinders the probability of achieving these ambitions. A study conducted by the University of Montreal states that women face higher burnout rates than men when it comes to work-related matters. After all, women are expected to bear more domestic duties compared to men. Hence, striking a work-life balance is fundamental for a woman to succeed professionally.
However, very often, women find it difficult to say no when it comes to work-related matters. Some are eager to establish themselves in the office space– taking on more work in hopes of a chance to be recognized. Others may find it simply too difficult to reject a colleague’s request, due to the fear of being perceived as ruthless or bossy. Whatever the reason, studies have shown that women who don’t say ‘no’ tend to have higher likelihood of stress, anxiety, dependency issues, sleep disruption, and other health issues.
While men are encouraged to say ‘no’ and assert themselves, women are taught to appease. However, saying ‘no’ as a woman is a very important and imperative act. Here are a few to keep in mind in this regard:
Setting boundaries is helpful in creatign a healthy balance when structuring an overwhelming schedule, instead of letting it turn into a 24/7 job. For instance, set aside time for passions and/or family responsibilities– a period of time for when colleagues know you will be unavailable. Communicating these boundaries with bosses, colleagues, and clients will allow them to be more perceptive about your time and minimize the pressure to work overtime.
Know the duties of your job
Understanding your job description and responsibilities can allow for a better assessment of whether a task is worth your time, and if it needs your expertise in order to be completed. Knowing the responsibilities of a job gives you the ability to assess what skills and knowledge you can bring to the table, therefore weighing whether you are the right fit for the job. However, it is important to not say No to any and everything that doesn’t exactly fit the job description, as you could pass up on new and exciting opportunities.
Add a period for busywork to your calendar
Busywork is a constant yet unavoidable group of activities everyone faces in the office. Allotting a time period in your calendar for when people can freely approach you regarding such matters helps reduce the extra time spent talking to people about menial tasks and spreading yourself thin. Communicating this period of time to your colleagues can provide clarity and help prioritize tasks, as well as optimize the amount of time dedicated to completing them.
Explain why you cannot do a certain task
Now it’s not all bad to be the person people come to for help, especially when the tasks are of a high caliber. Being the person people resort to for help and expertise may have its perks, but by saying ‘no’ you should not become the unapproachable colleague, who is not a team player. When rejecting an offer, it is important to explain why you are unable to it. This explanation becomes crucial because it allows your boss or colleague to understand your reason, and react proactively.
Acknowledging the value of one’s time is imperative for women to move forward and establish themselves in the workplace. Through acquiring certain habits and attaining a headstrong mindset, women can hope to enjoy their jobs more, as well as lead healthy, productive lives.
(Edited by Athira Nair)