Can You Reduce Your Roles by 50?

Posted April 23, 2013 by Marcy Twete in Life After Five

I’m usually not a fan of anything that purports “work-life balance.” My personal belief is that the correct term is “integration” rather than balance. But that’s another story. Because, in any case, I’m glad I clicked on this recent article from Project Event called “Five Ways to Achieve Work-Life Balance.

Sure, there were some tidbits I’d though of, but this gem was brand new to me. It really woke me up.

Reduce your roles by 50%. Have you thought about the many roles you play? You may be the entrepreneur, small business employer, spouse, parent, caretaker, volunteer, landscaper, painter, personal shopper, organizer, schedule coordinator, bookkeeper – the list goes on and on. Each requires time and effort. Have you considered the roles you selected and agree to versus the ones that unknowingly crept into your life? Decide which roles are essential to your values and goals and do away with the rest.

For me, as it is with any woman in the world, when I start to list the roles I play, it becomes pretty daunting. As an entrepreneur, in addition to being CEO, I’m also head of technology and all things “why doesn’t our internet work,” office cleaning lady, grocery buyer, and much more. So I’m taking Jackie Nagel’s advice here and following this step by step process:

How to Reduce Your Roles by 50%

  1. Make that daunting list. What are all the roles you play? Include wife, mother, boss, etc. and keep going until it’s done. Even if you have 100+ roles, wear 100+ hats in your life, write them all down.
  2. Highlight those that are completely necessary and can never be eliminated. If you’re a woman, a daughter, a mother, you’re always going to be those things. They can’t get reduced.
  3. Immediately cross out those you don’t need to be doing and no one needs to be doing. For instance, if somewhere on your list, there’s “
    cheerleader for a friend who never gives back to you,” reduce it! It’s a role that can be reduced, and no one else needs to do it when you’re done.
  4. Now, go to the harder reductions. Where are there places you can reduce and give to someone else? If one of your roles in “cleaning lady,” how can you start to offload that work to someone else. If you can’t afford to hire someone, maybe your husband or your kids need to start picking up the slack. What are those roles you can reduce by getting someone to be your helper?
  5. Keep going! Reduce, reduce, reduce. And ask yourself with every new role you take on, “Is this a role I need to play?”

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."