(By Margit Takacs) We are living in a digital world. Digitalisation, artificial intelligence, Future of Work 4.0 and many other terminologies are part of our everyday dialogs with friends and family. But we may wonder at times what it really means to us: how can we stay resilient in the midst of all these changes? Being resilient is all about being able to bounce back despite challenges and finding the sources of energy to stay strong, yet flexible.
Many of us grew up with digital gadgets as small kids, teenagers or young professionals, and whilst we remain admiring the new developments in the world out there, we know we need to stay ahead of the curve or at least with it when it comes to staying competent as working mothers. Being digital has so many advantages, yet we also need to prepare to find the right balance to be in the “real” world, too. Through the My Career & Child initiative, as like-minded parents with a desire to succeed both at home and at work, we often talk about how to find that balance.
As a mother of a young child who works as an independent consultant, I have begun to explore ways to find that balance. I am far from being an expert but I believe we can do a few things to stay resilient in the midst of all and succeed as mothers and working professionals.
- Take back the control over your time
Many of us want to be connected 24/7. It is an odd yet real and wide-spread addiction. We may check our phones first thing in the morning and last thing in the evening, and several times during the day to see if someone has thought of us, if we get a new request from our bosses or stakeholders, if we get a new impulse about what is going on in the world. We have so many “reasons” to do so! In the age of digital distraction, there is a lot of information out there. Our attention is divided between what we have here and now with our families and with our work, and what is happening far-far away, wherever and with whomever in the world.
Remove or pause all notifications, including emails so that the little blinking light is not getting you distracted all the time. Set a time when you check your phone or computer during the day and otherwise focus on what you do and with whom you are, shall that be your family or your colleagues or clients. Try it for a few days or for a week and see how each message can wait a couple of hours longer, nothing is really that urgent. We are addicted, myself truly included, to the instant gratification of answering a message or email but let’s resist it a little better! I am certain that we will see how both physically and mentally we will feel with more energy.
Let’s take back the control over our time from your digital gadgets.
- Keep your relationships human
Through emails and social media, within moments we can “mass-communicate”. But is it really how we want to be talked to? How could we expect others to be interested in what we say and even to act upon any requests we put forward? Let’s admit it: we may find it frustrating that we have fewer responses than we expect, we have less clients on the horizon, etc. Nothing will replace how it feels to have chemistry with someone – that sympathy that develops between people when they get to know each other; trust each other and start working together. Whilst it is so easy to “drop a virtual note”, if we rely too much on this form of communicating because we live in a digital world, we rather sooner than later will experience the roadblocks created by the lack of a human touch.
Let’s build on the online media to share our thoughts but keep our relationships human by picking up the phone, asking people for a cuppa and discussion. People who truly matter: our loved ones, our role models, our stakeholders, etc. If distance does not allow it, we can do a virtual cuppa – yes, through a virtual platform but still one-on-one. It makes a whole lot of difference!
Our kids will notice this and whilst many of their relationships will naturally get stronger in the online world, they will see it can work in other ways and it will open up their horizons. And by keeping our relationships more human we will certainly refuel our emotional energy.
- Be the change you want to see in the world
Quoting Gandhi’s invitation to the world to role model the changes we aspire for, let’s think about where to start: with ourselves! As working mothers, we want to excel at home and at work. On the internet we find so many useful resources and references to make our lives easier, e.g. parenting tips, recipes, thoughtful articles about the topics we love and may work with. It is wonderful! Just watch out for the distractors, those little updates from the apps and all. Our mental energy will soon decline, we may even find that our purpose gets lost amongst all the things we want to do or wish to do one day. Just doing 10-15 minutes of meditation in the morning and/or in the evening can help us reconnect with what matters in life the most and regain the big picture view overall.
Let’s find also “analog” ways to relax, for example through journaling or meditation so we can really connect with ourselves and our purpose. Be online as much as you believe others around you, including your kids, should be online.
Online temptations are difficult to resist. We know that. Finding the first step and then the second and the third is what we need to do. And we can do it together! Through the My Career & Child online community as well as our Leading Women Forum & Workshop on 3 May 2019 you can come and think together with like-minded women about where and how to start with this and many other important topics! Come and register at https://mycareerandchild.com!