Before you burn yourself out trying to balance work and family, take a look at these time-saving tech options that every modern working woman should have at her disposal
We all know the feeling. You wake up before the sun rises, check your emails before you’ve even had time to wipe the sleep from your eyes, berate yourself for sending the kids to school with tuck money for the third day in a row, and arrive late for work… again.
With 44% of the South African workforce being women, the need for external help increases with each new contract signed or newborn entering the family.
Before you throw in the towel and declare that balance is truly impossible, take a look at these time-saving tech options that every modern working woman should have at her disposal:
Set clear, colour-coded, reinforced boundaries
Whether you’re returning to your previous job after maternity leave, or signing on for a new one, it is important to let your managers know where you’re at from the start.
The higher powers at work will need to be informed that you are a mother; one who needs to transport her child to and from school, for example. Setting clear boundaries early on will allow you a little wiggle room, although sometimes it takes a bit more than a conversation.
“I’ve found that blocking out my Outlook diary when I’m away from my desk doing the afternoon school run, really reinforces my boundaries with my employer,” says Emilia Brooks, Operations Director at a Jo’burg-based agency. “For example, when my boss tries to schedule a 3pm meeting with me, he sees the time is marked out clearly in a different colour that I’m fetching my kids from school and when I’ll be back online and available to chat. It just eliminates any risk of assumption or grey areas.”
Learn to delegate – and use services like online grocery shopping
You may feel as if no one else can do your job, and that you can do certain tasks better than others. Then there’s the old mindset that, “It’ll go quicker if I just do it myself.” Time to snap out of that way of thinking!
Relinquishing control, while tough, means that soon others will be just as capable to pick up your work, should you have family obligations
This doesn’t stop at work, says mom-of-two Angie Cooke, from Greenside. “My career has always been of utmost importance to me, long before I became a mother. But of course, when my first child was born, I needed to look at ways of maximising my time with him, so I could still pay my job the attention it needed. I looked at ways to make my days longer, investigated doing groceries online with Pick n Pay and Woolies and found it saved me a good 1.5 hours per week.
“I also spoke with my family helper and negotiated a fee with her to take care of cooking dinner and weighed it up against the time it would save me. I figured that it was roughly two hours per night that I’d get back to spend with my son, bathing him and talking about his day. That as opposed to juggling this with making a lasagne only to realise we’ve run out of canned tomatoes and yet another trip to the shops was needed!”
Find a tech sidekick that does it all
Juggling life and work is hard enough. The last thing you need is a laptop that adds to your stress. The ASUS ZenBook is super-thin and light, ideal for popping directly into your handbag and saving you from having to lug around an additional laptop bag.
This reliable, high definition, touchscreen PC boxes way above its weight category, and is a great alternative to other renowned brands we can’t always afford. Also, it comes in rose gold, gold or silver – nothing like matching your tech accessories to your personal style to make you feel like you have it all together!
Embrace the off or on button – you choose!
Like the meme says, “Parenting is a constant battle between going to bed to catch up on sleep or staying awake to finally get some alone time.” Whether you choose to rule out Netflix in the bedroom or binge watch The Letdown until the early hours of the morning, do it! And if you still can’t relish in the nothingness, try out one of these meditation apps. Taking those few minutes to find your Zen can improve the symptoms of anxiety, depression or insomnia, and even reduce blood pressure.
‘Headspace’: “My husband and I actually listen to this guided mediation app together, right before bed. It’s great for beginners or sceptics with 10 free sessions that are really quick, which is so welcome, as it doesn’t eat into our night at all,” say 30-year-old Skye Harris of Bryanston.
‘Calm’: Calm is one of our favourites due to its variety. Not only does it offer three- to 25-minute meditation sessions but includes sleepy stories and different white noise, soothing sound options that will quite literally, make you sleep like a baby!
Say ‘Goodbye’ to social media BS and ‘Hello!’ to productivity
Don’t compare yourself to others but if you must, remember to compare Lo-Fi filter to Lo-Fi filter on Insta. Get off the ‘Gram and onto the new Moleskin productivity app that everyone is talking about, ‘Actions’.
Actions’ minimalist aesthetic design and ease of use is basically like your beautiful physical Moleskin but electronic and editable, with alerts. Added bonus, it also syncs with your Moleskin calendar, which is Siri voice controlled! Voila!
Now we don’t expect you to win the title of ‘Working Mom of the Year’. We do, however, believe that implementing a few of these easily accessible technologies into your daily routine will ease things in the long run!