This is my first blog upon returning from maternity leave with my second child, so what is on my mind you may ask? Well, everything all at once.
I am the Selling Branch Manager of the Baltimore office here at Profiles. We are a specialized digital recruitment firm, focused on matching a variety of enterprise and mid-size clients with the most talented professionals in their field.
I am also, the wife of a talented technical theater professional, and the mother of an energetic, precious 3.5 year old and chatty, bright-eyed 4 month old baby.
I feel my best when I get a good work-out in at least a few times a week, whether that is spin, Bikram Yoga, or Zumba—I have to push to get back to my pre-pregnancy self.
I know my working-mother lifestyle is nothing particularly unique, especially considering that there are now a record number of households, 40% to be exact, where the mother is the primary breadwinner. Nonetheless, this role comes with high-levels of stress to ensure everyone – from boss to client and husband to child—get what they need from me when they need it—and somewhere in there that I have something left over for myself.
So while my observations and actions may not be as prolific as Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg, or as far-reaching in their impact as Yahoo’s CEO Marissa Mayer, I am sure they are more similar to millions of working women, or should I say working parents.
Despite what you may be thinking, the ability to multi-task is actually considered counterproductive to having a work/life balance or a feeling of successful accomplishment in any area of your life. The ability to focus in on one task/problem/project/interaction will allow you to better complete that task, feel as though you have successfully completed your project, or that you have had a meaningful interaction with your co-worker or child.
I am certainly not alone in my skepticism of “multi-tasking,” renowned Stanford Psychologist and author Clifford Nass, has spent part of his career researching the cognitive and psychological effects of multi-tasking. According to Nass, you are not saving time multi-tasking you are wasting it, and you may be missing the answer to your problem through lack of focus.
So what I strive for everyday (doing better on some days than other) is to have a clear plan of action for each day and to stay focused in that action, such as: connect with 5 clients; meet with a team member to follow-up on an issue; write my blog; read 3 stories to my son at bedtime. When done with focus and intention, the results are better and you will feel more successful in your day as you fall into bed at 1am.
Where things tend to fall-apart and stress starts to creep in is when you are trying to “multi-task” in any or all of these areas such as: responding to a client request while trying to make dinner for your family, working on a proposal while constantly checking email or your social networks; checking email while meeting with a co-worker, etc. When 2 or more tasks are trying to be completed at once, neither task has your focus and both end up taking twice as long and don’t get the best of you.
These may be a few simplistic examples, but try “focusing on the focus” of your day at work, in the car, and at home. You may be surprised at how the “Balancing Act” seems a little bit easier and your success more attainable…
Author Name – Stephanie Ranno
Title – Branch Manager
Location – Baltimore, MD
Twitter – @stephranno
Byline – Stephanie has spent the last 7 years in the creative recruiting and staffing industry, building relationships with amazing talent and innovative corporations. At the core she is a renaissance gal, who thrives with too many things on her plate. Hence: student of emerging media trends, manager of an outstanding recruitment team, local actress on the stages of Baltimore, certified group fitness instructor, and wife and mother (though last, certainly not least in importance)