Too busy to enjoy being a parent – Amanda’s story

Amanda, 44, an HR director at a European mobile phone company, feels too guilty to take an afternoon off to attend her three-year-old’s annual school events because her organisation is going through a huge transformation requiring her to work longer, harder and faster than ever before.

Our objective was to work on inner obstacles (beliefs etc.) and then to develop strategies so Amanda could talk to her boss and team. The final part of our work taught her how to focus her attention so she could concentrate better at work and be fully focused during the limited time she had with her daughter.

As a senior leader like Amanda you probably have more flexibility than you think. You also probably follow conventional time management approaches, which mean any time saved via greater efficiency and effectiveness is consumed by more work. Evolution has designed us that way.

What Amanda realised was that her busy mindset stopped her from using her time wisely and resulted in her taking on too much. This is turn created to a cycle she was unable to break on her own – until, that is, she stopped and asked a simple question. “What is the actual result of all this busyness? And what impact is it having on my performance at work and on my family?”

Now Amanda has successfully embedded a new set of work principles that mean she is highly productive for short bursts but that also give her time to recover her mental and physical energy before starting her next task. She has more energy at the end of the day.

The result is that she now attends more events at her daughter’s school because her beliefs have shifted. She’s still highly productive – but she’s better organised and more clear-sighted about what’s important.