Do you ever wonder how some women just seem to know instinctively how to “do it all”? It seems that time expands itself to their needs – it’s almost as if they have extra hours in the day.
What’s their secret?
How do they manage to maintain a home and a career?
How do they find the time to raise children, work on their marriage and keep up friendships?
Where do they find the time to go to the gym after whipping up, from scratch, a batch of cupcakes for their child’s school bake sale?
Incidentally, one would never ask men this “how-do-you-manage-to-do-it- all” question. But, for now, that is beside the point.
Jennifer Aaker, Professor of Marketing at the University of Stanford addresses this “doing-it-all” phenomenon. She states that women who find balance do so by accomplishing what they want first and foremost. In other words, these women set priorities and stick with them. By examining what needs attention – health, family, career, and friendships – they divide their lives into clusters or magnets (Friedman, 2013). This magnet approach simplifies the process of prioritizing by focusing on a direction instead of specific goals. It also helps to eliminate the “white noise” that is ever present in our life. To accomplish this, Aaker suggests the art of multiplying.
Multiplying should not to be confused with multitasking where the activities are done mechanically and without emotional investment. Aaker makes this distinction because she wants to drive home the importance of making an activity meaningful. For example, if health and time alone with your spouse are important to you, schedule a date with your better half and go to the gym or, better yet, go for a run or a long walk. This addressed two essential magnets – your health and your relationship.
Aaker stresses the importance of adding as many elements into the mix as possible. Make it a game and get creative! The more important aspects (or magnets) you touch on with one activity, the better. Because in the end, it’s about addressing your needs and what is meaningful to you. It’s about maintaining a balance, and feeling energized (Barch et al., 2011).