Balance & Beyond Podcast
#25: 5 Game-Changing Mindset Shifts for Part-Time Success
In Episode #7 we shared The Part Time Paradox: 5 Traps You Must Avoid if Considering Part Time Work ...
This episode generated so much buzz and feedback that we wanted to cover the topic of part-time work again, delving further into the mindset shifts you need to avoid these traps.
Can you imagine being able to navigate part-time work with ease, confidence, and a sense of balance? This episode is here to help you do just that. We delve beyond the traps into the mindset shifts that can transform your approach to part-time work.
We’ll guide you how to stop being nice and find a better alternative, share how to cultivate your intuition so you can make fast decisions and move into action, without overthinking and stewing on your days off. Learn to detach your worth from your output and own your schedule with grace and confidence. The episode then shifts its focus to self-care and avoiding burnout. Discover simple strategies for taking care of yourself while fulfilling your responsibilities, setting healthy boundaries, and maintaining motivation on your journey to a balanced life. This is more than just a podcast episode; it’s a ticket to thriving in your part-time work and beyond. So tune in, take notes, and get ready to transform your part-time work experience.
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INTRO: Welcome to Balance and Beyond, the podcast for ambitious women who refuse to accept burnout as the price of success. Here, we’re committed to empowering you with the tools and strategies you need to achieve true balance, where your career, relationships and health all thrive, and where you have the power to define success on your own terms. I honour the space you’ve created for yourself today, so take a breath, and let's dive right in…
Before we dive into today's episode, I wanted to make sure you knew about a free three part training series I'm holding this month. "The Ambitious Women's Success Blueprint" is going to share with you the counterintuitive way. A new generation of leaders are unlocking more confidence, calm and career success. Starting Thursday the 14th of September, you're going to learn what sets apart successful climbers from those who burnout, you're going to discover unconventional shifts that bring lasting calm and confidence. And finally unlock the blueprint for more money, impact and influence at work. Who doesn't want that? To find out more and to save your spot visit balanceinstitute.com/blueprint on with the show.
If you work part-time in any capacity or are considering working part-time, then this episode is for you. A little while ago, I shared the five traps people fall into for part-time work, and it was one of my most popular episodes. I've had people reach out to me, email me, message me on LinkedIn and say, “Oh my gosh, I had no idea I was falling into all these traps!” “Can you share more about part-time work?” So today, I want to share more, and to build on the traps that you fall into. I want to share the actual mindset shifts that you need to make if you're going to be successful, to continue to progress your career and for part-time work not to turn into this horrific nightmare, when you thought it was going to solve everything for you. So, a quick refresher on what the five traps are, and I'll put a link to the show notes in for that episode.
So, the five traps that people tend to fall into is that they haven't learned how to hold boundaries yet, which means that when someone says, “Can you attend this meeting tomorrow?” Or “Can you get back to me?” They usually say “Yes.” You haven't learned to disconnect yet, and that is why you might not be working on a particular day, and you're probably still thinking about emails, or jumping on, or responding here and there. So, you haven't actually energetically quarantined your time.
You haven't learned to focus yet. Once again, as these boundaries blur, there’s the sudden, “Oh my gosh, I've got to get this done.” And the overwhelm that can happen, because workloads rarely decrease by the amount of hours that you have. You haven't built unshakable confidence yet, which means you're still trying to prove yourself. There's also a lot of these old people-pleasing behaviours. That's very, very easy to sneak in.
And, lastly, you haven't found your voice yet. And this means owning your decisions. It means that you haven't really communicated to everybody what's going on, and you're not very good at saying no. So, there will be some parallels, because obviously some of these are mindset shifts. But these are the traps that I see. If you don't have the flip side of those, you are not going to be successful.
Because, for many women, they feel like, “I can't cope with this.” “The hours are too long.” “There's just no space for family.” “There's no space for me.” “The only way I'm going to get that space is if I reduce my hours.” Because the kids don't go back. The partner? Don't really want to lose them. So, the only thing that has to give is work. And that's wonderful. If that's your choice, that's okay.
But, what I don't want you to think, is that only making structural changes is reducing your hours in some way. That's not the only way to bring about balance. But, it is something many people are considering. So, I want to ensure that you have the right mindset that's going to support you, whether you're there already, or are considering it.
Now, when I talk about mindset, you're going to hear me reference, sometimes, the word “muscles” or “mindset.” Because that's what this is. Your brain is a muscle and, just like a glute that fires, or a bicep, your neural pathways are lazy, and they fire in a particular way. As they say “Neurons that fire together, wire together.” So, if you've always done something one way, your brain is incredibly habitual. And that neural pathway, just like if you were to carve out a tunnel at the beach and then the wave starts to come up, and there's a deep channel, or there's a finger line. Which pathway is the water going to take as it comes up to your sandcastle? It's always going to take the well carved one.
And sometimes, carving out these new channels, which is actually what you want, can take some muscle to build. It takes time and energy and, most importantly, intention. And yes, I know, structural issues will play a part in ensuring that you're successful at part time work, in terms of organisational support, and various things that can be put into place. In my opinion, managing things like your mindset is much more powerful than agreeing that you've got an out-of-office on your emails. In the end, it's going to be ignored if you're responding on your day off anyway, because you're falling victim to some of these mindset traps.
I'm going to share with you five mindset shifts that I have seen make a massive difference. If you adopt these, you're going to be much more successful, working flexibly, working in general, but especially if you're working flexibly. All right. The mindset shift I want you to make first is you need to learn to be kind and stop being nice. I know these words can be used interchangeably, where I want to be both of those. Yeah, well, let me help you. Let me share with you what actually is underneath both of these words. And there's a very, very key distinction that will be game changing for not just how you feel, but also what happens to your career.
The word “nice” is acting in a particular way, usually a pleasing way, in order for people to like you. It is what they call “a self-centred behaviour.” So, you are acting a certain way, simply so somebody likes you. Now, of course, there's a biological imperative to this. We lived in tribes. Knowing that 99% of our brain evolution happened on the Savannah, well, we didn't want the big alpha male to not like us, because he might thump us. And we see a lot of these characteristics in us. They've measured them in a lot of other primate animals. So, it's a biological imperative theory to want people to like you, so you're not kicked out of the tribe.
But this behaviour is actually rooted in fear, because you're worried that, “If they don't like me, I'm not going to be good enough, and I'm going to be kicked out of the tribe.” So, this behaviour inherently comes from a place of fear. Usually, too, when you're worried about being nice, you're usually being dishonest to yourself. You're not actually honouring what you want, and people can feel that empathetically. When you want to be nice, and you say “yes”, but you really want to say “no”, and then you get resentful, and people can feel that discontent. “You're saying yes, but I'm not really feeling yes.” And so you give off mixed signals. In contrast, I really want you to focus on being kind.
Being kind is what they call “another centred behaviour.” It's nothing to do with you. You're acting in the best interest of somebody else and also in your, in your own interest, out of a sense of love and compassion, and kindness is rooted in love, because sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. The kind thing is to say, “I'm sorry, I'm not going to deliver that by tomorrow, because I have another deadline.” Or “I'm not available.”
That's when you're being kind. It's a “no.” It's a clear decline. You're being very explicit in what you want, or what you don't want, because you know that clarity in this case is kindness. Whereas, if you're being nice, you will sugarcoat things and you'll be obtuse. “Well, I really don't think that under this position…” and nobody understands where you stand.
So, this is the shift that's going to make a big difference. Because a lot of women say to me, “Jo, it's important to me that I'm nice.” “I'm a nice person.” Yes, but that means you're also a people pleaser. I want you to be kind, because then you can be kind to yourself. And that might mean “Well, I don't work Fridays.” And “I'm going to be kind to my kids, and I'm going to be fully present and switch off, and whatever's waiting for me can still be there on Monday.” “I'm not saving lives.” “I'm going to be kind to my kids, and kind to myself, and I'm going to enjoy my day.” Whereas if I'm worried about being liked, then I'm going to be on my phone, and I'm going to be checking my emails, and I'm going to be calling in. So kind, not nice.
The next mindset shift I want you to make is to really own your schedule, and not to hide it. Now, to clarify, I don't want you to be one of those people, and we've all been in meetings with them, when every single meeting, they say “Well, I don't work Fridays.” “You know, I'm part time, I'm part time, I'm part time.” You feel like saying, “Oh, shut up.” They use it, in that case, as a weapon. It's, in a way, to feel significant. “I'm part time, I'm part time.” I don't want you to be that person.
But, I want you to ensure that everybody you're working with, whether it's for a project, or your team, or your boss, or your stakeholders, they know when you're available, and when you're not. And owning your schedule means that you stick to it. This is about holding a boundary. Part-time gets really murky when you try to say, “I don't work Tuesdays.” And then, for two weeks in a row, you dial into a meeting. And then on the third week, somebody puts a meeting in your calendar expecting you to be there, and you get really angry at them. And you're going, “But I don't work Tuesdays.” “Yeah, but you dialled in the last two Tuesdays, so I'm going to now assume that you work Tuesdays.”
So, those boundaries completely dissolve. But when you own your schedule, you're teaching everybody else how to treat you. That is, protecting your work hours and saying, “These are the hours that I work and then I'm gone.”
Also, if you are hiding when you're not working, and trying to pretend that you are, and making you worried about what everybody thinks because you're not working this day. If you are almost hiding or deceitful about it, it actually implies shame. And that means that if you're shameful of it, and somebody pokes you and says, “Can you dial into this?” Or “Can you do this by this day?” Because you're so full of shame, you'll capitulate, and you go and do it. And then you find that you've got this really murky situation where you're not meant to be working Tuesdays, but you actually end up working pretty much every Tuesday, and all you've then done is dock yourself 20% or more pay, and then you're still continuing to work the hours.
Part of owning your schedule also means you need to be really selective with your time. And when I say this, I know many people who work part-time, and they're three or four days in the office are back-to-back meetings. And on the weekends they get to do their work. So, you have to turn around and say, “I cannot spend my three days, or four days that I'm working, in meetings.” “I've got to politely decline.” So, you've got to find your voice, and be incredibly selective about where you are putting your time.
The third mindset shift I want you to make, after being kind and owning your schedule, is you need to detach hours worked from output and results. You don't work if you're listening to this. You probably don't work in a factory where you work X hours and produce Y widgets and get paid Z money. When you are directly linked in that way, you're more of a get-stuff-done person. And I don't want you to be one of those. That is not what a woman of influence is.
And I've had part-timers in my team who actually are able to produce more than full-time workers. And there's this growing global trend towards a four-day work week, and there's a lot of reports on it, and they're actually seeing an increase in productivity despite decreasing the amount of time that they're working by 20%. So, just because you're working part-time, does not mean there should be any impact on your output. And, if you are directly correlating, “Well, I work this, and then I get that,” you are operating from an old paradigm.
Most people know what can happen if you are focused and you're in the zone, and you've got to write something, or punch something out, or do a presentation, or work out a document. If you're focused, and you're in the zone, you can probably pump that thing out in 30 minutes. If you're overwhelmed and distracted and multitasking and “ping” there’s an email, the same thing can take you four hours.
So, as you detach from this, you need to own that. “You know what? I can probably do my job in three and a half days, when I'm supremely focused.” So, this is the mindset shift that you've got to make as we detach, that you're not then just making up the hours. So, it's that mindset shift that really allows you to step into the decision you've made more fully.
After you've now detached from your hours, the next mindset shift that you really need to make, and this mindset shift is really a muscle and a skill set, is you need to cultivate your intuition. And as well as cultivate, you need to learn to trust it. As a woman of influence, which is something that I want every woman in the world to be, you need to really build this unshakable confidence and access your deeper inner wisdom, which is something that women have much easier access to than men.
What cripples your ability to access your intuition is self doubt. It is overwhelm. It is disempowering emotions like guilt and shame and fear. When you can access your intuition, you can make faster decisions. You're not going to be paralysed and think, “Oh, do I do this?” “What should I do about this?” “What's the next priority?” “Oh, is that good enough?” “Oh, maybe I need to triple check it.” And that is going to really make a massive difference.
As you're part time, hours are important. We've got to make sure that you're able to make quick decisions. How do you build this muscle for this beautiful internal guidance system that we all have? And this guidance system says to you “Oh, you probably shouldn't send that.” Maybe you want to check with someone. So first, yes, thank you. The list of what you want to do is always going to be big, and so the opportunity for you to get stuck in paralysis or overwhelm is always going to be there.
But, when you've cultivated this intuition and built up this muscle and learned to trust it, and learnt to respect it, you'll look at your list and go “What next?” And you'll go, “That one, thank you.” And you'll know that that's the thing. You won’t go, “Oh, oh, but what about this?” “And they're not going to like that.” “Oh, what are they going to think if I do that?” “But I also need to do this,” And that paralysis and overwhelm, whether it's conscious or subconscious, is exhausting.
I don't want you to waste 10 minutes every time you finish something, and then have to start something new, because that will be leaking hours and hours out of your precious time. So, cultivating your intuition is something that I teach women how to do deeply, and it literally opens them up. So, almost like different radio frequencies, or radio stations become available to you, and the trust you have of yourself, the way that you're able to influence others is simply magical. And then lastly, after you're now being kind, you're owning your schedule, you have detached hours from output, and you are cultivating your intuition, the last mindset shift you need to make is you need to claim your personal power.
This is something that I talk about a lot with those in my ecosystem. And when you claim your personal power, you own your choices. The key piece I don't want you to fall foul of is to become a victim of circumstance. Which, when you are working part time, can happen pretty easily. Because, “Oh, I wasn't in that meeting.” “Oh, they made that decision without me.” “Oh, they didn't run that by me.” And it's very easy to blame others and to blame “Oh, I shouldn't have gone to the movies with the kids, because I really should have dialled into that meeting. It's very easy to get stuck in this disempowering cycle of thinking that, “Well, if only I work more,” and “Maybe I need to do this.”
When you claim your personal power, which is saying, “No matter what happens, I'm okay.” When you don't take things personally, because you're grounded in your personal decisions, you own the choices that you make. You're not justifying them anymore. You're saying, “I choose not to work on Wednesdays.” Then own that choice. Don't then be a victim of, “Oh, it’s Thursday morning.” “I’ve got so much to do.” “I didn't work Wednesday because I feel like I should be with the kids.”
If you don't want to work part time, don't work part time. You have a choice. And if you're doing things because you feel like you have no choice, because you feel guilty, or because you think you should. And you're giving your power away, to something or someone else, and that's gonna make you feel resentful, gonna make you feel angry. And when you don't own your decisions, you can't step fully into them. Instead say “I'm choosing this right now.” “This is my choice.” and there's so much power in that.
And then, on the days that you're working, “I choose to work right now.” “I'm not gonna feel guilty for it.” “I'm not gonna beat myself up for it.” And, “Yes, that happened when I wasn’t here.” “Okay, doesn't mean anything about me.” “I'm standing in my power, and I move on, no matter what.” “I'm going to be okay as a meaning-making machine.” You've got to stop making meaning, usually negative, about everything that happens. “Oh, they didn't wait for me.” “They don't think I have value.”
These kinds of things are a complete waste of energy and time. Claim your power on your decisions, on your choices, and it will change everything. So that, my friends, is what you need to do. These are the mindset shifts that you need to make in order to really own your part time work, and for this shift to be successful.
You can imagine, if you're being nice and worried about what others think, your schedule is bleeding, and you're not owning it. You still have this really strong belief that a certain number of hours equals the output. If you're doubting yourself, if you don't have an in-guidance system. If you're doing everything based on what everybody else thinks you should be doing, that's so confusing. When you're a victim of your own circumstances. This results in almost a total collapse and then you think “Oh my gosh, I've gone part time, and it's still not working.”
So, if you're making these decisions, I want you to make them from a place of knowing what to shift: to be kind, to own your schedule, to really separate your hours from your output, to cultivate your intuition, to open up to that inner guidance system, so you can make faster decisions. This is what's going to massively accelerate your career, and is one of the key traits of a woman of influence. And then you can claim your personal power. Own your choices, take complete responsibility for your life, and you will start to see all the pieces fall into place. I want you to access that fulfilment, that joy and meaning. Whatever circumstances you've lined up. I want them to work for you.
OUTRO: Thank you for joining us today on the Balance and Beyond Podcast. We're so glad you carved out this time for yourself. If you enjoyed this episode, please share it with a friend who might need to hear this today. And if you're feeling extra generous, leaving us a review on your podcast platform of choice would mean the world. If you’re keen to dive deeper into our world, visit us at www.balanceinstitute.com to discover more about the toolkit that has helped thousands of women avoid burnout and create a life of balance, and beyond. Thanks again for tuning in, and we'll see you next time on the Balance & Beyond Podcast.
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