Andrea Goodridge On The 3 'R's Framework: Yellow Eve Illustration.

Take time out by using the three ‘R’s framework

As a career driven woman, it can be difficult to step back from the ‘hustle’ of getting everything done. So taking time out to focus on yourself doesn’t tend to happen. There’s usually something else or someone else who needs you more, or you simply don’t have the time. I know – from supporting many women – that you may be hesitant to put time aside for yourself, as you feel guilty. So, you plod on, thinking you’ll get round to it. But the reality is …you don’t! Busy diaries, doing ‘stuff’ ad rushing around at 100mph, leaves you with a lack of energy and feeling like you’re not making a difference, despite all your hard work. This doesn’t mean you don’t have what it takes to be successful. It means you’re not putting yourself first.

Well, you can start right now, with my three ‘R’s framework. I use it with all my clients, and believe it should be part of every woman’s toolkit. The three ‘R’s framework: Reflect, Recharge, Refocus.

Reflect

Making regular time to reflect allows you to figure out what’s working for you and what isn’t. It also gives you time to think through why certain tasks and projects work better than others.

Of course, with an already busy schedule it can seem impossible to fit in regular reflection time. This is exactly why I devised a short three-minute reflection that even the most time pressured woman can’t claim is too much time to spend.

If you’re pressed for time, you can set a timer and allow each question just one minute:

  • How would you rate your performance on a scale of one-to-10?
  • What did you do particularly well?
  • If you were repeating the task, what would you do differently and why?

With this exercise, consistency is key. This short reflection, performed regularly can yield great results, but it isn’t a onetime exercise. Aim to complete it daily, or at least three times a week.

Recharge

Most woman have worked very hard to reach their current position, and long hours can be the norm. But over the long term, not getting enough time to rest and relax leaves you fatigued, stressed and overwhelmed. Decisions become harder, your motivation seeps away, and eventually you’re running on caffeine and sheer grit.

It’s a gradual process, which begins by just picking up an occasional extra task, or skipping lunch to prepare for a meeting or write a report. Eventually, it becomes standard practice until your rest time is whittled down to the bare minimum each night and your personal relationships are suffering.

What counts as a recharging activity?

It’s anything that leaves you feeling relaxed, refreshed and recharged. Some suggestions include:

  • Regular gentle exercise
  • A hot drink and a good book curled up on the sofa
  • Taking your entire lunch break without allowing interruptions
  • Going for a long stroll in nature each evening
  • Setting a time every evening when you switch off your work phone and emails, and stick to it
  • Book time off and visit somewhere special to you

Whatever it is that recharges you, carve out a reasonable amount of time each day and protect that time fiercely. Make it regular and make it something that works for you.

Refocus

This is where you put the energy from recharging and the insight from reflecting to great use. Refocusing is about making sure that you’re focusing on the right things, i.e. the tasks that energise you. These are the things you want to do more of, that get you results and don’t leave you feeling drained.

It’s also a great time to re-examine your goals and priorities. These are often set once a year, but a lot can happen in a year. So, goals that seemed valuable when they were set, may now be outdated. Goals that are non-negotiable can also be refocused. Not in terms of the outcome that you need to achieve, but in terms of how you achieve that outcome.

When you’re refocusing, use these questions to guide you:

  • Are the things you spend your time on at the moment making you feel energised and motivated? Or are they draining you?
  • If they’re draining you, can you stop doing them? If not, can you limit the time you spend on them?
  • For non-negotiables, can achieving that outcome be aligned with the tasks and projects that inspire and uplift you?
  • How much of your time is being spent on things that really matter, and that deliver positive outcomes for you and your career?
  • Do you feel in control of your career? If not, how can you regain that control?

Building a regular practice of reflecting, recharging and refocusing helps you check-in with yourself and look after your wellbeing. That’s why it’s so important to take regular time out. And when I say time out, I mean time away from the chaos and pressures of work and home, to reflect, recharge and refocus on you.

 

Andrea Goodridge

Andrea Goodridge

Andrea Goodridge is a leadership coach and facilitator at Ad Florem. She has two decades experience supporting leaders across the NHS, local government, further education, private and not for profit sectors. The core of her support is helping leaders focus on leading themselves first, so they can lead others with confidence.

Drawing on her experience of supporting leaders in Europe, USA and Latin America; Andrea brings energy, combined with her ability to respectfully challenge leaders to her coaching, courses and retreats. A strong believer in only spending time on activities that energise her, Andrea encourages leaders to do the same. When she’s not watching football, or binge watching Netflix, she can be found gardening and sitting watching the world go by.

Find more information at Andrea’s website or by joining her Facebook group.

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