How to Maximize Your Time and Energy as a Businesswoman

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "We Should All Be Millionaires" by Rachel Rodgers. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Are you wasting time that you could be spending earning income? How can you maximize your time and energy?

To build your wealth, you must also make decisions that free up your time and energy, things women tend to give away too easily. In We Should All Be Millionaires, Rachel Rodgers gives advice on how to reclaim your time and energy.

Keep reading to learn how to maximize your time efficiently, as a woman in business.

Set Healthy Boundaries

Rodgers writes that the first step to learning to maximize your time and energy is to honor your own needs by setting boundaries: Know and communicate to people what you will and will not do. There’s a widespread belief that women should always put others, such as their children or the household, first. As a result, women usually handle the majority of domestic work and parenting on top of their jobs, leaving them with no time to advance their careers or pursue other goals. 

To combat this imbalance, you must refuse to let people exploit you and use up your time, whether at home or at your workplace. When deciding on what you will and won’t do, Rodgers suggests you make decisions that add to your life rather than detract from it—decisions that make you happier, healthier, and more energized. Stop accepting demands that leave you exhausted and overextended (for instance, agreeing to look over a coworker’s project when you’re on vacation). Rodgers argues that you don’t need to feel guilty for setting boundaries and declining others’ requests. You’re simply saying “yes” to yourself after sidelining your own needs for so long.

Additional Suggestions on Setting Boundaries

In Girl, Stop Apologizing, Rachel Hollis agrees with Rodgers on the importance of women setting boundaries and honoring their personal needs. She explains that women are taught even as girls to put other people first and that, if they focus on themselves, they aren’t being a “good woman.” Not only can this belief hinder women’s ability to advance their careers and build wealth, but it can also lead to mental and physical illnesses. Hollis additionally notes another reason why you shouldn’t feel guilty for setting boundaries: You have only one life to live, and it would be a shame to give over any of your time to pointless feelings of guilt. Like Rodgers, Hollis argues that women must communicate their limits to avoid overextending themselves. She provides additional suggestions on how to say “no” to other people’s demands.

Decline requests that don’t fit your priorities. Hollis recommends you make a list of what you prioritize in your life (such as your family, your creative time, or your career) to know what requests to decline. Like Rodgers, she suggests you accept requests if they bring you joy. However, she adds that you should occasionally help someone who’s struggling (as long as you don’t do it excessively).

Say “no” as soon as possible. If you wait, you’ll either cave in and comply with the demand or you’ll say no too late and put the other person in a bind.

Be polite but honest. Tell people directly that you can’t meet their request. If you make up an excuse, they will likely try to find a solution that enables you to help them.

Be firm. Avoid saying “maybe” or offering to check your schedule. Hollis writes that it’s easier for everyone if you give an honest answer.

Recruit Help and Delegate Tasks

Even after setting boundaries, you may still face many tasks that take up your time and energy. Rodgers suggests you hire people to do household or administrative tasks that are necessary but not enjoyable. She recommends you outsource anything that drains your energy, that you hate doing, or that you find difficult to do. For example, if you have a messy household and spend a lot of time cleaning, consider hiring a cleaning service. Rodgers advises you start by hiring a personal assistant who can handle a variety of tasks, like sorting through your emails, doing errands, and managing your schedule.

(Shortform note: In The 4-Hour Workweek, Tim Ferriss agrees that you should outsource but suggests you hire a virtual assistant. Unlike a personal assistant, a virtual assistant works remotely, and you can hire them from anywhere in the world. This gives you more options and teaches you how to manage people, which is an important skill to acquire if you’re trying to build a lucrative business. Like Rodgers, Ferriss recommends you delegate tasks that you dislike, but he adds that you should also consider delegating items that have been on your to-do list the longest and tasks that interrupt you.)

You might be reluctant to spend money when you’re trying to grow your wealth, but Rodgers argues that you can build your skills and career with more focus and energy and spend more time generating income this way. Further, when you learn to delegate, you can lower your stress and free up time to do what you want, which can improve your health and happiness.

(Shortform note: An alternative to hiring people to shoulder some of your load is to simply learn to ask for help from people around you, such as your friends, family members, or partner. In Girl, Stop Apologizing, Rachel Hollis argues that women often feel guilty asking for help because they’re afraid of inconveniencing others. However, Hollis states that many people are happy to help if you show appreciation and reciprocate in kind. To have more energy and time to build your wealth, consider, for instance, speaking up about your needs to your partner and asking them to take over some household duties.)

Build a Close Network of Successful Women

Now that you’ve cut out unreasonable demands and delegated tedious tasks, Rodgers proposes a way to use your time and energy: Build a network of successful women who can support you and your financial goals. A close cohort of women can provide you with gender-specific support, a sense of belonging, and more opportunities. Rodgers explains that the majority of highly-successful women have a close group of women.

Rodgers offers tips on how to cultivate a small, close network of women:

Tip #1: Join new communities. You don’t have to limit yourself to professional groups. Rodgers recommends you simply find a community that shares your beliefs, values, and interests and focus on building sincere relationships with other women.

Tip #2: Reach out to friends and colleagues you’ve lost touch with. One way to reconnect is to do something for them. For example, you could reach out and tell them that you voted on their entry in a photography contest.

Tip #3: If you can’t find the community you’re looking for, Rodgers suggests you create your own group based on your interests.

How to Maximize Your Time and Energy as a Businesswoman

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Here's what you'll find in our full We Should All Be Millionaires summary:

  • Why all women can and should strive to become millionaires
  • Why working harder and living more frugally will not make you wealthy
  • How to develop a positive money mindset and grow your wealth

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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