This is Part 2. Read Part 1 here.
Our Cultural Limiting Belief About Time
To state that the source of career inequality for women is the time we are expected to spend on our appearance because it results in “lost work time” reflects a huge cultural limiting belief. And this belief is the real source of inequality.
This value judgment on what is an “important” use of time versus what is a “waste” of time threatens to harm anyone who doesn’t fit the model.
Self-Care as the Obstacle to Productivity
For years, I followed productivity advice from an array of mostly male mentors. I struggled to adapt their schedules, which left very little time for my personal routine — including hair and makeup. It made me feel like a failure like I could never be successful unless I abandoned that part of me.
Following this approach also made me sick, because I ignored my personal rhythms for how I work best.
My self-care always seemed to be the obstacle in the way of my productivity. I was a victim of the belief that it was causing me to “lose time.”
Turning the Obstacle into the Path
As I wrote yesterday, my big breakthrough came when I shifted my perception of this. I now view my morning routine — including time for hair and makeup — as part of my priming ritual for my day.
To anyone who doesn’t understand the creative process or the natural workings of the brain, many of my morning rituals — and other parts of my working process — may not look like work. In fact, these are the things that supercharge my productivity.
As an example, yesterday after completing my makeup. My mind was racing with ideas and profound insights that I never would have had if I were just sitting at a desk. I sat down where I was and wrote for 90 minutes, without becoming distracted. I was in the zone. Flow state.
Some women choose to use their makeup time to multi-task by listening to podcasts or audiobooks. I multitask my hair by having someone else dry it, freeing me up to read or write, or just be.
And even if we reap no creative insights, or choose not to multitask, makeup time is valuable for another reason: as one friend reminded me, it’s “me time.”
The Value of “Me Time”
For many women, who are expected to take on work at home, in the office, in the community, and in their kids’ schools, this 10–20 minutes is all they get to themselves.
I often have to encourage my clients not to multi-task while they apply their makeup; to give themselves this time free of guilt over what they are not doing.
Far from being lost time, this is found time. It is time found under the veils of being “too busy” or having “too much to do.”
Judging this as being time lost from work represents a very narrow view of what “work” is.
This “me time” IS the work. The most important work of all is the work of connecting with and understanding yourself. It’s the work of creating the internal space that allows your creative work to come through.
When we dedicate ourselves to creating space for our best work, we ultimately come to understand that our best work is the work of being true to ourselves. It is from that truth that all other work flows.
Without dedicating time to connect within, everything else deteriorates: your health, your creativity, your productivity, your relationships, your finances.
All other work we produce depends on this work of connecting within. All of it.
The belief that this work is “lost time” is the source of career inequality, not just for women but for anyone who dares to prioritize their self-care or work in a way that doesn’t look like the dominant model.