Going from Miss Bossy Boots to being The Boss: A 20-year-old female manager’s thoughts on and experiences with the #girlboss movement.

Lifestyle, Management & Business, missjessamy

All my life, I have been called bossy. Told I should ‘rein in’ my personality at times because it might ‘rub people up the wrong way’ or make people, not like me.

‘Bossy Boots’ was a nickname I became quite accustomed to and to be honest, it never really impacted me too much until I became a boss in 2018 at 18 years old. Suddenly, I was extremely conscious of people thinking ‘the power had gone to my head’ and that I was ‘too demanding’ when requesting for specific work tasks be completed.

But WHY was I thinking this? Leadership had always been something I was involved with. Since Grade 6 (to be exact) where I was a semester year level house leader every year until I became one of two house leaders in my final year of school. Through my degree, I also requested the Account Manager or similar positions in group work to ensure I knew what everyone was doing and to enable me to learn more about leadership.

So, it makes sense that management is a field I have always had an enthusiasm for. I am innately passionate about management and leadership practices that promote growth in both the leader and team members. Along with being fascinated with the exploration of applying different management frameworks in various situations to maximise the effectiveness of company functions.

I also love the challenge of management. The constant demand and requirement to keep learning and need to stay connected to ensure I can empower and guide my team is exciting to me.

I also like how focused management keeps me. I quite literally can not be selfish or singleminded in leadership situations, and I love that.

However, as the second year of my management position rolls around, I have been reflecting on my management practices but also trying to reflect on how I have grown as a leader. And what has blown me away is what I have learned about the #girlboss movement through personal experience with staff and customers while trying to establish myself as a ‘worthy’ leader in a male lead workplace and with an at-times challenging and confronting customer base.

Being someone who tends to struggle with stress, anxiety and social anxiety as well as being a complete Type A personality who continually strives for the unattainable level of perfection in everyday life and work. Being in ‘control’ through leadership roles has allowed me to apply this energy into something beneficial to a community or workplace. However, after once being told to ‘leave work at the door’ I was faced with the reality that my mind wouldn’t let me.

Things affect me, and although I try my best not to show it publicly; I am incredibly vulnerable. Situations get to me, I work myself up so much I feel physically sick, I get shaky, I cry, I get angry, I second guess myself, my breathing increases and my head spins. I feel ashamed when I show that something has impacted me in a management situation, I think the only way to be taken seriously is if I am a brick wall and keep it cool. Acting like I can quickly shake things off and move on once I leave the shift, especially after an aggressive customer or other serious incidents.

Furthermore, I second guess myself in the way I ask for tasks to be done and tend to feel a sense of annoyance or judgement when I (respectfully) execute my managerial role to get staff back on task or deal with customer’s issues.

Unfortunately, we still live in a world where any emotion is a ‘female weakness’, instead of being interpreted as an individual working hard to maximise their workplace through their leadership skill.

In a recent work incident, I was put in a situation where I felt threatened and felt the safety of my staff, myself and the workplace was at risk and working through this issue was hard. Trying to hold back the fact that my stomach was flipping out and I was covered in goosebumps from my adrenaline was not easy.

And while I stood there, talking to the perpetrators, my mind was questioning everything I said. I felt that if I raised my voice and made my tone sterner, it would only worsen the ongoing situation and cause a more aggressive reaction from the male I was trying to deal with.

The condescending and derogatory way this male and many other people in the past have treated me while in a management position is shocking. I regret not writing down all my experiences so I could share them with you.

I became a manager in my workplace when I was 18 years old. Midway through my university degree, with chubby baby cheeks and a severe issue with second-guessing my decisions in and out of the workplace. I was forced to deal with customer commenting on my ability, age, gender, looks and more. Being questioned as to why I was wearing a blazer instead of the work uniform to being spoken to like it was my first day on the job was and still is a very regular occurrence to me. I couldn’t tell you on how many occasions I was met with a puzzled face from customers when the manager was called out the front, and little ole’ me came out of the office.

I had a discussion with my sister recently (who also works in a position of management) about how not only is the perception of women in leadership positions consistently condescended but also how vastly their road to promotion varies from their equal or lesser male co-worker’s journey and access. I look at males in similar or the same positions as me and see how easily they were accepted and integrated into management status. And how although I am there striving to always better myself, I still feel I am two steps behind with my ability to establish authority to staff and customers.

How about instead of judging someone’s leadership ability on their gender, let’s look at their skill set and ability to inspire and empower a group of people to reach their individual potential that promotes team growth and company success?

I have been fortunate to grow up with strong-minded females both in my family and friendships. Additionally, going to an all-girls school since my early school days exposed me to major #girlboss vibes throughout my whole upbringing.

However, I still grew up in a world where to not be reserved and accepting as a female was not the norm, where I was surprised to see females in management positions and where the glass ceiling was still very much existent.

Unfortunately, despite being very grateful for my private all-girls education which exposed to a high level of opportunity. At the end of the day, my school was a religious school that strived to ‘keep us in line’ when it came to the way we expressed ourselves physically and verbally. And I do not want this statement to be interpreted as me saying a level of respectful behaviour is not necessary! I think EVERYONE should learn how to be courteous and polite to one another and themselves. However, I believe these ingrained practices need to be reviewed to try to lessen the overt inequality that is still inflicted onto females in this modern age.

So, if I am still experiencing this level of inequality in 2020, do I feel optimistic that it will change?

Yes, I genuinely do. When I feel particularly defeated or low on my leadership ability or persona, instead of being pessimistic I make the active decision to fill my mind with powerful #girlbosses who show me that there are plenty of us out there fighting a patriarchy that is slowly breaking down, with shards of the glass ceiling slowly beginning to crack away.

I am a person whose mood can be significantly impacted by my surroundings, so taking the time to fill my mind with inspiring people helps me to refocus on my job and goals when it comes to management.

So, where am I going with this post?

Well a) I just wanted to express my feelings and experiences as a #girlboss. But b) I wanted to provoke thought about this topic and to inspire some other girls out there to know their leadership worth and ability. And c) hopefully, in the long run, I can make someone rethink their view on managers and how gender has NOTHING to do with one’s ability to lead a team to success.

So, can’t we create a world where a manager is a manager? Or even better, a person is a person, and we all speak and treat each other with respect and equality.

Being in front of house for a company turns you into the face of the company, and I think people need to learn that that does not negate basic human to human respect. You are not superior to the person behind the counter, desk or phone and vis versa. Nor are you superior to a different gender, age group, race, sexuality or personality type.

Just because I am a 20-year-old female does not negate my ability to be a BOSS who knows what she is doing and who is willing to lead a team to success and empower the people around me.

And I am not just saying this for other people, I am saying it for myself. Because change starts with one person, and I believe with confidence being key, my mindset and hopefully, this post will inspire me and you to think harder about how we view different genders in leadership positions. Or how we could work together to break that glass ceiling a bit more. Because all we need is a crack to start an explosion and for the #girlboss movement to gain further positive momentum; leading to a more supportive and empowering leadership industry.

What are some management or leadership barriers that you have had to deal with? Let me know! I would also love to hear your advice or thoughts on ‘the glass ceiling’ and the #girlboss movement.

Simple Ways To Increase Your Productivity (& Grades!)

Lifestyle, missjessamy, Study

I graduated university back in December 2019 with a Bachelor of Mass Communication (Public Relations & Advertising). I am so proud of my acheivement and the effort I put into my degree to graduate with distinction at 20 years old. However, this was not easy and university really challenged me in both good and bad ways. Nevertheless, through my degree I feel I developed some really great study and time management skills that allowed me to meet all my degree requirments, work a full on job and still have time for friends, family and travel. 

So, now that school is back in session in Australia and university is almost back as well, I thought it was the perfect time to give you some simple ways you can increase your productivity that aim to improve your workflow and grades. All of these methods are ones that I used during my school and university years and are ones I still use now in my personal and work life. So if you want to ensure your 2020 is super productive then keep on reading!

#1 – Find Out What Kind Of Learner You Are

For me, I am a Kinaesthetic Learner which means I learn by doing. I am an active learner and love to immerse myself in the learning experience to extract the information from the situation. By understanding what kind of learner you are, you will be able to streamline your study approaches, so they benefit you.

Four Types Of Learners:

Visual:
  • Learn by visualising and seeing the content.
Auditory:
  • Learn by listening and hearing information rather than seeing or writing it out.
Reading/Writing:
  • Learn by reading content and writing about it.
Kinaesthetic:
  • Learn by doing and prefer to be immersed in their learning experience.

Keep in mind that you can be a combination of types of learners, or your learning style can change over time. But just try and identify the one the aligns with your learning needs the most at this moment in time so you can maximise learning effectiveness.

Understand How To Apply Your Learning Style Into Education

Sometimes you have got to get crafty when translating materials into your learning style. But this process is one that you must do to enhance your educational experience and to ensure you are as productive as you can be with your precious time.

So if you are a Reading/Writing Learner, then ensuring your lectures are transcribed into notes/flashcards is vital. Or if you are a Kinaesthetic Learner, then do practice quizzes to enhance your recall of content.

#2- Be Real With Your Schedule 

It is so great to write a massive schedule/ to-do list and be optimistic about what you can achieve in your day, but you HAVE to be realistic. This is vital because (on the flip side) there is nothing worse than trying to wind down at night knowing you have not achieved what you wanted to. I hate ending my day with an incomplete jobs list – I feel flat and disappointed; ultimately losing some my motivation.

Now being real with what you can achieve in a day does take some trial and error. And it is essential to be kind to yourself when setting daily or weekly expectations so you can feel accomplished and maintain your motivation. But ensuring you are honest with yourself with your time management and daily ability is crucial to the promotion and integration of productivity in your everyday life.

My Tip:

When beginning your scheduling journey, set low expectations for your days. This will allow you to gauge how much you can realistically achieve in your day.

#3- Write Out Your To Do’s

Do it on some paper, on your phone, in your diary, on some notepaper or on the back of your hand – whatever writable surface you have!

There is nothing more satisfying than ticking off to-do items on your list as you go through your day. And it also ensures you stay on track and use your time wisely when it comes to completing tasks based on their requirements.

My Tip:

Write EVERYTHING on your daily to-do list. This includes going to the gym, replying to emails, making your bed, washing your hair etc. Not only does this approach promote a more satisfying end of the day, feeling when you tick everything off. But, it gives you a realistic and visual overview of everything you need to fit into your day, so you can move items around if need be (and that’s okay)- DO NOT OVER COMMIT!

#4- Find Out When and Where You Are Most Productive

University libraries, cafes, at home, study groups, public parks, work offices etc. These are all places that I utilised to get my university work done.

Overall, I prefer to work alone at home as I find I can keep myself focused. However, when you are in the throws of intense study, a change of scenery can reinvigorate your motivation, allows you to refocus and overall enhance your productivity.

Often I would get myself out of the house and head into my university’s library or even go to work to use one of the empty offices as alternate study spaces that I was comfortable in and where I felt I could hone in on my work.

Finding places where you are most productive is vital for your workflow and like most things in this list, requires a level of trial and error. I am not productive everywhere, nor am I always productive at home. When you are consistently working, you need to be prepared to be fluid with your study spaces and be ready to move around.

#5- Read Your Feedback & Ask Questions

Life Lesson: learn from your mistakes to enable personal growth and and accept that effort will not always equated to your envisaged reward.

Okay, so you didn’t do as well as you had planned on a project? How you react and process this plays a BIG role in your ability to grow and improve your future work.

It’s easy to get annoyed and upset when a grade or some feedback is not as good as you wanted after you put so much effort in.

However, if you’re going to understand where you went wrong so you can improve and learn, you NEED to read or request feedback. And that means immersing yourself in the feedback by asking questions and then integrating this into future work.

I have always been one of those students and people in general, where I question everything because I feel the need to understand every possible aspect. This need to know where I went wrong really came out during my final year of school and through my university degree because I was always putting 110% effort into my work, but my grades were not always reflecting that. However, I learned quickly that although it was sometimes time-consuming and a hassle, whenever I requested feedback, I always felt better. The feedback always powered me through my next project and made me more aware and motivated.

#6- Base Your Timeline Schedule On Their Requirements

If you have four tasks that need to be done that will each take 2-3 hours each, is it realistic that you get them all done in one day? Probably not. And even if you did, would you be in the best and most productive headspace to do them all in one day along with your other day to day requirements as well?

These are all vital aspects to consider when crafting your daily to-do schedules.

To combat this need to get everything done all at once, I recommend writing a weekly to-do list that states all of the big items that need to get done. And then break these up into your daily agenda. This approach ensures you remain fully aware of what you need to get done but reducing the risk of feeling overwhelmed and losing your motivation for day to day tasks.

#7- Commit To Yourself

Overall, If YOU want to improve your productivity, grades and overall success, then you HAVE to commit to yourself. There is no point in attempting to make changes and realign your organisation and study approaches if you are going to continually make compromises that interfere with your commitment to this vision. Like any goal, it is not always going to be 100% easy, and you are going to have to work at it daily to ensure you are on track. But like anything, the more you do it, the easier it becomes and the more confident you become in being able to operate your schedule productively.

So, as long as you are prepared to make some exceptions so you can stay true to yourself to meet your goals – then one of the hardest parts of this goal is already done!

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the best feeling when all your commitment pays off to meet your goal.

Hopefully now you are feeling inspired to get your time management under control so you can maximise your 2020 productivity and workflow! I hope these tips have helped you out and that all your endeavours in 2020 whether they are study or work focused, are a success. 

Study Habits!

missjessamy

Hello Everybody! Recently I have had so much work at school, I have hardly had time to do anything but study! It’s has been a crazy last couple of weeks with non-stop study and also, for me, catching up on work I missed whilst I was ill. So in the past weeks I have really focused on my time management. Personally, I am a person who stresses about everything and lives off planners to keep everything under control. Honestly, if I have work to do, I can’t sleep until I make a list and know that I have a scheduled time to do all the work in. So today, I am going to share my time management and study tips with you guys.

 

 1. Work In A Tidy Environment 

It is very important to keep your work area clean. From personal experience, I know that having a messy desk distracts me from my work because I am to busy staring at the mess in front if me . So make sure before you set down to do your work, you clean the area in which you’ll be working in. Then you can minimise your distractions.

 

2. Turn Your Phone On Silent

Now, I know most people recommend turning your phone off or putting it on the other side of your room- so it doesn’t distract you during your studies. But honestly that ain’t gonna work for me. And personally, my phone isn’t a huge distraction for me whilst I’m studying. I know I have to study, so I don’t play on it for hours. But to prevent any distractions, I put my phone on silent then turn it face down- so I don’t see any notifications pop up. I often have notes on my phone, so I do need it close for my studies anyway. If this way is going to create to much temptation- then turn your phone off or put it away so it isn’t close by.

 

 3. Block Out Noise

When I study, what’s going on around me is a huge distraction. I can hear my family outside my bedroom door and there fore, I can’t focus on my work. So to prevent this, I put my headphones in and play my music. Normally my music is pretty loud when I study- but for me this is perfect and helps me focus. If music is too much of a distraction for you, I suggest just putting headphones in your ears. They will block out outer noise, and create a softer environment. You can even play some soft relaxation music, to de-stress whilst studying.

 

4. Take Breaks

If I don’t take 30 minute- hourly breaks while I’m studying, I loose focus completely. When I start to feel unfocused or tired, I take either a food or rest break. I’ll have a energy snack (I love eating Almonds) or just take a rest on the couch or in bed for 20 minutes. This allows my body to reset and re-energise so I can absorb as much information as possible. 

 

 5. Pick A Good Time To Study

It is really important to know when your strong times are throughout the day, so you can do your most productive work. Personally, my most productive times are early in the morning (5am-7am) or straight after school (4pm-7pm). Now, I am a huge sleeper inner, and having to wake up early for study, is the worst. But I know I am going to get heaps of work done, so it’s worth it. I find after 8pm at night, I am too tired and have trouble focusing. So all my study is put away and I chill till about 8:30- 9:00 then go to bed.

 

6. Plan Out All Your Work

I am a huge lover of Planners. I have a Planner that sits on my desk, that I write everything I need to do out on it. This helps with my time management- because I know what I have to get done. And nothing helps stress disappear better then completing a list, ticking everything off and throwing it out. I mainly just write out the things I have to do. But sometimes I will allocate times to do certain things- I do this more when I have more study then usual. Planners are a huge helper when it comes to study. And I highly recommend using them. 

 

7. Don’t Forget To Sleep

I know when you have a huge work load, sleep can be something that is forgotten about. But it is so important! You have to sleep when studying because it gives your brain time to reset and absorb the information you have just revised. Don’t forget to switch everything off at night and get a good amount of shut eye. 

 

That’s all for today guys. Hope you all enjoyed these tips that hopefully will help you with your studies.

 

Talk Soon

 

P.S- Don’t forget about my Luvocracy Giveaway. Details in previous post!

 

Twitter: @JessicaTathem

Youtube:http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGXj2VCV2_LHArtV_uOkDZg

 

Jess xx