Whether you work part-time, 60+ hours a week, or somewhere in between, there is no escaping the importance of time management as a working mother.  I would argue that proper time management is even more important for working mothers than other people because of all the responsibilities we balance on any given day.

From our work as accountants and maintaining our households to raising our children and trying to balance it all, we need to be keenly aware of how we utilize the 24 hours a day we’re each given.  Think about it – time truly is the great equalizer because whether you’re a billionaire CEO or a stay-at-home mom, we all have the same amount of time to manage.

The interesting thing is that individuals who invented the most amazing products on the planet or discovered life-changing medicines all had the same 24 hours a day that we do.  Time and what we choose to do with it is truly a gift we’re given, with no strings attached.

We get to spend each 24-hour period however we choose to, with a vast ocean of possibilities.  Day after day, year after year, we get to decide how we want to spend our time, and we don’t have to do anything to earn the right to have another 24 hours.

While on the surface, it sounds lovely, the issue is that time also seems to cause us a lot of drama:

There’s never enough time to get everything done.
I’m not sure what I should do next.
Time just gets away from me.
I wish I had more time.
There are too many things on my to-do list.
There aren’t enough hours in the day.

If any of those sound familiar, the subject of time could be something you’d rather not talk about.  But here’s the thing – you might be approaching time management incorrectly.

What if there was a way to manage your time that gave you a sense of fulfillment, peace, and happiness?  What if you’ve been dealing with time management from a masculine perspective rather than a feminine one?  

What would change for you if you approached time management with a feminine approach?  What would be different about how you planned, executed, and experienced time?

The answer to that question – what would be different about how you planned, executed, and experienced time with a feminist approach – is a lot.  Once you understand how the typical masculine approach to time management might affect you, you’ll see how differently feminist time management can be for you and your time.

This week I’m going to discuss what a feminist approach to time management is and how you can begin to implement it.   


What a feminist approach to time management is


If you’ve never heard of feminist time management, you’re not alone.   I had no idea what it meant until I listened to a podcast with best-selling author, entrepreneur, and mother to two kids under the age of three and a half, Kate Northrup.

In her book “Do Less,” Kate explains that she grew up believing ‘doingness’ was next to ‘godliness’ and felt that productivity was what made her valuable.  As you can probably relate, this is a mindset that most entrepreneurs, business leaders, mothers, and ambitious women share.

She shares that we work in our culture as though we’re in a perpetual harvest. But anyone who’s grown anything on the earth knows that this is impossible.

Focus on quantity and growth above quality and sustainability leaves the soil depleted. Focus on these very same deliverables leaves humans depleted.

She shares that how we spend our time is how we spend our lives.  Therefore, when we change the way we invest our time and energy, we then have the ability to change our lives.

The interesting thing is that mainstream culture associates with the masculine traits of being results-oriented and having a linear approach to time.  It focuses on achievement above all else.

In episode #217 – Balancing Masculine and Feminine Energy As A Female Accountant, I discussed the difference between masculine and feminine energy and how to balance the two as a female accountant.  I also shared that for female accountants working in a primarily male-dominated profession like accounting, we can often lean towards masculine energy by virtue of the fact that, as accountants, we are paid to produce financial results.  

In other words, our work is extremely results-oriented, making it easy to slip into more masculine energy without realizing it, but so can our time management.  Our accounting profession is heavily geared towards the masculine energy of results, so it makes sense that our approach to time management would be that way as well.

Kate also explains that mainstream culture associates an outside-in approach to time management.  An outside-in approach believes that things outside of us are the authority, and we have to find who knows better than us; basically, outsourcing our authority.

A feminist approach to time management takes into account that when stress rises, the need to feel in control rises too. Often that leads to reaching for the time management tools to cram more into already loaded to-do lists, which only leaves you feeling more depleted.

For all accountants, but especially working mom accountants, this can be a game changer.  By starting to implement a more feminist approach to time management, you’ll begin to develop a system for you and by you rather than for others and by others. 

So how do you do it?  


How you can begin to implement feminist time management


If you’re tired of the go, go, go approach to time management and want to have a way to manage your time without creating stress, what I’m going to share will be super helpful.  The funny thing is that I didn’t realize that I had a feminist approach to time management until I listened to Kate Northrup explain the concept.

I just thought I knew how to manage my time better, get more done, and have a very balanced life.  But that’s the whole point of feminist time management – to be more in control of your time, get more done in less time, and have a balanced life.

As I’ve shared on the podcast, the time management program that I developed for CPA MOMS called “The Balanced Accountant Program” is where I teach accountants a better way to manage their time by first teaching them how to manage their minds.  The thing that is missing from every time management program or system you’ve ever tried is mind management.

The second key to the success of The Balanced Accountant Program is learning how important your calendar is.  I’ve done many episodes on time management, so you all know that I’m a huge proponent of using a calendar rather than a to-do list, but Kate also agrees.

She says that the best reflection of how you are living your life is your calendar.  Your calendar is a log of how you invest your time and how you live your life.

She shares that there are 3 ways that make feminist time management different:

#1 – Cyclical versus linear – by approaching time as cyclical rather than linear, we can begin to see time as a feminine circle as opposed to a masculine straight line.  This is a gentler yet more powerful way to view time because cyclical time repeats itself over and over again, giving us a sense of abundance rather than scarcity.

Think about our own reproductive cycle and how getting our monthly period cycles each month making it possible for us to have children.  If you look at an analog clock, as opposed to a digital clock, you have a visual representation of the cyclical nature of time.

On the other hand, linear time has a start and end point.  Linear time is irreversible time and often gives us a sense of loss, like each grain of sand falling to the bottom of an hourglass.

A feminist approach to time management sees time as not having an endpoint and allows you to balance your energy.  It reduces the pressure you feel to pack everything into a 24-hour period, giving you a chance to have good days and bad days.

It allows you to be gentler with yourself because as that dial slowly moves around the circle of the clock, it keeps giving you more and more time.  When you can breathe and feel less pressure with time, you actually make it possible to get more done in less time because you’re not carrying the weight of linear time. 

As I’ve shared on this podcast, I am a big proponent of improving our relationship with time by being aware of what we tell ourselves about time.  I notice that when I say things like “There’s not enough time” or “I don’t know how I’ll get this all done in the time I have,” the more stressed and overwhelmed I feel, making it much more challenging to manage my time effectively.

However, when I tell myself, “There’s plenty of time” or “Time is on my side,” I feel much more in control of my time.  When I feel in control and relaxed, I blow my own mind with how much I can get done in less time.

#2 – Process-oriented versus results-oriented – in the podcast episode on balancing masculine and feminine energy, I shared that as an accountant and an intelligent, high-achieving woman, it might be time to bring in more feminine, experiential energy.  It’s perfectly fine to be results-oriented, but you might not realize how much you are missing when you aren’t tapping into feminine energy more throughout your day.

I shared that in a TED Talk by Michelle Miller titled “We Need To Restore Femininity,” she explains that femininity is “experience orientation” and is different from masculinity which is “results orientation.”  In other words, feminine energy values the process, and masculine energy values the result.

All the words we associate with femininity – sensitivity, compassion, beauty, creativity – matter if we are invested in the experience of a situation.  On the other hand, all the words we associate with masculinity – focus, competition, logic – matter if our priority is on the results of a situation.  

To show the difference in that episode, I shared the example of drinking coffee – if you drink your coffee for the flavor, taste, and the ritual, that’s for the experience of the coffee, and that’s a more feminine way of drinking coffee.  If you drink your coffee for the caffeine, that’s for the results of the coffee, which is a masculine way of drinking coffee.

Well, the same thing goes for your time management.  The truth is that how we do things matters more than what we do, and when we change the way we do things, we get a better result.

The best way I teach my time management coaching clients how to do this is to intentionally choose how they want to feel before they do anything.  The way we feel when we’re doing something matters just as much as the result we’re getting.

The truth is that the result will be much easier to get when you enjoy the process.  This is how you have a productive, balanced day where you feel in control of your time.

When you learn how to enjoy the process, you approach time management in a much more feminine way.

#3 – Work from inside-out versus outside-in – as women raised in a male-dominated society, where the rules were created for and carried out by men, we are taught to adhere to an authority outside of ourselves.  Whether it’s a religious deity, government, society, or medicine, we are taught to follow the rules that were created mainly by men.

What a feminist approach teaches is that you are your own authority, to listen to your own wisdom, and to check in with yourself more.  What Kate Northrup explains is that when you organize your calendar from an inside-out approach, that means you are listening to your own inner authority before listening to an outer authority; or if there is an outer authority, like a mentor or a coach, they still don’t know how to live your life better than you.

When I work with coaching clients on time management, I offer them a framework and a lot of helpful ways to better manage their time so that they can create more time, but I also tell them to take what they like and leave the rest.  I am not their authority when it comes to how they should manage their time or their lives.

So stop giving your power away to outer authority and ask yourself, “Does this feel right to me?”  The truth is that if you focus on what you’ve deemed important versus what others have, you will find endless reserves of energy.  

Another suggestion I make with my time management coaching clients is to make your schedule from a place of love for the future version of you that has to follow the calendar.  In other words, while you’re laying out your calendar, be kind to the future you that has to follow that calendar and make it as easy as you can for her to be successful in her time management; make as many decisions ahead of time as you can to reduce her decision fatigue; set her up for success.

I can also tell you from experience that allowing my boss to let me know what he would like to have done and in which order he’d like it done, but then being my own authority on how I get it done, has made it possible to be more productive and enjoy the process at work.  I just decided a long time ago that a paycheck wasn’t worth being miserable along the way to cashing it.

When I manage my time, I make sure I choose how I want to feel, no matter how anyone else is feeling or behaving, and I get more done in less time because I take a feminist approach to time management.  Just because the other accountants around me are stressed and unhappy, my inside-out approach helps me to be more focused and productive, helping me to balance my time and my life.

Hopefully, I’ve given you some things to consider in regard to feminist time management – begin to look at time as cyclical versus linear, start being more process-oriented than results-oriented, and be the authority over your time by taking an inside-out approach rather than an outside-in.  Just know that time is truly a gift when you are open to approaching it differently.




A feminist approach to time management takes into account that when stress rises, the need to feel in control rises too.

By starting to implement a more feminist approach to time management, you’ll begin to develop a system for you and by you rather than for others and by others.