Article written by Nadya Saib, CEO of Wangsa Jelita, for the EVE webmagazine
Setting priorities for me goes back to two things: my values in life and the roles or responsibilities I have committed myself to. The former are easier to define. The question is always,” Is this consistent with my values?” For me, people and relationships are more valuable than anything else, so all the things that are related to them will be on top of my priority list. It is somehow trickier to deal with different roles and responsibilities. I am the Co-CEO in my company but at the same time I am also a daughter, a sister, an aunt, and a friend, etc. Sometimes two or more of these roles demand my attention at the same time. When that happens, I usually ask myself,” Which task is the most urgent?” As far as I’m concerned, if it’s family, friends, or work, it’s urgent. The rest can and should wait.
Another question that I also ask myself when setting my priorities is,” Am I the best person to do this?” If there’s someone who can do it better than me, and it’s urgent, I’ll immediately delegate. Then I’ll find another task that is just as urgent and which I’m the best person for, and I’ll do it straightaway.
An important key in setting priorities is to acknowledge that, first, I can only do so much in one day and need to be realistic about it. It is unwise to say “Yes” to any tasks, responsibilities, or even opportunities to come my way. But that does not necessarily mean I would say “No” at all times either. It simply means that I always need to remind myself of my limitations. On a related note, most things in life are negotiable. So, whenever I can negotiate in order to buy myself time, I will. And then I’ll set realistic expectations for everyone involved, including myself.
Another thing that helps me set priorities is to accept that I am the same person in and out of the workplace. It is ridiculous to think that I’m only available for work between 9 and 5, and outside those hours my time is strictly my own. As much as I would want to spend my time just as I wish, life just doesn’t work that way. There are times when I must work in the evening at home, or travel in the weekend, when both are usually family times. At other times I have to work from home or even take whole days off because my family or friends need me. It is only when I accept that things do not always go as planned that I find it easier to navigate my mental and emotional states to make good decisions and set the priorities even better.
The reason I mention this is because I believe this is profoundly important, especially for women and for those who take on many roles whether in the community, at home, or within an organization. Too often, we are being too hard on ourselves and feel guilty about not being able to fulfill our roles in one domain when we have to complete some task in others. When guilt is left unaddressed, piled up, and gets out of control, it can be extremely paralyzing and can ruin our health. It is important to remind ourselves that things don’t always go smoothly as planned and instead, sometimes they will put us off balance. But that’s okay. That’s just how life is.
Nadya Saib graduated as a pharmacist from Bandung Institute of Technology. In 2008, together with two friends, Nadya founded Wangsa Jelita. Supported by British Council and Arthur Guinness Fund, Nadya’s team gives the rose farmers community new skills to process the roses and conducts a fair trade practice. Wangsa Jelita has grown to be the top 100 Indonesian social enterprises in 2015 according to a national business magazine, SWA Magazine. Nadya also serves as Ashoka Consultant. She is an active contributor and frequent speaker on social entrepreneurship, women’s empowerment, and natural beauty products formulation.