The Modern Accomplished Woman…Gets Her Work Done

This post is the fourth in a series dedicated to updating Jane Austen’s “accomplished woman” to create a definition more fitting for the modern world.  You can read the earlier posts here, here and here.

I’ve always been a hard worker.

It shouldn’t be a surprise, really. I’m a classic firstborn child: the self-starting, responsible type.

For years I thought this let’s-buckle-down-and-get-to-work attitude was good for two things:  getting good grades and doing well at my day job. Because for years, that’s what “work” meant to me.  It took me years to realize that the ability to get the job done is much more than that:  it’s a life skill.

I grew up and it slowly dawned on me that my “work” wasn’t just limited to my school or my office job. My whole life is comprised of millions of tasks that require choosing and planning and, in the end, just getting the job done.  And since it’s my life I’m talking about, I’d like those jobs to actually be done–and be done well.

And that’s why I’m going to say that the accomplished woman is successful in her work, because her “work” is whatever she’s gotta get done. Noted productivity guru David Allen agrees, broadly labeling “work” as “anything that you want or need to be different than it currently is.”

I’ve been thinking about my work a lot these days.  I’ve been tinkering with my planner and plotting my time and noting the way I use it and thinking of what I want to get done–what’s important, what’s realistic, what’s just a pipe dream for this season. BecauseI’m the one who ultimately chooses what my “work” is, and I want to choose wisely.

This plays out in countless ways in countless real lives, but ultimately, the modern accomplished woman knows what her work is.  And then she gets it done.

What’s the work that you’ve gotta get done?

photo credit: Mike Licht,


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  1. Laundry and household chores (like cleaning and filing) always get put on the back burner for me. Those are the areas where I know I need the most work, but I’d so much rather spend the time reading blogs or pinning cute organization ideas on Pinterest. Being an odd mix of first and last born (13 years between me and my next sibling – 20 years between me and the actual first born), I’ve got aspects of both the perfectionist first born and the come-what-may-no-worries last born, which bascially leaves me with the personality that LOVES having a clean and tidy house, but will take care of the work needed to have a tidy house…tomorrow. 🙂

  2. I am also a first born-get-her-done sort of girl. A while I can be as slothful as the next person if I try( don’t look in my sewing room right now!) .. generally I am a person who is always moving and doing. I don’t sit well, and I am rather a crap-tastic relaxer.

    It must be in the air since I just got done writing about my favorite planner for Wednesday and I hope you will share what you are doing as you tinker with yours! Generally I have decided to run my home like a business (a warm and fuzzy but productive business).. using those principles to makes sure things get done, we stay in right relations with each other and that I don’t go crazy by being snowed under too often.

    I am also taking time for me, laundry and sweeping be darned.. taking 2 hours just to do something that recharges my batteries is important.. and makes me a better mama that is for sure!

    Big goal, but hopefully not a pipe dream. I can’t wait to here what else you have to say on this subject!


  3. sarah beals says:

    I need to do they Meyers Brigg test, and have been thinking about it since your post about going to church. I really think I am an idealist… with recluse tendencies. Is that one of the categories??? ha,ha
    Anyway, I am a classic firstborn…always busy, but had to come to grips with the fact that my busyness was not always productive. This use to drive my husband crazy. He is a “methods” person. I am a watercolor artist. He LOVES Excel spread sheets. I love making lists on post it notes…and then loose them. UGH. I finally succumbed and made myself a weekly planner…and it has helped me tremendously. It helps me to accomplish my goals…although I resisted using it like a cat resists water.

  4. Heather @ Creative Family Moments says:

    First born here too! I agree, and I love David Allen’s methods. Yet I need to be reminded to use them!

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