Michelle Redfern Advancing Women Calling BS on Busy
I’m Calling BS on Busy

2019 has seen me in both hemispheres, three countries, 5 Australian states and countless locations helping leaders move gender diversity from conversation to action. I’ve been researching, advising, designing, giving keynotes, facilitating and working with organisations across sectors and in sport (of course!) to help them close the leadership gender gap and to create high performing, inclusive workplaces. Put simply, I have been very very busy. No way. I’m calling BS on busy!

You know I loathe the word busy and I don’t value a humblebrag about being busy. So my way of explaining my activity levels is to say that I choose to lead an intentionally full and fulfilling life.

Why am I writing about being busy and get shit done if I am calling bullshit on busy? Because being busy for women has a whole other layer of bullshit expectations about what women should and should not be doing. So getting the right shit done means really assessing what does having it all and doing it all really mean for women?

Calling BS on doing it all

I am asked how do you do it all, how do you fit it all in or my (un)favourite, gee you must be busy!  I usually respond a couple of different ways:

  1. Not many men get asked how they do it all or how they have it all, so why am I being asked?
    • Could it be that its because Australia clings stubbornly to the notion that men will be largely absent from child rearing, home duties, flexible and part-time work and all that it enables?
    • Could it be that women, in our pursuit of the bullshit notion of ‘having it all’ have unwittingly enabled mens lives to remain almost the mirror image of their fathers and grandfathers before them, therefore consigning us to navigating the corporate career jungle on top of the 3 C’s – cooking, cleaning, caring?
  2. I don’t have it all, want it all, nor do I do it all! I make decisions, tradeoffs and juggle priorities as much as the next person. 
    • I have recently made the decision to step away from activity I love to focus more deeply on other activity where I can have greater global impact for women.
    • I have scaled back my board positions in 2019 to free up time for my growing business, a new venture and an exciting new role in 2020.
    • I am constantly coaching myself to feel comfortable to say no. I simply cannot be all things to all people.
    • I have a fair and equitable split of household and emotional duties with my partner.

Nope, I am not perfect. I still over-commit from time to time, but I also say no a lot more, schedule my time more wisely and I now have an I don’t list thanks to some inspiration from Holly Wainwright.

My I Don’t List …..

My I Don’t list enables all that I do. Sure some people could say that I do a lot. But I am also VERY good at NOT doing a lot. Here’s my list (which keeps growing!)

      • I don’t iron
      • I don’t do washing
      • I don’t watch broadcast TV news
      • I don’t run, for anything or anyone
      • I don’t feel guilt for prioritising my sleep, health and my relationship
      • I don’t get out of bed at sparrow fart and boast about it
      • I don’t read women’s magazines
      • I don’t attend breakfast functions (*rarely)
      • I don’t accept ‘can I pick your brains’ meetings
      • I don’t go to meetings without a clear agenda and outcomes in mind
      • I don’t write Christmas cards
      • I don’t tolerate bullshit gladly (*often. Sometimes it goes with the territory)

The one thing that every, single, human in the world has equally is time. Many of us are fortunate to have choice about how we spend our time. One very simple way is this formula to use every day:

      • 8 hours for sleep +
      • 8 hours for work +
      • 8 hours to do anything you choose = 24 hours.

8 discretionary hours to ‘spend’ a day. How are you spending it? What do you think you might add to your I Don’t list now?

I think it is the right time to think about your I Don’t New Years Resolution.  I’ll help you with that, head on over to my newest venture, A Career that Soars! to find out how Susan Colantuono and I are enabling women across the globe to reach their full potential by doing the right stuff and losing the BS.


On reflection (my theme word at the end of each year), I know that being disciplined and realistic about not doing it all, having it all and being everything to everyone has a positive impact on the way I want to live my best life. That extends to taking a break, having a holiday and recharging. So, I am taking a well earned break from Get Shit Done with my wife and family. Now, because this is a bullshit free zone, so I can guarantee you I will not be entirely off the grid as I run my own company (or two!) However, I am more practiced at putting boundaries in place and making it clear what is on my I Don’t list.

I DO use the auto-responder/out of office function regularly for my email. It’s a great way to politely say that I won’t prioritising email, which lets face it, is someone else’s to do list for you! So my OOO message is on (see below), I’m calling bullshit on busy and already planning about how I can help more women and organisations Get Shit Done for gender equality in 2020. What about you?

Tis the season…..🎄🎄🎄

For me to take some leave. I am officially on holidays and whilst I
will be checking my emails, I am prioritising my family, friends and
having break for the remainder of December 2019. So your email will be
answered, but ….well you know…it might take a while. 😵
As always, If you really really (do you really?) need an urgent
response, please feel free to send me a text message. (Number 👇)
Merry Christmas –  Michelle 🎄

Michelle Redfern bio