Daily Routines is a series by Balance the Grind, profiling successful leaders, entrepreneurs, artists and business executives to explore their routines, habits and rituals.
In our 700+ conversations about work, life & balance, we’ve been asking people, “if you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?” One of the most popular answers is New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, alongside Barack and Michelle Obama.
There’s no real surprise there. As the world’s second elected head of government to give birth while in office, Ardern is a leadership role model for women, and men, around the world. Widely praised for the her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in NZ, Ardern has also suggested a four day work week as a more productive and flexible solution moving forward.
I hear lots of people suggesting we should have a four-day workweek. Ultimately that really sits between employers and employees. But as I’ve said there’s just so much we’ve learnt about Covid and that flexibility of people working from home, the productivity that can be driven out of that.
In May 2019, as a way to show more transparency, the NZ government released the Prime Minister’s Here’s what Jacinda Ardern’s daily routine typically looks like.
According to the diary, she spends 19 hours a week at diaried appointments, made up of meetings, media interviews, government commitments -cabinet meetings, Question Time in parliament, etc. – speeches, public appearances and more. That’s not including the various “appointments related to personal, party political, parliamentary or constituency roles” which would no doubt take up a considerable amount of her time.
With travel factored in, Ardern’s day can begin as early as 6am and finish as late as 10.30pm, with a “considerable volumes of reading required outside those times,” a spokesperson for the Prime Minster said. As a result of her incredibly busy schedule, Ardern doesn’t get to spend as much as time with her daughter, Neve, as she’d like.
Some days I’ll only see Neve once a day. Sometimes I won’t see her at all. Sometimes I won’t see her for a couple of days. That’s hard. But I consider myself lucky to have as much support as I do…We’re just trying to juggle life. And I’m not going to pretend we’re perfect at that.Jacinda Ardern on juggling life as a first time leader, prime minister and mum | Stuff.co.nz
Despite the difficulties of raising a newborn while leading a country, Ardern has found workarounds to integrate her daughter into the daily routine where possible, balancing trilateral meetings with the President of Chile and the Prime Minister of Canada on trade while nursing Neve, as reported by The New Yorker.
Ardern’s partner Clarke Gayford is also Neve’s primary caregiver, a point that she regularly brings up, “what I consistently acknowledge is that I’m not doing anything special in the sense that actually I have a lot of help,” she said to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
The fact that Clarke has the ability to juggle his career and also be our primary caregiver makes all of this possible. But what has struck me the most is from the moment we announced the way that we would make things work, the number of men and women who have said ‘we did exactly the same thing’. There isn’t a lot of discussion about something that has been happening over a number of decades, and we need to normalise that too.How Jacinda Ardern and her little family are changing the world for all women | Now To Love
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