If you’ve ever worked with me you know that I don’t promote ideas that I don’t put into practice myself. Over the last 4 months I’ve been focusing on something that’s not entirely new but is always on my mind, as I’m sure it’s on your mind too! How do I know this? Because it’s something that is constantly in the media and is never far from people’s lips. What’s this ‘not entirely’ new experiment I’ve been implementing?
It’s how to achieve more whilst maintaining a greater sense of balance in life! For years I’ve been exploring all the time management concepts to find the ones that work best. This has been especially important to me since starting Results Coaching all those years ago and is something I have been edging closer and closer to over the years. Recently however, I’ve found a few tools that have been making life easier and I certainly feel much in control.
It all started when I had to return to Ireland for a family event and found I was only able to commit to a total of 4 days before jumping back on a plane to return to New Zealand. It was the busiest time of the year for me and I had a mountain of client commitments, but knew I had to carve out this time for my family. As you can imagine, stress levels (and fatigue) were running at an all-time high and I went looking for a solution. The question I was looking to answer was, how do you deal with all those ‘big rocks’ that just won’t fit into the jar simply because you have too many of them!? The rocks in this metaphor represent all the things that are important to you in your life and the jar is capacity you have to tend to them.
Here are a few of the experiments I’ve been playing around with that might work for you also.
Identify Your High Impact Areas
In work and in life there are always going to be certain areas that are more important than others. This isn’t a mind-blowing concept but how many of us actually take the time to identify these and carve out time to ensure they get done. Here are a couple of tips to help you identify these for yourself:
- Your impact areas are likely to be aligned to your values; for example, family, health, contribution to others, and so on.
- Your role in work should be aligned to a strategy. What are the important areas in your work where you can add the most value?
Once you’ve identified these you should carve out recurring time in your calendar (in advance!) to ensure you get them done. I know other things might cut across them from time to time; however, having them already set up in your calendar reduces this possibility.
Rest when You Need To
So often we run ourselves into the ground trying to do more less important tasks that don’t really add all that much value – it’s quality not quantity that we should be focusing on. However, we can all get tired during the week simply because we have too many of those big rocks. Rather than trying to push on and do mediocre work that takes twice as long because we’re tired and can’t concentrate, rest. You might even be able to sneak off to a meeting room and just close your eyes for 20 minutes; 20 minutes is the ideal time for a nap by the way and if you want to turbo charge yourself, have a cup of coffee before your nap. When you wake up you’ll be super charged and ready to take on the world!
Set a Pace That Works For You
Are you guilty of pushing yourself as hard as you can, leaving nothing for the next task or the people in your life? Here’s a hot tip from Greg McKeown, author of Effortless, don’t do anything that you can’t fully recover from by the next day. In short, slow and steady wins the race. Break up those big tasks into smaller chunks and set boundaries; for example, if you’ve got a tough but important task to complete, don’t set out to complete it all at once. Set a MAXIMUM and a MINIMUM each day. Writing a book is an easy example where you might commit to writing a minimum of 300 words a day and maximum of 1,500 words a day. Even on those days when you don’t feel like writing at all, 300 words is achievable, and when you’ve got the time and energy to write more than 1,500 words, hold off – this will build excitement and motivation for the next day.
If you follow these three simple tips, you’ll find yourself being more productive over the long-term and having more energy throughout your day and for the things that matter.
If you’d like to know more about how to achieve more as an individual or as a team, or if you’d like to explore how coaching can help you become a better leader (of others or yourself!), or even if you’re just generally curious about what professional coaching can offer you, please contact us at any time for a free consultation.
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