My clients are some of the most well-educated, accomplished, and interesting people out there.
They know about self-discipline, hard work, and staying focused. In fact, they’ve been doing it through their youth, in school, and in their work. They’ve succeeded in their businesses or in their fields thus far because they know how to get things done.
That said, time management comes up as a major challenge for nearly all my clients. One would think that as capable as they are, they’d figure out how to best allocate their time to maximize their productivity and returns. So what’s the problem?
First of all, in looking at the circumstances under which time management becomes an issue, I see a few commonalities:
- Getting older: What used to be exciting at age 25 no longer holds the same attraction at 36.
For example, Alicia (name changed), has worked in consulting since graduation. While her skills and talents are fully utilized, she makes a great income, and she finds the work interesting, her travels don’t allow her sufficient predictable time to meet up regularly with friends, family, or to date.
- Energy drain: What seemed like a natural next step in the progression of growth turns out to be a time and energy suck.
Jake is CEO of a startup for which he and his partners hired a friend of a friend with great connections as the VP of business development. After a few months on board, the VP’s selling record is trending the right way but his cutting attitude within the team requires a lot of Jake’s intervention to soothe ruffled feathers.
- Change in personal situation: What seemed reasonable at one point no longer does.
Steve is a solopreneur so that he generally works 60 hours/week. This was fine until his mother-in-law became ill, and he had to step in to care for their young children whenever his wife was tied up. This also made him realize that he would like to spend more time with his family.
While our fundamental personal traits remain the same in life, with greater experience and perspective we develop the capacity to poke our heads up and ask, “is this where I really want to be?”
Two important gauges to check are:
- Sustainability: If this go on indefinitely, will it negatively impact my long-term health and ability to thrive? What about for my organization/business?
- Values: Does this strengthen or weaken my core values? What about those of my organization/business?
Answering these questions is the beginning of getting to the heart of the matter. The core values piece is not always easy to unpack, and that’s where the objectivity of a skilled coach can get beyond the surface and shorten the time to achieve the right goals.
Time management may seem to be the issue at first, but digging deeper will usually lead to a better understanding of the type of actions called for, and to results that can stand the test of time.