Whenever a business client requests assistance to improve his or her time management skills, I often find myself chomping at the bit to work on a mindset change first – rather than suggesting a wide range of time management strategies.
As a business coach, the words ‘time management seems to strike terror in the heart of many of my clients. Many are under the illusion that conquering time management will change their lives and make them an overnight success. Many have also spent years beating themselves up for not being effective or organized enough.
There are many business owners who get angry with their creative, unorganized, side or the part of them that would rather take a walk in the park than sit down in front of their Business Activity Statement. A common trend is for people to chastise themselves for not managing their time as other people do, or secretly preferring an alternative way of doing things that don’t fit in with the usual time management ‘norm’.
I am going to share with you a process to celebrate and own the unorganized parts of us that make us who we are today.
While I admit this process may not work for the die-hard procrastinators amongst us, I have always found that is much easier to acknowledge and support that disorganized or creative part in you than stuff it down or label it as an annoying behavior or habit that makes you feel like a time management failure.
In my experience, the more you try to work to someone else’s schedule or force-time management skills on yourself, the more likely you are to self-sabotage those important tasks that you need to get done. You are also more likely to spit the dummy and spend the evening beating yourself up.
So, as an alternative, why not try celebrating those disorganized parts of yourself as they are part of the wonderful person you are today?
Let’s use one of my clients as an example. John (a small business owner) came to me complaining that he felt stifled being inside his work office all day. Rather than working, John would find himself staring out of the window avoiding key tasks.
Rather than insisting that John implemented time management strategies into his day, we discussed that it may be far more effective for him to take a voice recorder out with him for a long walk in the morning. This way, John actually felt more alive, more creative, and often came up with far more inspirational ideas than he did stick in front of his desk.
Also, on finishing his work, he felt much more motivated to complete the tasks he had been avoiding.
Claire was another client who complained that she only felt creative and motivated afternoon. Again, rather than setting Claire up with strict strategies to get her moving each morning, she decided she would work from noon until 7 pm. Claire now feels excited about her day and is happy to let those creative juices fly.
The key is to make time work for you – not fit in your personality around time. Try working with your disorganized parts, not against them.
In addition, celebrate your disorganized bad habits and poor time management skills. I am sure if you look hard enough you will realize they have served you in a positive way in the past.
Lisa Phillips is an experienced Business Coach based in Sydney.