A friend told me that time management was one of his biggest life challenges and I know that he’s not alone. I find myself struggling with time management sometimes and I regularly hear about it with clients.
Many people feel like they need more hours in the day. They are struggling to fit everything in and can find it challenging to see how they could be doing things differently. It’s also not uncommon for me to hear people say they want to do coaching to get more out of life but they are unsure about whether they can find the time to do the coaching sessions.
The wonderful irony is that coaching creates time. It assists you in being more effective with the time you’ve got. It’s the closest you can get to actually producing more hours out of nothing. Like magic! Let me explain…
If someone tells me that time management is their issue, it is likely that I can source the cause of the issue within five questions (though usually less). It’s not a gift, or some know-it-all claim; I’ve just done the coaching hours and worked with enough people to have the systems-thinking to allow me to make educated guesses! There are lots of things in life that I know little about, but I know coaching.
So I can say to my friend with the time management issue, let’s call him Mark, “Do you find yourself procrastinating much?” Mark was very confident that he didn’t. That’s one (common cause of time management issues) checked off the list.
“So how do you rate on the ‘perfectionist’ scale?” That one was affirmative. Mark readily admitted that he doesn’t really feel comfortable starting something until he has a sense of certainty that it’s going to work out and/or be up to the standard that he needs it to be.
Interestingly, regardless of whether the cause of the lack of time was procrastination or perfectionism, they are both symptomatic of a lack of confidence. Self-doubts often underlie time management issues. So whether it was procrastination, or perfectionism, or something else, the questions I was asking were really just to determine in what ways confidence issues were playing out in Mark’s life.
Effective time management is about getting from point A to point B via the most direct route. When you doubt your abilities, it’s likely you’ll find yourself going from point A to point B via points C (e.g. looking to others for affirmation), D (e.g. procrastination), E (e.g. creating dramas that take up time), F (e.g. the need for outputs to be perfect) and G (e.g. stress related health problems).
The most effective time management is done by working smarter, not harder. Working smarter comes from increased self-awareness and understanding where you get in your own way. Simple, but often not easy. It’s the kind of understanding that you tap into by asking a question like: What would I do if I wasn’t afraid?
To be able to answer a question like that is one thing. Following through with action and doing what you’re afraid of is a little more challenging. But then, self-development has never really been for the faint hearted (It’s why I regularly find myself in awe of clients who commit to that choice.) It’s so worth it though. After all, we’re talking about your time – is there anything more valuable?