If you’re new to the industry or if you don’t have all your ducks in a row in your coaching practice, building your career as an extraordinary coach can get to be overwhelming.
I know some really great people — people who are clearly born to coach — give up and quit because they couldn’t take the pressure. One of the biggest problems, even expert coaches, face is this: time. Or rather, the lack of it.
This isn’t really surprising. Time is a limited, non-replenishable resource. So we all find ourselves fighting for more. Maybe you wish you had more time to spend with each individual client so you can accelerate results. Maybe you wish you had more time to spend with your family so you can create closer bonds. Maybe you wish you had more time to yourself.
But as they say, wishing won’t make it so. Whatever your reason for wanting more time, one thing’s for certain: You can't change the fact that there are only 24 hours in each day. We all get the same amount and not a second more.
What you can do is to manage and control whatever time you do have.
It’s called effective time management and it's the key to your success as a coach. When you know how to manage your time, you'll take control of your life, rather than feel like you’re getting swept away with the tides. Time management also helps you to increase your focus, keep your momentum and improve your decision-making abilities.
Here are 5 time-saving techniques that will help you master each precious moment.
Time-Saving Technique#1: Cut Down on Decision Making
Making decisions steals a ton of time. When you don’t know what you need to do next, you’ll waste a whole lot of precious minutes, hours, days or even weeks, trying to make the right decision.
A powerful way to avoid this is to know your true priorities. Your priorities create the pillars that support the big picture of your life. They serve as guidelines when you need to make decisions on how you’re going to spend your time.
So, write down your priorities. Then break them into three categories: short-term, medium-term and long-term priorities. Make sure you keep this list somewhere, where you can see it and refer to it.
The next time you’re faced with a decision like, “Should I spend time on this new project or complete my current one?” just glance at your list.
Whichever project moves you closer to your top priorities in each category, is the one you should choose.
Time-Saving Technique #2: Organize Right
You know you need to use an organizer. You may even have one in front of you right now or open on your screen.
But do you really know how to use your organizer in a way that actually saves you time? Your organizer is like a mobile command centre that should keep track of your information, calendar, clients, training sessions, deadlines and all the rest. But keep in mind that an organizer is only as good as the number of times that you check it.
It’s pointless having an organizer if you never fill it with the tasks you need to get done and deadlines that you need to meet. Or maybe you go so far as to fill it but you don’t get to checking it. This is as good as not having an organizer at all. Your tasks get sidelined, you miss appointments and deadlines and you find yourself playing catch up.
Most importantly, you end up wasting a lot of time. So find an organizer you like, fill it with what needs to get done and check on it a few times a day. If you find yourself forgetting to do that, set an alarm on your phone so you’ll remember to look at your organizer.
Time-Saving Technique #3: The Urgency Carousel
The urgency carousel is about getting to the important AND urgent tasks versus something that’s merely urgent.
Here’s what I mean…
Do you often feel like everything you have to do is extremely "urgent"; and that it all needs to get done, right this second? This can drive you crazy if it hasn’t already.
There’s a simple way to chart out your to-do task list so you always know which tasks need your focus and attention. Here's how to do it. Separate your tasks into four types:
Urgent and important
Urgent but not important
Not urgent but important
Neither urgent nor important
Just to be clear, urgent tasks are usually tied to a timeframe and a deadline. Important tasks have are much more critical because they have a long-term impact on your life. For instance, preparing for a client meeting that’s about to happen in an hour is urgent. Getting enough exercise everyday is important.
When you separate your tasks, you’ll immediately be able to see all the tasks that are both urgent and important. These need to be completed first. Then focus on tackling urgent but not important tasks followed by not urgent but important tasks.
Aim to reduce your number of urgent and important tasks because juggling too many urgent matters at once can lead to a great deal of stress and time wasting.
Time-Saving Technique #4: Quality over Quantity
Start the habit of doing only high-quality work and ditch the high quantity work. What this means is, if you plan and execute your work well, you won't have to put in extra hours at the end of the day.
One of the secrets to staying productive and getting the job done is to take breaks. Don’t make the mistake of working through lunch hour or past your sleep time just to get something done.
If you do, your brain and body will get tired in a way that causes you start feeling unfocused. This leads to mistakes and mistakes waste time. So, do yourself a giant favor and take frequent breaks.
Get away from your computer. Take a walk. Have a stretch. Put on your favorite song and dance. Whatever takes your mind away from what you’re doing — even if it’s just for 5 minutes — will get you working faster and better.
Time-Saving Techniques #5: Funnel Your Focus
Funnel your focus by blocking out distractions.
This means social media, phone calls and incessant email checking. You may think, “Let me just spend 5 minutes on Facebook. I just want to see if anyone has liked my post.” First, it’s unlikely you’ll be there for just 5 minutes because social media platforms are designed to draw in your attention and keep it there.
But even if you manage to escape in 5 minutes, how many times a day are you actually spending “5 minutes” doing one little thing or another? Cumulatively, your daily distractions could add up to hours.
The best way to block out distractions is to schedule time for checking emails and updates on social media and even for taking phone calls. This will help you focus on getting your work done without a million mindless distractions that can cost you your concentration and productivity.
Motivate yourself to stick to your schedule by using a reward system. Give yourself a little treat if you manage to go 3 days in a row without breaking away from your schedule. This could be anything from getting a foot rub to upgrading your concert tickets to the VIP circle.
These time saving techniques work. All you need to do is to practice them everyday until they become second nature. If you feel you’re about to get off track, just think of how good you’ll feel when you finally manage to take control of your time.
You’ll get things done faster, feel less stressed, have more time for the people and things you love without missing a beat at work.
How amazing would that be?
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