that at first glance they think aren’t time management related. Our session may be after they’ve just hung up the phone with someone or come out of another meeting or their week has been generally, extremely stressful. These stories can’t help but come up in the initial catch up phase of the session and they’ll often apologise mid-story for ‘getting off track’.
Something I’ve learnt through the work that I do is that nothing is ‘off track’. So I encourage my clients to keep going with their stories. And it’s the truth, nothing is ‘off track’ because everything in our lives impacts our time and how we manage it. If something is on a client’s mind then talking it out and finding the gems in the learning only aids in their time management skill-building. Being able to apply their learnings to real-life situations not only embeds the skills but also opens up awareness on a whole other level.
Take for example if a person is annoying you – maybe it’s in a work context or a personal one. Recently a client of mine had this experience and felt like she was simply venting to me but as we dug a little deeper in actual fact, that person was sucking her time. Taking up hours in phone calls, emails, and unnecessary discussions, as well as precious headspace. What my client learnt from digging into this was how to manage this situation going forward and how to apply boundaries. She also came face to face with the old adage ‘every yes is a no to something else’. Realising just how much time she was losing to this person instead of being able to apply it to important items on her own workload was a game-changer.
How about when you’ve had a disaster of a morning and everything’s not going to plan? This was one of my favourite sessions with a client. I noticed the moment she popped up in the video call that she was not in her usual place but was calling me from her car. I asked her about the change in venue and she groaned, dropped her head in her hands and said “Ohhhh, today’s just been horrendous.” She went on to tell me what had happened to her that day. It seemed like one thing after another had happened, appointments running over which created the domino effect of being unable to ‘catch up’. When I asked her to think back to the events of the morning she was able to pinpoint the moment of derailment to a phone call that she really should have asked to schedule for another time. Instead, she had bit her tongue and went along with the other person’s needs and now she was paying for it! We workshopped how she could have handled it differently, preparing her for similar events going forward. It was enlightening for her to see how one decision had affected so many people in her day and to reflect on the stress it had placed on herself.
Another client of mine had had a week of migraines and was generally not feeling well. She apologised profusely to me for having “nothing to report”. On the contrary, what came about was actually setting up a framework to help her get back on the horse when she may encounter this again. It also gave us valuable data as to what had led to her feeling unwell in the first place. A combination of late nights, too many unrealistic deadlines and lack of relaxation time had been the ticket and we got in place plans to address all of them.
So as you can see everything comes back to managing your time. Nothing is off track as life is just one big time management exercise. The next time that you criticise yourself for having become distracted by something, take another look, it might just be a time management lesson in disguise.