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Get better at time management and be more productive



Given the amount we all have to juggle these days, it's not surprising that time management and productivity come up a lot in coaching.


But coaching isn't about giving advice, so the general process is to explore

  • How is time an issue for you?

  • What is stopping you from being as productive as you'd like to be?

  • How could you think and what could you do differently that would help?

...and then

  • experiment with implementing different options

  • review and adjust those or try out other options

  • repeat the things that work until they become embedded as your habitual way of doing things.


And as everything we choose to do starts with how we think, we need to explore WHY you make the choices you do and change the way you think first.


BUT...you don’t know what you don’t know, so if my client is really stuck and can’t think of any options that would help them,

  • I share some basic stuff that's helped me and other clients as an example, and

  • We explore if and how something similar could work for them until we get to an approach they can easily experiment with.


So the rest of this blog gives you some ideas of questions to ask yourself and things to do based on where you feel the issue is. Is it either or both of

  • WHAT you're doing, and

  • HOW you’re doing it?


AND I would say this wouldn't I...as with any change you want to make, you're likely to get better results faster if you work with a coach as it can be hard to challenge your own thinking and stay accountable for change on your own (see this blog that explains the options for making lasting change and how you can maximise your chances of success).


So first of all you need to start with some analysis...



Where's the issue?

You may instantly have a pretty good idea of where your issue is, in which case have a look at the WHAT and HOW section of this blog for some ideas on what you might want to consider or ask yourself.


If not, and you feel that time just runs away with you, then a great option to explore what's going on is to keep a track of what you're doing over the period of a couple of weeks.


Just take a few minutes at the end of each day to review and make a note of what you've been doing and then after a couple of weeks have a look for trends or themes.

  • Where did you plan on spending your time and where did you actually end up spending your time?

  • What caused you to deviate from your plan?

  • Split what you do into logical categories e.g. email, team meetings, specific projects etc. How much time are you spending on each?

  • How much time are you spending on the tasks you need to do to meet your objectives and is it enough? If not, how much more time do you need for those tasks and what are you doing instead?

  • What else are you doing?

  • What is taking you longer than you think it should?

  • How much time are you really working compared to your contracted hours?

  • How big is the issue? How much time do you feel you need to find before you could say you have the right balance? How much more productive do you think you should be and how would you know if you were?


This should give you an idea of whether you need to look at...



WHAT you're doing, HOW you're doing it, or a mixture of both


These are some of the common areas to explore that I have either covered (follow the links) or will cover in separate blogs.

  • Planning and diary management

  • Workload/Boundary management

  • To-do list and email/message management

  • Managing distractions and getting the big stuff done!

  • Delegating

  • Inefficient working practices

  • Are you striving for perfection?

  • Are you lacking in motivation?

  • Are you struggling because you're already stressed?


Planning and diary management