written by Erica Quam
There are only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. The amount of time you have is never going to change. So, I don't teach coaches time management. I talk to coaches about self management.
Is it possible you have more time than you think? Most coaches talk about how busy they are and how they don't have ANY time to do ANYTHING else.
I call bullshit!
I'm gonna challenge you on this one! (I'm a coach too...so that's my job.) It's time to be honest and get super clear about where to set boundaries. Identify what can be removed from your plate. Take a look at your habits, your stories, and begin to get more creative as you examine things you do over and over again.
#1 – DELEGATE
Do these phrases sound familiar? “By the time I show someone how to do it, I could do it myself” or "they'll never be able to do it as good as I can..."
When you hear yourself say this...it's time to hit the pause button. This is a mindset. This is a story you tell yourself. This is your ego talking. These are thoughts. AND the thoughts aren't true!
If you're like a lot of the coaches I work with, chances are you have a whole lot of stuff to clean off your plate that someone else could do instead. Start keeping track of all of the things you COULD delegate. Assess how long each item takes you to do.
Then, take time to write out a clear expectation around each task with a timeline of when you want it completed. Then hand it off to someone else: an administrative assistant, an assistant coach, a volunteer or student assistant, etc. The question to ask yourself is, "what does this look like when it's done and done well?" (There are two levels there...the first level is done...the second layer is done well...that's what you're going to teach them to focus on to live up to your expectations.)
Yes, this is hard work. Yes, it may take you more time on the front end to get clear. Yes, you will resist this. And...this is what great leaders do.
This will free up your time to focus on more important things!
#2 – SCHEDULE A TIME TO CHECK EMAIL & SOCIAL MEDIA
Do you start your day checking email or responding to the multitude of alerts and vibrations that buzz into your phone?
First, turn your alerts off. Your phone is training you to be distracted. You get a hit of dopamine every time you respond to an alert. This distracts your focus and keeps you in a constant loop of reactivity. It also increases your levels of stress and anxiety!
It’s one thing to take a few minutes to respond to an important email. It's another to get off track every time a new email or alert comes in that you feel obligated to respond to. It's time to change your habits.
Set up your day up in advance. Outline what you need to get done. Prioritize your top 3 things.
Have scheduled and limited time when you check your email and social media. Otherwise, shut it down.
#3 – GET HELP AT HOME
The simple act of hiring someone to help you at home - even once a month - will change your life. And you don't need to justify it to anyone. Hire a house cleaner. Get a personal assistant. Find someone to mow your lawn. Order a food service a few times a week. What would make the biggest difference for you?
Kerry and I used to struggle to get our lawn mowed each week. We dreaded it. We would procrastinate and put it off until we were embarrassed. Our yard was so unsightly we didn't even want to look at our neighbors. Then, it took 3 hours or more to get the yard done because the lawn mower we had because it was so crappy.
My coach challenged us to get that off our plate. "If you have problems getting everything done and you have money to solve the problem...then you no longer have a problem."
We were scared to do it. We weren't sure we could afford it.
It's been a big lesson for us. It's totally worth it. We're so joyful to come home to a beautifully edged and mowed lawn. We realized it's an investment in our own joy and happiness. Now, we gladly go mountain biking or hiking on the weekend knowing the yard will get done...and we don't have to do it.
Finding someone to help you at home will improve your relationship with your partner, your kids, your friends...and you'll feel an incredible sense of gratitude and abundance. That is all.
#4 – OUTLINE CLEAR EXPECTATIONS
Here's a common scenario summed up in a single paragraph...see if it resonates with you at all:
Hire an assistant coach. Get very excited to have a new person on board! Yay! Tell them a few things to do. Get busy the next day. Expect them to do things but don't tell them what those are. Get frustrated and complain to other coaches or colleagues that your assistant doesn't do anything you want them to do.
What to try instead: Lay out what you expect from your assistant coach in a step-by-step format. Spell out the results you want with a specific timeline. Take time each day to continue this training. It requires clarity, focus and consistency. And it pays off.
The hardest part about this is starting. If you do this once, then you have a training manual you can continue to edit and fine tune for the next assistant coach you'll hire in the future. (You can even delegate part of this to your assistant to add to it make it even better!)
#5 – GET OUTSIDE SUPPORT
Just because you are a coach does NOT mean that you should “go it alone.”
When I got my first head coaching job, I hired a coach to work with me each week. I can’t tell you how much time I saved because of what I learned from her! She kept me focused, accountable, and clear about my next steps.
A coach will be able to see (way earlier than you can) all the things you’re doing to distract yourself from your vision and goals....then help you get back on track.
A coach can help you prioritize and set boundaries for yourself....learn what to say yes to and when to say no.
It’s time to reach out, get a mentor, or hire a coach. Surround yourself with other successful coaches who will get real with you about how you're wasting time!