Stop Managing Your Time

“There’s not enough time!”

As a wellness coach,  it’s likely been less than 24 hours since either you or one of your clients (or both) made this statement.  Time is obviously an incredibly valuable resource – especially for a coach who’s time is the critical asset.  As a result, there seem to be endless tips on how to “manage our time” in the form of apps, classes, books and training sessions.  However, is it really time that needs to be managed?  Or is it something else?

Certainly, there are many valuable strategies that an individual can utilized to maintain a more organized and productive life (or tips you can utilize to help your clients).  However, for just a moment, let’s stop focusing on those and tune into the idea of your daily rhythms in order to make the most of the 24 hours we all receive each day when the sun comes up.

The goal with this post is to encourage you (and thus your clients) to match up your daily energy trends (or flow or rhythms or whatever you’d like to call it) with what you would like to accomplish during the day.  Let’s consider a simple example…

Reading through a detailed report about the rules and regulations of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) to incorporate into a presentation:  This is a project that could take anywhere from 1-3 hours. In addition, that investment of time could result in a solid outcome or a glossing over of the eyes.  The key to an optimized outcome is where it’s placed into the flow of the day.  Each of us are different, so I’ll use myself as an example for this post.

As an early riser, I’m fresh (high energy, high focus) between 6-10 AM.  Those are some of the highest quality hours of the day for me personally.  If I simply float through my day, working through the various tasks on my desk, the PPACA “task” will likely drift toward the bottom of the list.  I’ll naturally focus instead on those things I enjoy or are “urgent” in nature (thanks to Stephen Covey).  As a result, I’ll likely pick it up to start reviewing around 2:00 in the afternoon.  At that point, my energy is low, my focus a bit off, and this task will BOTH take longer to complete AND be less than optimal in it’s outcome.

So my choice to delay this task until the afternoon comes at a cost of a 2 hour penalty.  And there are plenty of ways in which I could use those 2 hours!

However, what if I were to schedule the daily pursuits based on the flow of the day? What if I were to take on the PPACA pursuit first thing in the morning, when my mind is fresh?  Instead of 3 hours, it would likely be complete within an hour. Instead of dreading the task much of the day, it would be done, producing an additional sense of freedom (and resultant energy) the remainder of the day.  In exchange, I could shift back the components that take less focus (returning phone calls, reviewing LinkedIn updates, etc).  These can be completed in the low energy periods with no “time (or quality) penalty.”

You get the idea.  Take a look at your schedule tomorrow (or go through this with some of your wellness coaching clients).  What period of the day are you at your best? What pursuits fit most effectively into the high energy periods?  The low energy periods?  We are all provided with the same 24 hours each day.  However, by planning out our day based on personal flow/energy will likely result in accomplishing far more in that same 24 hours…

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