Feeling like a hamster in a wheel?

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In coaching conversations the issue around handling times and tasks is often a topic that clients want to discuss. The common themes are that there is too much to do and too little time to do it in. This is true of face to face coaching and feedback from our online Trust Me Coaching service.

Most people have tried different forms of time and task management. This can begin a To Do list (which often seems just to grow and grow). The next stage is some form of categorization being given to the list or the creation of more than one list: priority one, priority two and priority three. Sometimes that strategy morphs into the quadrant approach: urgent and important, urgent but not important, important but not urgent and neither important or urgent.

All of these strategies and many others have their uses. The risk is that, if they work, they make the user more efficient but not more effective. It’s possible to be world class at tackling the To Do list but highly ineffective in your role.

Of course it’s important to be efficient but without being effective too any strategy creates the hamster in the wheel syndrome that eventually leads to fatigue, burnout or lazy cynicism.

To be effective in your role and thereby make best use of your time, it is vital to understand what it is for.

Here are four top coaching questions that you can apply if you are supporting a colleague or even reflecting on your own practice:

1. What are the three most critical areas of activity for you?

2. In each of those three critical areas, what are the sub-categories that describe those activities?

3. Can you scale those sub-categories according to how much passion you have for them, how much competence you have to do them and how relevant they are to your core business?

4. Will you commit to doing first those tasks that are most relevant to your core business, while demanding your highest competence and passion?

Not only do these questions help to define what needs to be done, but also what should be delegated and what can be dumped.

For more on this approach look up The Sticking Point Solution by Jay Abraham.

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