Tag Archives: time management

Priorities Direct Effective Time Management

It is an illusion to think that you can actually manage time. You are given 24 hours in a day. Period. You can’t manage time. You can only manage yourself and how you use your time.

Effective time management occurs when you organize yourself so that you spend your time doing those tasks that are in alignment with what matters most to you. Surviving financially, being successful in a job or career, sustaining a good marriage, doing a good job raising your children, getting a good education, spending time with family and friends, assisting and supporting family in times of need, and expressing your creativity are some of the kinds of things that often matter to people. But, we are all different. What matters to you is unique to you.

Do you know what matters most to you? Your priorities? Until you do, you will be a ship without a rudder on a sea of time. Time keeps passing even if you are drifting through it with no clarity about your course and possible destinations. It is easy to let time slip away or to spend time on activities that aren’t important when you aren’t clear about the best use of your time in service of your goals and desires.

When you are aware of what matters most, you are prepared to plan your time to include necessary actions in service of what is important to you, what makes your boat float or what keeps you afloat and is in alignment with your values, goals, hopes and dreams.

Take a moment to jot down the “big rocks”, those things that are most important to you. If you have difficulty identifying what they are, have a conversation with someone who knows you well who can share their observations about what really matters to you. Or, hire a coach to partner with you to identify your values and the parts of your life that are worthy of an investment of your time.

Coaching is an effective process for identifying your priorities and learning how to organize your time so that your actions are in alignment with your priorities. Schedule a free 30-60 minute Back on Track phone coaching session with me to explore your priorities and the opportunities to learn effective time management.

What Is an ADHD Organizer Coach?

People with ADHD function best when they get support from others who understand

An ADHD organizer coach can coach by phone and work in clients' homes to help get organizing done.

An ADHD organizer coach can coach by phone and work in clients’ homes to help get organizing done.

the nature of ADHD. An ADHD coach can provide that support. ADHD coaching helps people with ADHD manage their symptoms and discover ways to lead more organized, productive, intentional and fulfilling lives.

There are currently two good coaching options for people with ADHD: an ADHD coach or an ADHD organizer coach. An ADHD coach is a trained coach who has chosen to specialize in coaching people with ADHD. An ADHD organizer coach is both a professional organizer and a coach. ADHD organizer coaches are typically trained both in coaching and in working with ADHD coaching clients.

Disorganization is a common ADHD challenge that causes problems in many areas of life. What sets the ADHD organizer coach apart from the ADHD coach is that she/he is qualified to address a client’s organizing challenges as well as other common ADHD challenges like time management, emotion regulation, getting things done, consistent followthrough, making decisions, impulsivity, memory problems, relationship challenges, etc.

Because an organizer coach is required to have hands-on organizing experience in order to become a Certified Organizer Coach® (COC), and a majority of people who seek the services of professional organizers have ADHD, those who become COCs have undoubtedly logged  many hours working side by side with people who have ADHD. That gives them first hand knowledge of the way ADHD typically shows up, not only in organizing issues, but also in time and task management challenges. They also come to coaching with experience and knowledge about what works to help people with ADHD clear clutter and set up and maintain organizing systems that work for them.

Getting things done, initiating action and sustaining action to completion is difficult for people with ADHD, particularly if tasks are overwhelming, boring or repetitious. Clearing clutter and getting organized can be both overwhelming and boring. Unlike the ADHD coach, an ADHD organizer coach can work with clients not only over the phone, but in a home or office setting. When it appears that clutter and organizing issues are impeding client progress, an ADHD organizer coach can work side by side with clients to clear clutter, set up organizing systems, and get organizing done.

If you have ADHD and have clutter and organizing challenges, an ADHD organizer coach can help you with both challenges. I am an ADHD organizer coach. Email to schedule a free 30 minute phone consultation to explore the option of ADHD coaching to make your life more manageable.

Time Management = Choices and Self-Awareness

Today I observed my mental processes while making decisions about how to use my

Keep an eye on what you want in the future when you make time management choices today.

Keep an eye on what you want in the future when you make time management choices today.

time today. I watched myself identify my options, evaluate my options, and then choose what I would do next. My self-observation helped me see that time management is not about the perfect calendar or some magic time saving strategy. It is about identifying choices, factoring in what you know about yourself and how you work best, and then making the best choice given what matters most.

Watch my video Time Management Is About Choices & Self-Awareness to hear my story and the choice that I made.

Postscript — This will make sense after you watch the video.

Success! When I returned to my office instead of running errands, I went right to work. I very quickly made two videos (no easy feat!), and finished the outline for my social media content for June. Had I run errands, as was my auto-pilot inclination, I doubt I would have gotten those difficult tasks done today!

ADHD: Creating Visibility to Calm Emotions and Complete Tasks

young attractive brunette with six arms multitasking her workMy ADHD clients, when asked about time management and task completion often describe their process of handling multiple competing obligations and tasks like this, “I had so much to do that I got overwhelmed and didn’t get anything done.”

One possible reason for their apparent paralysis is that they had too much incoming and no method for organizing, prioritizing and strategizing how they’d handle the influx of tasks that had landed on their mental to do lists.

So, this past week when a coaching client came in with the same type of challenge described above, I was excited to have the opportunity to learn more about that overwhelm/shutdown dilemma that is so common for people with ADHD. Together we could look at the reality of her current situation and develop awareness of what actually happens when too much lands on her plate. With that information we would be in a good position to generate ideas of what she can do moving forward to manage multiple tasks and task influx and keep moving.

As I listened to her describe the projects and associated tasks that had just heated up, what I noticed was that it seemed that all that incoming information was being carried in her head. She was attempting to keep track of all that had to be done and had been done with her memory alone.

Anyone would have difficulty carrying so much information in memory, given the complexity of the projects she described. However, one of the hallmarks of ADHD is having an unreliable memory and great difficulty with working memory. The way she was currently managing her project obligations was the equivalent of trying to capture all the details of her projects in a sieve. Some tasks were getting done, the lucky ones that got caught in the sieve, but even so, my client was aware that she didn’t have a complete grasp of all that needed to be done, thus she felt anxious.

I checked in with my client about how she was keeping track of all the tasks to be done. Was she in fact relying on her memory alone to manage her projects? Yes, all that data was floating in her head, stirring up anxiety. We discussed the option of making the projects and associated tasks visible, pulling them out of her head and onto paper or a computer screen. I call this “dumping your brain.” She liked that idea.

In our discussion my client admitted that by trying to keep everything in her head she really couldn’t see the total picture of her current obligations. Not being able to see her reality made her anxious. She also couldn’t see what she already had done, something that could have eased her anxiety and motivated her to keep going despite feeling the weight of responsibility associated with her projects. Writing out the tasks associated with each project would make it much easier to determine priorities, a timeline, a sequence for taking action and resources needed and available to complete the tasks. 

By combining memory with making project details and tasks visible, my client agreed that she would in a better position to create an accurate picture of her reality, to develop a doable, strategic action plan, and initiate and complete tasks from a position of feeling in control and empowered instead of running on anxiety and urgency or becoming paralyzed by overwhelm. In our session she moved from “freaked out” by all she needed to get done to excited at the prospect of creating a visible action plan. Not being able to see the full picture of her obligations kept her anxious and overwhelmed. Creating visibility would help her manage her anxiety and make successful completions more likely.

Where are you shut down, paralyzed by the weight of the obligations you carry in your head? Make them visible and watch the tyranny of your emotions ease so you can spend your energy on effective thinking, planning and strategizing when and how to get them done instead of needing to spend valuable energy to manage anxiety and other uncomfortable feelings that emerge when you’re operating in the dark. 

Lack of Awareness Affects Productivity, Creates Stuckness

One reason we get stuck and fail to make positive progress toward our goals is because it’s so easy to get off track and be totally unconscious of the fact that we jumped the rails. For example, I recently was working effectively and efficiently in my office when I encountered a computer problem. Because I hate to have anything not working properly, I began trying to solve the problem. You know how that goes. It’s like going down a rabbit hole–many twists and turns, much time wasted, and still no resolution.

At some point along the way it hit me that I was wasting valuable time and not making progress on tasks I wanted to get done that day. When I weighed my options I realized solving that problem at that moment was a choice, not an imperative. With that hit of awareness I was able to change course and get back to work. Had I remained unconscious about the time I was wasting, as many people do, especially people with ADD/ADHD, I could have lost the opportunity to get an enormous amount of important work done.

If you are prone to such side trips, getting caught up in things that are not top priority, becoming aware of when you are off track and aware of the ways you can be lured off track is imperative if you want to be productive. I got back on track because I have a good time sense and a strong drive to accomplish my goals. My sense that time was slipping away as I worked to fix the computer problem got my attention and made it possible for me to pause long enough to become aware of the choice I had regarding the focus of my efforts.

Another way to create the opportunity for awareness is to set an alarm on your phone to go off every 20 to 30 minutes. When the alarm sounds, consider it a cue to pause and notice whether or not you are doing priority work. If you’re off track you can then shift back to work that will make it possible for you to reach your goals.

A lack of awareness that you are drifting away from priority work leads to being stalled in your efforts to move forward and eventually to being stuck. You choose. Stalled and stuck or aware and moving toward your goals!

A great way to develop awareness of priorities, of what derails your efforts to be productive, and ways to keep yourself on track and moving forward is to work in partnership with a coach. Developing awareness is the first step in the coaching process and is the first step to better time management.

To learn more about coaching, email me to schedule a 30 minute free consultation to explore the possibility of coaching as a way to get unstuck and improve time management and productivity.