This blog is for people who find it difficult to be productive. You might be someone longing to improve your productivity and focus. I often hear ‘I don’t feel like I am efficient or focused enough’ or ‘I always put things off until the last minute’ or ‘I never delegate as it’s just easier to do it myself’. And the big one – ‘I don’t have enough time!’ I actually smile inside when I hear that one as I hear it so much and I know I will be able to help.
What is productivity?
Wikipedia tells me that it is:
‘The efficiency of production of goods or services, expressed by some measure.’
And the definition of efficiency, according to the Cambridge Dictionary:
‘The good use of time and energy to achieve a goal, in a way that does not waste any’.
So getting results, without wasting time. What most people want, is to achieve ‘stuff’, and feel good about themselves for it! As we set, follow and achieve goals, it gives us self worth, confidence and yes – happiness. If we don’t, well … the opposite happens.
My experience from coaching people
In my experience of coaching, I often talk to people who find it hard to plan and prioritise, so they can procrastinate and be easily distracted. I also see, sometimes in the same people, a certain pressure to be ‘always on’ that is becoming or has already become unhealthy for them.
So many people don’t have an effective daily routine when they first come to coaching. I have definitely been a culprit of this in the past, and personally I find that it leads to a certain confusion and disorientation in your day – and what’s worse, an underlying panic that you’re missing something important. It’s essential to set aside time to plan daily in my opinion, it makes your day, week and life so much more pleasant.
With regard to being ‘always on’, setting and honouring boundaries between your work and home life is so important. (She says, writing this on a Sunday afternoon! My son is doing his homework next to me and asking me random questions from time to time…. so that’s kind of ok – right?!’). Knowing when and how to switch off, and take time out for yourself, pays back dividends. I definitely need to take my own advice here as my coach often tells me! <books holiday>.
So, how can we all be more productive?
I still lean on a very old book but a very good one to answer this question. I read it back in my twenties, passed to me by my best friend Amanda Bailey, and it has served me well. I was reminded of it recently in a training course by the rather wonderful Caroline Dakin.
So here is my summary of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey with a coaching slant.
- Proactivity. Take the bull by the horns, seize the day and Just Do It! In coaching I help people determine their own circumstances and take charge of their life. What is not to love about that?
- Begin with the end in mind. This one is about understanding your why – which is what coaching is all about really at its essence. What do you really want in your life? Many people don’t know. Discovering and then focusing on what motivates you changes everything.
- Put first things first. Prioritisation! What is important? In coaching we pick what is most important for you in your life and set out your values and goals. We then work on those together.
- Think Win-Win. A positive mindset, wanting everyone to benefit, is what we all want and need more of in this world. I have seen the power of this over and over again in coaching. Dare I say the words affirmations, visualisations and manifestations?
- Seek first to understand, then be understood. Listening. Empathy. Understanding. Those who know me know how passionately I feel about this! I train sales teams about the power of listening. Try listening to understand and not to respond, it will change your life!
- Synergy. This one is about sharing your goals with others to fuel them and give them more power. Coaches offer this for people – we help people stay accountable. If you voice your commitment to someone you are 65% more likely to go on and achieve the goal. It’s the same reason why people do park runs, enjoy Peloton, etc. Working together – works!
- Sharpen the Saw. Last but never least, self care. Eat well, get enough sleep and exercise regularly, take time out for you…blah blah, you all know the score! So why don’t we all do it? Are you prioritising you? Coaches help people set goals around this all the time. It helps to have someone on your team keeping you committed to what you want.
I want to add one of my own to Steven’s list:
Celebrate the Wins! It’s so important to take the time to look back over what you’ve achieved and celebrate that with ritual, raising a glass, going out for dinner, or whatever has meaning for you and the people closest to you.
So how can coaching help with your productivity?
What you might have tried in the past
You’ve perhaps tried to help yourself grow and develop as a person over the years. You have probably read books, used google, talked to friends, watched Ted Talks or YouTube maybe even done training courses and come away really motivated to make change! However usually – for most human beings – the change that you want, doesn’t last. Why is that?
Why coaching will be different
You are unique. And your coaching experience will be too, it’s a one to one tailored partnership. I will give you the space and time to really lean into what you want. Together, over time you will gain more awareness and knowledge about yourself. Together we will take small steps and move you forward.
Coaching is a support mechanism that can help you remain plugged in to what you really want. It will help you get commitment, motivation, focus and clarity.