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“I have all the time and energy I need to do everything I want” said nobody ever

Were you under the misconception that engaging with technology would be the root to solving lots of your time management problems? A smartphone so that you can remain up to date with all of your emails – I have 3 email accounts so that’s really handy; the internet so you are up to date with the news; Google in your pocket to enable you to find the answer to everything you ever needed and more. A wireless washing machine, a doorbell come camera to keep said washing machine safe from the rogues. A car that parks itself – how marvellous!

So have you now got loads more time on your hands to get your ‘stuff’ done or do you remain in that fog of being overwhelmed with everything churning around in your head on repeat?!

I coach many people who really have just got themselves into a pickle because they have too much to do and can’t work out how to get it done and still have a life. Not all of these people are high powered, high paid executives; many are front line sales reps who enjoy the added technology of trackers on their vehicles so Big Brother is on hand at all times.

No matter how much technology you have to support your life you still only have the same amount of hours in the day to do everything, including being a supportive partner, a responsible parent and a caring child to ageing parents. The essential part of life that is often lost without trace is balance.

Balance is when the demands upon you equal the time and energy available to meet those demands. If you have too many demands you will not have enough time, the equation is fairly simple.

When you reach an ‘overwhelm’ state it is hard to stop and see everything, because you feel the need to keep going and chipping away at tasks – you haven’t got time to stop. As a very experienced coach I am telling you that you must stop! Go and get something to make or dictate your list on and start emptying everything that is in your head onto the list. Only when you can think of nothing more should you check the list so that you can assess the real issue that you have on your hands, not the catastrophised one that the voices in your head are talking about.

I recommend that you regroup at this point. Divide the list into home and work and then sort into the good old important/urgent groups. What makes something important? To decide this you need to decide what is it that really matters at work and what really matters at home. If something has got to the urgent pile how did it get there? What stopped you from doing it before it was urgent?

When you can start to recognise the blockers you can start to understand them; procrastination is one of the biggest blockers so try and understand why you are procrastinating – usually it’s because there is fear of failure, not sure how to do it, it carries no reward or you are waiting for someone else. Be clear.

Another big step to take is to ask for help; make a list of all of the people who could help you and don’t be shy – ask them. Go through your list with someone you trust and talk about the items – talking brings perspective.

And my final tip today is to be very honest about what you should stop doing. Every time you take on something new you are going to have to find time for it, so start letting go of things that are not important for home or work. Oh yes…and relax!

Penny Whitelock FinstLM

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