Creating High Payoff Focus That Accelerates Your Results

by Linda Feinholz · 0 comments

By Linda Feinholz, “Your Success Catalyst”

I kicked off coaching with one of my Platinum Private Coaching clients, Brad, this week. As we discussed the High Payoff Vision that he is setting for himself, he mentioned that one of his goals is to ‘level’ his week.

When I asked him to say more about that, he told me “Well, it’s sort of about getting better handle on my time and how I’m using it. Managing my time. It feels out of balance and out of my control.”

I really appreciated that he didn’t say “I need better Time Management.” It’s a jargon phrase that I have lost patience with. I have to bite my tongue when people use that expression. Twenty-plus years of working with solo-preneurs, executives, and business owners has proven to me over and over that there is no such thing as Time Management. There is Attention Management and Action Management, but not Time Management.

Time just courses and flows. There is no such thing as lassoing and saddling up time and steering it down the trail you want it to take. It takes you on the ride and it’s up to you to get comfortable with that fact and to put your reins on what you actually can control and steer.

So I’ll be working with Brad on techniques that increase his focus on what really needs his attention, and eliminating his distractions, and our starting point is going to be using the following 5 steps:

1 – Set Crystal Clear Goals

Make sure your goals are measurable and observable. If you find yourself saying things like “I want a better handle on my time” you aren’t setting a goal you can actually achieve. Why? Because “better” can mean anything to anyone. I often have to do my ‘Vague Words’ exercise with business teams I work with and this word is one of our gems, along with “I’ll take care of it.” Be very specific with how you’ll be using your time when you reach your goal and how is that different than today? What will ‘done’ look like when you achieve that goal?

2 – List The Actions That Will Get You There

For each goal you can name, list the first actions that will move you towards having it accomplished. My small business clients are often running from one meeting to another, from one problem to solve to another. What is often missed is the critical first step: Design what needs to get done. If you’re moving straight into action, you’re likely to spend twice as much time fixing and cleaning up what didn’t go the way you expected. So take it from the best managers in the world. Start your action list with quiet uninterrupted thinking and planning time.

3 – Calendar Your Time – ALL Of It

Many of my professional clients set meeting times with other people. They then assume they’ll fit in the ‘work’ they need to accomplish for themselves around those meetings. Boy have they got it wrong! Your work time is often five times as valuable as what you are actually giving your attention to. So block off time on your own calendar for meetings with yourself to get your own work done.

4 – Have Boundaries and Stick To Them

When you set time-bound goals, such as the start time for meetings, the delivery date for a project, or the length of time you’ll work on something your productivity soars. Stick to it. Go beyond just putting the name on the calendar. Have an intention for how that time will be spent and write that intention on the top of the page you have in front of you as a reminder you can check in with during that time.

5 – Deflect All Your Distractions

Are you irritated by interruptions? Mauled by email? Nabbed by newsletters? Set specific standards for how you’ll handle phone calls, email, and people at your door. So many of my coaching clients are in the habit of answering questions anytime one is posed. They’re working on a task and someone comes along in the middle of it with a burning issue. Is the building in flames? Probably not (grin).

My clients learn to pause only long enough to set an appointment for people to come back at a set time when they’ll focus on their specific question. Commit to checking with your intention for how you are using your time. Then you’ll know how you’ll respond. That includes turning people away so they get none of your attention while you’re working on the items you’ve got your attention on right now.

Brad is going to start using these techniques this week to gain control over his attention and actions. He’s going to create blocks of time, each day and each week, for using laser like focus and he’ll love every moment of his un-distracted productivity for hours every day!

Now go get focused on what really needs your time, attention and energy and enjoy the flow!

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