A Coaching Power Tool Created by Handan Ascioglu Ozel
(Life Coach – Empowering Women, Expat & Intercultural Coach, NLP Coach, ITALY)
We all had those times in our life when we feel very busy, rushing through tasks, priority, at personal or work level, or both.. Then for most of us something happens, a change in our life, and we even have new things to manage in our life.. and somehow we manage..
I was already officially trained to solve even bigger challenges of conflicting time, money and resources demand; I had a BsC degree in Industrial Engineering, which to me had the main focus in optimisation. Nowadays aren`t we all using or trying to use some sort of optimisation of the many million tasks in our daily lives?
We all get those million things done, and sometimes we even squeeze in some extra personal goals as well. Then in all these stages surely somethings fall off from our list our radar. The first question is which are the things that fall off, are we able to consciously choose what to let go, are we aware that if we don`t choose we might lose what we don`t want to lose. Then the other set of questions are how well we manage all these things we let to pile up in our plate and how well we feel or how well the people around us feel.
When we struggle with these challenges it in general means it is time for a different perspective to organize our life and plan our time and priorities.
When we rush things and have negative results (being late, being unsatisfied of what we do, or not being able to achieve what we want to do at all) the first thing many of us looks is efficiency. In general people look at what can we do quicker, but can you really work through your day quicker without compromising nothing but nothing? When I first changed my daily schedule it looked as if I could finish certain things earlier, but rushing so much during the day meant I felt like a race horse not enjoying anything during the day, and then feeling exhausted not being able to enjoy anything at night either. When I really needed to get something done before a certain hour I could create some efficiencies, doing 2 things at the same time. Again one of but then after completing that thing before that critical time somehow then I would spend more time doing nothing.. I started to realize it must have been my body`s/mind`s way of creating the time needed to recover between activities that were stacked parallel.
Surely parallel processing was creating efficiency that was what we learned in our engineering optimisation. But what I was forgetting that we also learned that the world was going from mass production with many parallel lines, to seeing more benefits from lean production and customisation.. and that was also true for the daily management of our lives as well. What is more important for us; to do a lot or to feel better? Because doing a lot does not always makes us feel better but if we do things that are more valuable specifically to us, both for now and for future then we probably are already doing a good amount of things.
What we learned in engineering classes was the core of optimisation was to be effective first. Only if we are able to reach our goal we shall try to find more efficient ways to do it. When I have a meal, what is my goal? Is it to have good time with my partner than the more efficient way of doing might be going to a restaurant, so we don`t bother with cooking & cleaning and have some nice wine to boost a cosy feeling and a delicious desert to have a nice conclusion, in the end. Is my goal to have a healthy meal? Then buying the fresh ingredients that I prefer to eat and cooking at home the way I want might be an efficient way. However it surely would not be effective if my goal feed my hunger quickly so I can finish a presentation for tomorrow morning? Then checking my work emails while eating would be efficient in this case but will it be effective if my goal was to have good time with my partner?
This perspective about focusing on effectiveness first, and then seeking efficiency will support us to shifting from the rush to a relaxed state, enjoying the peace of mind that we will have progress and achievement, without squeezing in more goals but rather carpe diem more, being effective in the moment.
We can combine effectiveness and efficiency with the GROW coaching model. In the initial steps we focus more on the effectiveness then we combine with the efficiency. When we are exploring our Goal and Reality we need to focus on what would be an effective result to achieve under the current conditions. Then when we explore Options we can look at alternative ways to reach the same effect of the goal in an efficient way. At last in the “Way Forward” we shall choose the most effective actions with the most efficient plans to ensure sustainability even if we face new obstacles & challenges. The crucial point is not to look at efficiency without considering effectiveness.
Some powerful questions to use in time management challenges could be:
GOAL & Effectiveness:
- What would be an effective result to achieve?
- What do effects do you want to see?
- How will you know that you have reached your goal effectively?
- Define your goal in a SMART way (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Timeboud) to ensure effective results.
REALITY & Effectiveness:
- What is effectively working now?
- What do you think about what is not effective in the current situation?
OPTIONS & Effectiveness & Efficiency:
- What are the options that you can follow efficiently so the rest of your life is not impacted?
- Who can help you, to move forward more efficiently?
- What else do you need to be ?
WAY FORWARD & Effectiveness & Efficiency:
- What actions will create the effect you desire in an efficient way?
- What obstacles might you face to reach the effect, in an efficiently way, and how will you overcome them?
- What support do you need to be effective? To do it in an efficient way?
Unstructured rush is clearly disempowering, seeking efficiency in a planned manner would surely help. However for each action in our life, before looking for efficiency, keeping conscious awareness on our core the objectives, we can ensure to effectively reach our goals. Knowing our higher level values and will ensure us to have more clear priorities, and if we effectively reach our goals in the priority order that we have, efficiency will already come as lower priority tasks will not be blocking us.
- What are your daily/weekly goals that you want to achieve that are aligned with your bigger goals/objectives/values in life?
- What can hinder effectively reaching your daily goals?
- What inefficiencies can you let go of to ensure to focus on the main effect you want?