Living on Purpose: Balancing time and priorities
Eagle County CO, Colorado
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado ” “I need more time!” my coaching client Randy said in frustration. “Everything feels urgent and important! I am not as efficient as I could be at work. I react to my schedule instead of being in charge of it. I’ve heard about organizational strategies, but I don’t have time to implement them.”
“Before we get into strategies, tell me where else you feel a shortage of time,” I said.
“I feel pressed for time at home.” Randy added, “Everything is on fast forward from the moment I walk in the door at the end of the day. I help Tina make dinner; we eat, clean-up, do evening activities or help with the kids’ homework. I either study or we watch television, and then it’s time for bed. On the weekends, I try to catch up with whatever didn’t get done during the week.”
“Are there any other areas of frustration?”
“I am behind in things like my dentist appointment. It’s been a year since my last check-up. I need new glasses, but haven’t had time to get my eyes checked.” He added, “In this category would also be routine maintenance on the cars and the house. It’s a never-ending list.”
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“Are you pressed for time anywhere else?” I asked.
“That’s about it,” Randy replied.
“Let’s create a Priority List from a tool called the Wheel of Life that looks at the eight major areas of your life,” I said, writing down the following categories: Physical Environment, Career, Family and Friends, Significant Other/Romance, Fun and Recreation, Health, Money and Personal Growth. Randy ranked the categories in order of importance and completed his Priority List.
Family and Friends was his number one priority. Significant Other was number two and so on down the list. He struggled with some categories, but finished his Priority List.
“Using last week as an example, let’s create a Time table to see where you spend your time,” I said. “Put a one next to the category where you spend the most time and continue through number eight.”
Once finished, we compared the lists ” his Priority List and his Time List ” to see where things may be out of balance. Two areas jumped out immediately. It seemed he was spending more time at work and not enough with Friends and Family.
“Are these areas out of balance?” I asked.
“Yes,” he replied. “I’d like to spend less time at work and more time with my family and friends.”
“How will you make that happen?” I asked, reminding him that small changes are easier to incorporate.
“It’s not that easy,” Randy replied. “This exercise identifies where the problem is, but not how to solve it.”
“Let’s take this in at least two steps. First, what step can you take to shift time from a lower to a higher priority area?” I asked.
“I will work three hours less this week and go to lunch with my friend, Steve. I’ll log my time, re-create my Time List and e-mail it to you at the end of the week,” he said anticipating my next question of accountability.
“Second,” I continued, “over the next week, write a list of any beliefs you have that drive you to work so much. Next week we can review these beliefs and see how viable they really are. Will that work?”
Randy seemed skeptical and hopeful all the same time. By looking beneath the fears, I sensed we could uncover the motivations behind his choices and possibly shift both perceptions and behaviors.
Coaching Challenge: List the eight major areas of life: Physical Environment, Career, Family and Friends, Significant Other/Romance, Fun and Recreation, Health, Money and Personal Growth.
Create a Priority List by placing the number one next to the area that is of highest priority and continue to the area of lowest priority, number eight. Next, create a Time Table: For one week track how you spend your time based on the same eight categories.
At the end of the week, rank the categories by the time you spent in each. How do your Priority List and Time List compare to each other? Do you spend the most time in your area of highest priority? If any categories are out of order, create at least one action step to help bring them back into balance.
Sheri Fisher is a Life Coach who lives in Grand Junction. Her practice, Living On Purpose, focuses on personal and professional coaching. The situations and characters in her column are fictional to maintain client confidentiality. Sheri can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information, visit http://www.coachwithsheri.com.