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#21: Embracing Change: How to Take Control of Your Schedule

Coaching Hive with Dr. Moira Hanna
Coaching Hive with Dr. Moira Hanna
#21: Embracing Change: How to Take Control of Your Schedule
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Welcome

Hello! I’m Dr. Moira.  Welcome to a new episode and a new week with the Coaching Hive Podcast.  If you are new, welcome, and if have been listening since the beginning thank you my friend.  It is always a pleasure to have you here with me.

The month of June is all about embracing change.  This can be a difficult process, but often well worth the fear we can feel.  If you are ready to dive into today’s podcast, let’s get going and remember that this podcast is family friend so go ahead and play it through your speakers.

Are you ready? Here it is, plain and simple.

Introduction

Let me set the stage for you.  You are a passionate entrepreneur, you have a family, you have friends, and you have responsibilities.  Maybe you volunteer regularly, have favorite hiking spots, and love to spend time with your dog.  You cook more days than not, plan the meals, and take care of the laundry.  You might enjoy hanging out with friends, spending time in your garden, checking in on family, and caring for your parents, your children, your loved ones.  Perhaps this is all true and you fall into bed exhausted at the end of the day because once again your schedule has ruled you and it won.  You are hesitantly approaching your health coaching career because of the potential for burnout and exhaustion.  And goodness knows you are already tired.

But what would happen if you had a magic wand that could give you the power to manage your schedule in a way that you still got your work done, you had time for friends, family and important experiences in life without getting exhausted?  Would you approach your health coaching career with commitment and confidence?

There are wildly successful, passionate entrepreneurs all over the world who accomplish this feat of magic, except it isn’t magic.  They manage their schedule instead of being exhausted by their schedule.  Amy Porterfield calls it adding more intentional margin to her schedule and recently introduced a 4-day work week for her employees.  In a recent podcast episode (378) Amy said, “I wanted more intentional work margins for my team and for myself so that we could spend more time with the people we love, doing the things we love. Two, for many years as an entrepreneur, I didn’t even know it was possible to not work seven days a week. I hate to even admit that, but it’s true. I don’t want that for you. I don’t want that for my students.”

As a student of her Digital Course Academy in the past several months, I have seen firsthand that she is always looking for ways to encourage balance and taking charge of her schedule rather than her schedule taking charge of her.  You can even see this in the quote I shared from her podcast episode, but she isn’t the only one making these shifts and recognizing the importance of balance and insisting on saving time for life.  For living.

It is often talked about that six years ago Gary Vaynerchuk wrote a blog post stating that he works 18-20 hours a day.  He has had HUGE growth in his business that can make you green with envy, but who wants that lack balance.  In fact, Gary Vee recently came out saying that he is now getting up to 10 hours of sleep a night thanks to Covid.  He is getting the necessary sleep and being incredibly productive during his waking hours.  Think about that for a moment.  If he is sleeping up to 10 hours a day, that leaves 14 hours left for work.  I know, that isn’t good balance either, but stay with me.  He was working 18-20 hours a day. Now there are only 14 hours available, but he is STILL being productive and successful.  If you do the math, he has up to 6 hours less per day to work than he had previously.  And he is still being successful.

Even the Harvard Business Review is a proponent of sleep and has examined entrepreneur success on tasks with sleep.

We can all think of someone who seems to have enough time to sleep and is a successful entrepreneur.  How are some people able to do everything they want to accomplish and still have a manageable schedule while some people are left feeling exhausted, sleep deprived, and maybe even burned out with their coaching schedule?  Usually people think that they have to say yes to every opportunity that comes along, that each piece of content has to be 100% perfect, and that if they are not working they are being lazy.

Each person who takes control of their schedule has embraced change.  They have become intentional in creating space and making the necessary changes to their expectations to do that.  Amy Porterfield calls this creating “intentional margin”.  I love that term.  Intentional means “done with purpose” (dictionary.com) and margin means “the space around” (dictionary.com).  Whether you call it creating intentional margin  or something else, you are purposefully leaving space around.  Not crowding the calendar, the to do list, or the page with activities.  

So let’s break that down.  Let’s talk about how this can actually work even with busiest of schedules.

The Steps

The first step you need to take is to get very clear on your vision.  With the Coaching Hive Blueprint, we have a Mindful Vision course that allows coaches to really dial in their vision so that everything is derived from serving that vision.  Remember that a vision is where you want your business to be and your life to be, but we live it today as though we have arrived.  For example, if your vision for your life as an entrepreneur includes getting 8 hours of sleep a night and family dinner every evening, start doing that now.  Build in the components that you ultimately want.  If you do that now, then the other things flow in around these non-negotiables.

Once you have your vision in place, look at your calendar and to do list.  What is the most necessary thing to get done each day?  Identify just one item.  That is what you will start your day with so that no matter what it gets done.  Maybe it is outlining your social media posts, but you cringe when you think about that task so you put it off.  How does that leave you feeling when 3pm rolls around?  Frantic?  Frustrated?  Disappointed?  How would you feel if you tackled it first thing after breakfast?  It was done before you have been drawn into other things and you can check it off.  Now how do you feel? Better?  Probably so.  You have just taken control of your schedule by simplifying your expectations of what you MUST get done.

You may be ready to jump with your “But Moira, my to do list would never get done if I took that approach”.  I know.   But what you have just done is identified the most important task of the day. It won’t be your only task.  Each day try to have 3 high importance tasks identified, with your top one that gets done first no ifs, ands, or buts.  Then prioritize the remaining two high priority tasks.  

Let me give you an example.  If I need to schedule my social media posts, outline my next 2 podcasts, and respond to coach emails.  That is a big time commitment.  Depending on how many posts I’m creating and scheduling, that may be a few hours of work.  Outlining may also be several hours depending on the topics and research needed.  Emails may be shorter, but if you start with those emails you can easily get sucked into your email box and never even see the other tasks for the day.  If all three of these tasks were accomplished, I would feel a great sense of accomplishment.

If simply having three tasks for each day makes you nervous, consider creating 3 secondary tasks that are easily moved from day to day if they are not done.  You know that they need to be done, but they simply aren’t a priority right now.  When you give yourself this flexibility you can release the guilt that accompanies an incomplete task list.

So the second step is to identify your absolute must complete task for each day that supports your vision and then designate 2 other high priority tasks.

Next, arrange your appointments so that you make the most of your time.  For some people this means scheduling appointments back-to-back with just a few minutes in between.  It keeps you in one zone of work without having to constantly switch back and forth during the day.  As a coach, this means that you may schedule your clients in the morning or afternoon, but as a cluster of appointments.  If you have an hour in between client meetings, it can be difficult to be productive as tasks may take more time than you have in those snippets.  This scheduling will also tie back to your vision.  How does your business fit into your life rather than your life fitting into your business.  If you find that you have these little snippets of time you can decide how you want to use them.  Is it to take time to practice mindfulness, perhaps this is when you check your personal email and texts and respond to friends and family.  Maybe you keep a list of very short, no-demanding tasks that can be woven into any small space with little effort.  I sometimes use these little snippets to accomplish household chores so that they don’t cut into family time and rest.

So far, we have 3 steps.  The first is to carefully craft your vision and begin living it.  The second is to choose 1 key task that aligns with your vision each day and then identify 2 other primary tasks for the day.  The third step is to arrange your appointments and tasks to make the most of your time.  Finally, and this is the big one, tell yourself every day that perfection is not necessary.

Phew!  I just said that.  As a musician, I have been guilty of being a perfectionist. If you have ever played under a demanding conductor, you know why!  But I discovered that perfection is not necessary and in fact that hinders our progress toward the vision.  This doesn’t mean that you let go of your standards, but it does mean that you don’t agonize over every little detail.  Do you best and know that your clients are working with you because they know you and trust you, not because you are perfect.

When you apply this to the previous 3 steps you will find even more freedom in your schedule and business processes.  This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your best, you absolutely should.  But your best, doesn’t need to be perfect.  It allows for wiggle room and being human.

A mentor of mine has typos in his content, but he doesn’t worry if it doesn’t get in the way of the meaning.  He would much rather share his knowledge with the business world that get stuck in an endless cycle of revisions.  He would rather start the conversation than delay the important conversation for the sake of a tweak to copy.  He takes action because he isn’t committed to being perfect.  He is committed to action and has developed a highly successful business as a result.

Think about this for a minute.  When you read an article and see a typo and cringe, ask yourself, would I rather have missed this article because the author was still proofreading or would I rather have that important information with a typo?  Chances are, you would prefer to have the important information with the typo, than be denied the content for weeks or months as the piece went through countless revisions.

Embracing Change

There you have it.  The four steps, your magic wand, to taking control of your schedule as a coach entrepreneur.  This is a process and won’t happen overnight, but I can tell you it is worth it!

Are you going to continue as you are right now or begin to take control of your schedule to build in time for play and rest with your family and friends?  

Maybe you still aren’t convinced that this could possibly work.  That it could help you move from hesitant to committed and moving toward your vision of being a health coach.  I wouldn’t share these steps with you if I didn’t know that they work.

How do I know this works? Well, if you have been following me for a while you know that my schedule is anything but simple.  I teach at least 8 college courses a year, homeschool our middle school son, consult with a health and wellness company, and run the Coaching Hive, which includes a community group, masterclasses, mentor calls, and this podcast.  I haven’t always gotten it right, but I find the more that I commit to the process I shared with you today, the more “intentional margin” I create and the more satisfied I feel.  I am more productive, more creative, more clear-headed, and better able to identify what I can say no to.  I also get more sleep and as my family will tell you, I’m so much more fun to be around when I have enough sleep!

Conclusions

How will you use these steps this week to take control of your schedule instead of your schedule taking control of you?  What will you prioritize based on your vision?  How will you track the top priority each day?  I use a paper calendar.  This is for a week I haven’t gotten to yet, but as I fill up the week, it will have all kinds of notes and priorities, but never gets cluttered because I’m focused and intentional with my plans.  I look forward to seeing and hearing about the ways that you have changed to take control of your schedule so that you have more intentional margin.

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I always enjoy when you reach out on social media to connect and if you found this episode helpful, I’d love to see your review on Apple Podcasts so that we can reach more people.  As always, thank you so much for listening and I’ll see you back here next week for another episode of the Coaching Hive podcast.

~Moira

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