As a coach, you’re typically your own boss. Completely self-guided and self-managed, you’re without someone charting out your day. You may also have the added layer of your business being located in your home. That’s why focus of your time, focus of your energy, how productive you are, and how you manage the day-to-day are crucial. It can be too easy to lose focus and lose sight of our goals. Maybe even occasionally use home as an excuse to escape making a tough decision or dealing with doubt at work, or vice versa.
I want to offer a few tips and some ways to harness focus, move consistently toward your goals, and to especially focus on the things that are most important. The positive habits and mindshifts I share with you take practice and time to come more naturally. Believe me, I’m still working on them myself. I encourage you to work consistently on them as well, because they do make a world of difference.
Hello coaches who is ready to dive into business mastery today? Today I’m talking about sort of the details of how you operate in your business on a daily basis, we’re talking about focus of your time, focus of your energy, how productive you are and how you manage the day to day.
Before I dive into this anymore, I want to make sure that any of you interested in learning how to coach better on shame, or sign up for our class tomorrow. So if you’re listening to this, when it’s released, our how to coach on shame class by Amy Gianni, and the Coaching Collective will be tomorrow on the 8th of July; if you are listening past that date, don’t worry, you can go and sign up for our free master classes, we come out with a new one every single month. So simply go to the coachingcollective.com and sign up there for our free monthly mastery training, it’s going to be amazing! She’s going to help you all understand how to recognize shame, how to navigate it with your clients, so much good stuff. So hope you can make it.
Okay, let’s talk about your daily life experience in your business. So when you start a coaching business, you have a lot of different skills that you’re learning and managing right? You are the decision maker, the CEO, you are the coach, and you are doing probably some admin stuff, sales, and marketing, all of these different things that you are managing. And not only that, but you don’t really have a boss breathing down your neck.
You don’t really have specific deadlines, and so you’re in this space of switching your attention to different things, having a learning curve on many different things, and also having to be totally self guided and self managed; and throw in the mix; those of you that are working from home, there can be a lot of messy crossover with home life and work life, and especially we can use it as a lovely excuse, right?
If things in my household aren’t going very well very easy for me to escape into my office; and if I’m feeling fearful or doubt when I’m working easy to go and find some tasks to do in the house. So all of this said, it’s very common for us to sometimes struggle to manage our focus and move consistently toward our goals and especially to make sure that we are focusing on the things that are most important.
So today, I want to offer you a few little tips here, ways you can think about how to harness your focus a little bit better. So the first thing I want to talk with you about is this idea of creating a container around your time and focus and energy. So how many of you can relate to procrastination, those of you with ADD out there procrastination perfectionist out there, putting it off till it’s right towards perfect procrastination, so many reasons and ways that we procrastinate such a common thing. And for all of you that have ever procrastinated, you may have experienced this.
So when we procrastinate, oftentimes something a project that we’ve maybe been putting off that earlier, we were really spinning in, I’m not sure where to begin, I’m not sure what to do with this, I don’t have any ideas. Suddenly, when we’re at that deadline and we’ve procrastinate d it long enough; all of our creativity comes out, all of our focus. We’re so laser focused, we are using all of our intensity right there on that project, and it can create a pretty great result, and that’s an enjoyable process to be that focused with creativity.
I love it. I love that feeling, and yet I know for me, I don’t enjoy what the other parts that come along with the procrastination, I don’t enjoy the feeling of pressure. I don’t enjoy worry. Now all of these feelings are created by my thoughts, and I procrastinated a lot when I was younger and so I feel I have a little bit of PTSD with procrastinating. I don’t enjoy the experience of procrastinating. But I do enjoy the experience of that intense focus and creativity.
So how do we create a better scenario? How do we bring the benefits of procrastination without the drawbacks? So I want you to think about any one project that you need to do and a very common thing and something I definitely recommend is if you have a project, you always want to break it down into tasks; you want to figure out how long each task will take and decide when you’re going to do it. And when I put something on my calendar, I do always want to consider and I would suggest you consider, about how your work style is best.
What are the time increments that you work best, if you set yourself up to work on something for three hours, is it going to be an effective three hours, or are you better off giving yourself 45 minute or hour period of time on something, and then shift gears a little bit of a break whatever it is for you. So it doesn’t matter how long or how short your work periods are. But I want you to imagine that you draw this line, or create a container, a boundary around this time period on your calendar. And the only thing your brain is allowed to focus on during that period of time is exactly the task at hand.
Now, this is easier said than done. But I promise you that the more you have this as a practice, where you decide ahead of time, during this time, this is the only thing I’m focusing on, I have a self imposed deadline, and this is what it is, and I am going to commit to doing this. And the more you can create that practice of creating a container in your mind around that time, and not allowing yourself to invite in any of those other thoughts, it’s going to be so important.
And the thing for me that really helps that I want to suggest you and I suggest this to my coaches all the time is as you have those containers created on your calendar; and some people may think about them as time blocks, I don’t know what it is for me that that that visual of sort of containing my energy in this space is really helpful for me. But when you have those containers of time, those containers of your focus set up, it’s really helpful for you to look at it ahead of time. So beginning of your day, look at the things you’re going to focus on. Before you move to that next task, prepare your mind, this is what I’m focusing on next, all of my energy is going here. And something that I find really helpful is to have my clients look at their schedule the night before and prepare their brain for whatever they’re doing in the morning. I promise you that when you spend some time prepping your brain for what it is supposed to be focusing on, it will allow you to enter that project much more easily.
A lot of you have probably experienced what it’s like when you’re trying to begin a task, and it seems to be a challenge to get your focus there. It’s kind of like you need a minute to shift and adjust, and this is a way that you can really bypass some of that is by thinking ahead of time, I’ll give you an example.
Let’s say first thing, tomorrow morning, I have to create three videos for a new program that I’m doing. The night before, I can simply take a few moments to write some questions down prepping my brain for what I’m going to be doing. And what happens when I do that is it starts that process for my brain of getting in flow with that task.
It gets the juices flowing, and it tells my brain, “Hey brain, tomorrow at 6am, this is what you’re going to be focusing on.” And it’s very useful. And it helps you to be able to utilize your brain in an intentional way to shorten the time it takes you to get focused on a task. The other thing you want to do that will help make this more effective is really committing to that end result at the end of that time and focus container.
Really decide that I’m going to commit to the self-imposed boundary, the self-imposed deadline and make it happen. And also remember, as you’re implementing this, don’t give up on this practice. This is not something that is going to come overnight. I have spent years and years harnessing my focus and committing to it. And it’s not going to happen overnight. I have spent years using this practice of harnessing my focus and being able to be more effective and not allow distractions to come in.
The next thing I want to talk with you about is dread, what I call the dread cycle. How many of you feel dread, when you go to do something that’s on your task list? Probably most of you. So I want to break this down. I like to think about this as a cycle of dread. So in the dread cycle, essentially, you imagine you’ve got something on your calendar that you are supposed to do, you’ve decided to do this. And when you go to do that thing, you don’t really feel like doing it. So there you are feeling a sense of dread and dread is an emotion that most of us don’t want to feel.
And so what we want to do is we want to get out of that feeling of dread as soon as possible. And your brain will tell you, you’re feeling dread because of this thing you’re looking at, this task. So the way to no longer feel dread is to not do this task. So what happens in this case is we feel dread and then we decide to go do something else and avoid what we had planned to do. And when we avoid it, we feel relief, which reinforces to our brain if you feel dread, move away from that thing you’re doing, distract yourself so you will feel relief. But the problem with this is when I feel dread, and I avoid, and then I feel relief, the next thing that I feel is possibly something like regret.
Because I’m thinking, I wish I would have done that, I dropped the ball, I didn’t follow through for myself. So now, even though I’m initially feeling relief, it’s followed up by all of these negative emotions, these negative feelings, thoughts and feelings about myself. I also haven’t created something; I haven’t put a result out into the world. So I’m no closer to my goals. And I’m having a negative experience with all of these thoughts and feelings about what I wish I should have could have would have done.
Now there’s another option if we want to stop this dread cycle. And what this looks like is I’m looking at a task, and I feel dread. I’m already feeling the dread. In both cases, I’m feeling the dread.
The case that I just showed you, and the one I’m about to show you, I’m feeling dread. And even though my brain is telling me the way to get relief is by avoiding it, I can also get out of dread, by moving toward what I’m working on. But this just requires me to have that decision and commit to it ahead of time that I’m going to. So I feel the dread and then what I do is I do the thing, and I take action. And as you move toward doing the thing, what happens next, you, at the end of the day feel accomplished, because when you take action, it becomes very easy for you to have all of these thoughts flowing for you.
I did it. I followed through, I did that thing. I’m moving toward my goals. So in moving forward, we create a positive emotional experience for ourselves much better than relief. Relief is temporary, whereas this is really more of a sense of accomplishment. And not only that, but you’ve actually created the result you want you’ve done the thing.
So I want you to each notice for you how often this dread comes up and what is your dread cycle pattern. When you feel dread, do you avoid and feel relief, and then feel disappointment and realize you have no end result and then you’re back to square one? Or do you instead feel the dread; do the thing anyway, feel that sense of satisfaction, have the result created that you want? So notice for you and see if you want to make any shift to your natural go to dread pattern at the moment.
The last thing I want to just touch on before I let you all go today is energy management. This is such a big topic that I’m so passionate about. I work with my clients on this, we have a whole bunch of stuff on this in the Coaching Collective. It’s such a big deal, because for the most part, everyone says, “I wish I had more time in the day. I wish I had more time.” But a question that I want to ask you is, if you had more time, would you actually have the energy to get done whatever it is you believe you need to get done? And very often, the answer to this is no, because truthfully, it’s usually not about just managing our time or having more time, but managing our energy, and are thoughts within our time.
When you can think about managing your day in terms of managing your energy more than your time, it shifts everything. So what does this look like? This looks like paying attention to when in the day, am I most energized? What are the times that I have the most amount of focus? How can I pay attention to the tasks that seem to trigger a lot of thoughts for me that create negative emotions, and therefore I’m feeling tired and depleted? What are the tasks that I feel very naturally energized by because possibly my view of those is, I love doing this. This is easy for me. This is fun. So the more you can think about the tasks in your day, as things that energize you or deplete your energy, you can better figure out how to fit them together in your day.
The other thing that I cannot emphasize enough is that as you’re thinking about how to create these containers, how to manage your dread cycle, how to actually plan your time out, I want you all to give yourself permission to manage your day and time in a way that works for you. For me, personally, I do much better, having smaller increments of time focused on certain things with a walk break in between so helpful for me. And I do a much better job, if I start bright and early in the morning, where the first thing when I get up, I go right to creating, it allows me to harness the most focus the most energy, it’s a very useful practice for me. I’m not going to be very productive in the second half of the day. And so for each of you pay attention to your most effective work habits. Pay attention to how your energy works for you. And when you can take that into account, I promise you that you will be able to build a schedule and for yourself, that is going to feel better to you. It’s going to be more productive, more focused, and it’s going to be unique to you. That’s what I’ve got for you today. I cannot wait to connect with you next week. I’ll see you then.
Thanks for listening to The Masterful Coach Podcast; you can check out www.thecoachingcollective.com for info about the ultimate program for coaches building a business. To find out more about Molly, you can visit www.mollyclaire.com.
Molly Claire is a 7-figure business builder with a blended family of 10. She is dedicated to helping women overcome their own limits, make the money they want, and have the time, freedom, and flexibility to be with the people in their lives that matter most. Especially the little ones.
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