Bite-size chunks. How I advocate playing to your strengths.

I was supporting a wonderful man today to find some clarity in his own business. If you ever met him you might think of him as old school. Not particularly comfortable with technology and truly focused on the outcome for his clientele.

He is beloved by his colleagues and his clients alike and I always get a blast when I wok with him.

The thing is, he wants so badly to do hings the right way that he often ends up procrastinating and then cancelling meetings or feeling overwhelmed with everything he has to do.

He came to me because he wanted to work on his workload management but chatting with him I suggested that his issue is simpler than that – when it comes to organising his workload, he is trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Have you ever found yourself doing that?

Bristling at a change you have tried to make or a new habit you’ve tried to form, finding it really blooming hard to make it stick? Good examples of these sorts of ‘square peg, round hole’ scenarios are…

  • Trying to get up an hour earlier (but ALWAYS hitting snooze)
  • Deciding to meal plan but finding yourself running around Sainsburys at 9.59pm every other night like a mad woman
  • Planning on hitting the gym 3 times a week but realising its been 3 months since you did
  • Getting excited about sending out your invoices regularly every month (and chasing them) but finding yourself with a stockpile of unpaid invoices and ever increasing bills every.damn.time.

Together we work-shopped for just 30 minutes on managing his workload and the key to successfully achieving anything for him is to work to his strengths. His process is (to the rest of us) chaotic but to him it’s passionate, caring and overwhelmingly person centred. The reason being more organised hadn’t stuck was because he was trying to be organised in a way that suited other people.

He loves an old school diary (pen and paper for the win!) and if it’s in there he is committed. So why on earth would we set him up on Asana or focus on his outlook calendar and use that to block out workload management time?

My first port of call is always to get clear on what is already on your plate. So that’s what we did today – we broke down all of his work and built a narrative around why he does the things he does. We chose that turn of phrase as it’s one of the ways he works with his own clients, it sits well with him and something using his language and his skill set.

In his business, he’s trained to look for changes in his clients lives and work so he’s great at spotting patterns, negative triggers and building in strategies that provide positive support using their own strengths. We decided that this is exactly what he needs to do for himself.

Playing to those strengths, we broke down his current workload, used his paper diary to block out small bite-size chunks for reflective workload management (30 minutes every week which he will do at home in the evening with a nice glass of red wine). We also created a simple printable template of his workload as at today where he can simply note any significant changes during this reflective time.

I gave him 3 key questions that I am going to work on him with during our next 30 minute workshop next month and he will use his printable, notes and reflective time to draw up a narrative response to each.

There are a number of reasons why this ‘bite-size person centred method’ works for him

  • He gets to jot things down in his diary and on the template
  • He is aware of the three questions that I will ask him so he feels less pressured to be perfect (there are no right or wrong answers)
  • It’s a short burst of time when he feels he is the most reflective on his day which works particularly well with his chaotically creative mind.
  • Importantly, he can connect with the way we are doing it because he works in the same way when he’s focused on his clients.
  • Last but not least he can have some fun whilst doing it (hence his choice of a glass of red wine) this makes it something he associates with a positive feeling.

I’m looking forward to sharing how we get on with operation ‘organised chaos’!

Would you like me to do some free trainings on this? If so why not head into my Facebook group as that’s where they’ll be, it’s Entrepreneur With Amy Johnson.

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