“Thank you so much for helping me get my shit together!”
Hearing my clients tell me that is my favorite part about being a coach.
When I first met Emma, she was overwhelmed, disheveled and burnt out.
I remember our first video session she was covered in coffee! She told me she just got back from dropping the kids off and another parent had told her she’s wearing 2 different shoes. We laughed a little, but I could tell she was sooo over being the mom who felt like “couldn’t get her shit together”.
Emma was a mother of four children, all under the ages of 9 years old. She spent her mornings getting her rambunctious kids ready for daycare and school, making lunches, and often wearing mismatched and coffee stained clothes because she was always in a rush…and always spilling that damn coffee.
With four children, there’s never a dull moment in her house. Her mornings were a whirlwind and she felt she was always starting her days frazzled and “behind”.
By the time she got home during the week from dropping off the kids at three different places, she was exhausted.
After dropping the kids, Emma is finally able to start her work day. She is happy to work from home, but even being in her home office brings on pressure to get things done around the house.
She’d tell herself things like “oh, I have 5 minutes before this next meeting starts, I’m going to do a load of laundry…” or “let me load the dishwasher before I start this next project…” or “hmm, I wonder what I should defrost for dinner tonight, let me go check to see what I have…”.
During a typical workday she spends more time being overwhelmed than she does producing actual work. She works through her lunch break because she’s always behind. Her manager started checking in on her more frequently because projects were often not being completed and deadlines were being missed.
Emma was embarrassed by the “hand-holding” she was getting from her manager and was tired of having to make excuses as to why things weren’t getting done…hence why she started seeing me.
The first step was getting control over her day with time management.
We started by PLANNING each week in advance, breaking up home and work responsibilities. The new rule was EVERYTHING needed to be put on one calendar, but it would be color coordinated : everything for home was orange and everything for work was blue. (*She later told me the color coded strategy alone changed the game for her).
When evaluating the calendar, Emma realized there’s some days where she’s double or even triple booked with meetings. We started discussing work boundaries and determining which of those meetings were completely necessary for her to go to.
Because of her new boundaries, she set up a meeting with her manager to talk about realistic expectations. Her manager was impressed by her direct communication and was happy to come up with solutions for delegating or simply removing responsibilities.
After Emma was able to “trim the fat”, she then took the step to PRIORITIZE her schedule. Each day she would pick just one thing from both home and work that she needed to accomplish, and anything after that one was a bonus.
I have found most of my clients are so overwhelmed they spend more time worrying about what they have to do, than they actually do in action. By picking only one thing to accomplish, Emma was able to feel less pressure and built her self-efficacy each time she was able to complete a task.
One week I gave Emma homework to “do nothing”. Literally, that’s what I told her: When you had that extra 5 minutes between meetings, don’t rush to get something done real quick, just use that extra time to do nothing. (*She later told me that was her favorite homework assignment haha).
If you were to ask Emma what was one of her biggest wins from time management (aside from the color coded calendar), she would say having an actual break at lunch time.
She used her newly open lunch hour to start writing a children’s book, something she’d always wanted to do for years, but “never had the time”. She found that instead of feeling drained by lunch time, she was now excited and energized.
Having that one hour of writing time during the week brought Emma so much joy that she took that joy into the rest of her day with her.