Many times when I am coaching executives, they talk about the stress in the workplace they are experiencing due to having too many plates spinning at the same time. So often this drives them to search for more time management techniques to implement in their daily schedule. Then the implementation of these new techniques take time to get bedded in and in turn this causes increased stress and further frustration. It is no surprise that the sentiment often expressed is that they are going around in ever decreasing circles.
In truth I believe that in most cases this is not an issue of time management per se, as I think that blaming poor time management is a “catch all” excuse for so many other factors.
My advice, when I am undertaking executive coaching, is to get my clients to focus in on the finishing line of the project in hand. We have been encouraged to celebrate our successes along the way as we hit our milestones, but far too often I have seen a level of slackness come into play as we hit different milestones. It is almost the milestones have become the destination and we become so happy to have hit them, we lose the urgency to finish off the project.
Celebrating milestones can also lead to the notion of getting some more plates spinning, because we have done so well on this project, and start believing that we are really good at this and can replicate this a couple more times! Be very careful, this is a very false assumption and leads to the stress in the workplace that we started with!
I prefer to get my clients to focus on what is left to do, not what has been done, so that they are very clear about how much road we need to travel to achieve our goal. Sustaining our motivation throughout the journey of a project is difficult, and if you do not focus on the finishing line, and get distracted by celebrating achievements along the way, focus and energy gets dissipated, which results in projects not getting completed and increased stress in the workplace.
My advice to all my executive coaching clients – focus on the finishing line, be clear about what is left to do and you will enjoy increased energy and motivation, and we all need motivation. You will finish more projects on time and you will reduce your stress in the workplace.