My client, Greg Freeman, had a time management problem that he couldn’t fully understand. He created a story around his time management issue that excused his behavior for years. Once I challenged his story, the results were amazing! Below is Greg’s story, told by Greg. Thank you Greg for your contribution and dedication to coaching. ~Coach Sarah Kay
My name is Greg Freeman and it is my honor and pleasure to be here with you today. In a recent
conversation with Coach Sarah Kay, I shared with her some great discoveries that I had recently stumbled across about time management. She asked that I share those discoveries with you, which came as a great surprise to me.
My Time Management Story
Why is that a surprise? Well, I’ve always had a story about being bad at managing my time. My parents saw it as laziness and chided me well into my adult life. When I was in school, I always managed to dawdle until I was running to make the bus. This same trend continued into my working life, where I’d just barely squeak into work in time. When I decided to become an entrepreneur with lots to do and no one to tell me to do it, my performance on any given day varied wildly based on the ‘mood’ I was in. Unsurprisingly, this didn’t create excellent results in my business. And I usually felt hurried and frantic as I went from appointment to appointment, obligation to obligation knowing that I wasn’t doing my best but also unaware of how to change.
So, what changed?
Simple. I started doing the dishes.
Everyone knows how to clean their dishes, whether they wash them in a machine or by hand, right? It’s also really easy to keep the dishes clean if you do them every day. But how often are you done cooking dinner and just don’t want to do them right then? Or when you only use one or two so it’s not ‘worth’ the time right now to do them? And then you turn around and it’s been five days and you’re suddenly out of spoons because nothing’s gotten done?
This was my experience for many years of my life, in more than just in my kitchen. While I wasn’t totally aware of it, I allowed little things to pile up, one atop another, until the molehills in my life became mountains in my eyes. And then feeling trapped in by all these ‘mountains’, as though they were permanent and unchangeable, I’d try to arrange my life around them. No wonder I was running frantically!
It’s okay for this to make no sense to you, dear reader. Even as I’ve typed this out, it makes very little sense to me… except that I recognize that I lived my life this way for many years.
So again, what was the change that allowed me to take control of my time?
I do the dishes. Not every time, but at least once a day. I even stopped using the dishwasher, since it was more wasteful than doing them by hand. When I’m cooking, I dry and put away whatever was last washed. If I see dishes to be done, I don’t worry if they were my dishes or a guest’s or my roommate’s… I just do them.
It was Coach Sarah Kay that dared me into trying this. She had to dare me into it since I was painfully oblivious to what it was doing to my entire life. But as I did the dishes, I saw that dishes never piled up. It was easier to do them when there were less of them.
If I didn’t worry about who put the dishes there, it made it easier for me to do them. It got me thinking, how many other things in my life have I made harder by worrying about who’s fault it is, rather than doing what’s in front of me to do? When I did the dishes regularly, I never had to choose what I ate around what dishes were clean. That made me ask, How many other places in my life are limited from other messes I just don’t clean up?
And slowly, step by step, I began ‘doing the dishes’ all over my life. Handle a mess in my car right as it occurs. Tell someone ‘no’ to an invitation I didn’t want to accept. Figuring out that on certain days I really wanted to watch the next episode of a program, so planning time to do it.
And over time, my perception of time changed. I wasn’t frantically running to appointments, I was designing my day to really accomplish what I was deeply committed to.
It didn’t happen from a new day planner or calendar or time-management technique… it happened from a simple commitment to not let problems compound. I’m not perfect at it yet, but it feels great to run my day, instead of being run by it.
Thank you for reading along and allowing me to share my story with you. Please leave any questions or comments below! Have a great day… and good luck with your dishes!