"Creating Sustainable Success"
Does this sound like you?
“I feel overwhelmed much of the time”
"I feel stuck when it comes to reaching my goals"
"I have a hard time focusing because my tasks, projects and information are a disorganized mess"
"I keep avoiding doing the things I know will make a positive difference in your life and work"
"I spend more time playing with productivity apps than I do being productive"
"I'm easily hijacked away from the important and end up spending my time on the trivial"
How Can Coaching Help?
While productivity is not a linear process, my work with clients over the years has demonstrated the following core elements as foundational to ongoing and sustainable productivity.
*Each of these steps is highlighted in more detail below.
We first develop a firm and sustainable foundation in each of these areas. From there we move our focus to optimizing each through a series of more advanced practices.
Because every client is different in terms of their skill level in each of these areas, your coaching program will be customized to emphasize some elements more than others.
1. Navigation: Being productive or efficient is not an end in itself. We begin our coaching journey by first establishing clarity around what drives the need for higher productivity. That clarity comes from getting your bearings and then plotting a course.
Getting Your Bearings
Much of productivity advice centres around the “what” we want to achieve and “how” we achieve it. Alternately we will start with establishing a clear “why” through values clarification.
Setting bold goals that are not in alignment with our most deeply-held values will likely mean we won't not achieve them-or worse we will achieve them only to find that they have moved us even further away from fulfillment.
Getting Your Bearings also involves mapping out your current commitments and responsibilities across all areas of your life. If we're not clear about all the things on our plate, we're likely to be unable to dedicate and sustain focus on the achievement of our most ambitious goals.
Plotting Your Course
This is where we begin to articulate "What Success Means to You". What are your Long and Near-Term goals? Once we have clarity around these we move to creating 90-day goal plans complete with daily and weekly habits which ensure you stay focused and on track.
2. Environmental Design involves setting up systems, conditions and spaces that support the achievement of our goals.
Setting up Systems
The basic systems we want to set up include some means to track goals, ideas, projects, and tasks as well as meetings and appointments.
More advanced implementation includes systems to manage reference materials; larger, more complex projects and fine-tuning email systems to enable you to quickly process incoming communications.
Creating spaces that are conducive to high productivity include carving out regular blocks of time for dedicated planning and prioritization as well as strategic reflection.
Optimizing your productivity can include implementing Time Mapping strategies to support deep cognitive work as well as designing your physical work space in a way that minimizes distraction and encourages optimal focus.
3. Execution is where the 'rubber hits the road". All the organization and planning in the world will mean nothing if we don't follow through on our commitments.
At this level we focus on establishing habits and rituals that support you moving towards your objectives on a consistent basis as well as simple practices that allow you to quickly hone in on what your most critical priorities are and to reorient your focus when conditions require.
4. Recalibration: It's at this stage that the "Mindful" part of "Mindful Productivity" kicks in. It's common for us to go through our days and weeks caught up in busyness, only to find that one day we wake up to find we haven't followed through on our intentions.
Installing a consistent habit of robust Weekly and Monthly Reviews can help ensure we're keeping "what matters most" top of mind and fine-tuning our strategies to meet ever-changing circumstances in both or personal and work life.
In addition we're also interested in heightening your awareness of your habitual patterns or "hooks" that derail your progress. We all have developed psychological and behavioural strategies that may have served us in the past, but which now hamper our ability to move towards our goals and things we value most. Through high-level "mapping" of your patterns of thinking, feelings and behaviour, we begin to equip you with a tool which will awaken you to how you habitually get yourself stuck. Then, through the use of specific tools and practices you'll increase your "Psychological Flexibility" and begin to make choices that support the achievement of your goals and move you towards who and what is most important to you on a more consistent basis.
WHAT CLIENTS SAY
I first came to Craig while working on my PhD at the University of Oxford as I was failing to make progress on writing my thesis. I had tried two other coaches previously but they didn't work out. My experience with Craig was categorically different. Whereas the other coaches seemed to have a boilerplate approach to coaching driven by worksheets and platitudes, Craig really listened and understood the problems and behaviors I was struggling with. Over repeated sessions, he was amazing at spotting negative patterns in my behavior that I couldn't see myself and at providing concrete guidance on how to address those self-defeating habits. In the time that I've been working with Craig I've accomplished things I didn't think were possible. I've completed my PhD, published multiple peer-reviewed papers, finished three triathlons, and established a loving, healthy relationship with my soon-to-be wife. I can honestly say that all of this would not have been possible without Craig's steady, insightful guidance keeping me on track.
Adam Thomas, National Institute of Mental Health, Washington DC.