Do you rely on “the last minute” to get things done?

There’s the saying, “if it wasn’t for the last minute, nothing would ever get done”, and I wonder how many of us rely on that “last minute” every day.

If you’re honest with yourself, are you guilty of racing around? Are you desperately trying to finish the tasks you could have done, or should have done, earlier in the day? Do you rely on the “last minute” before meeting a deadline?

Last Minute jobs take more time if left until the last minute!
Last Minute jobs take more time if left until the last minute!

Perhaps you genuinely have taken on too much. If your diary is crammed full of client meetings during the day, then school-runs, after school clubs, evening socials, networking and other activities, maybe there isn’t enough time to do everything. Maybe you need that “last minute”.

But if you constantly use the “last minute” you’re not allowing time for anything to go wrong. There’s no safety buffer for unexpected delays, hold-ups or problems. If you rely on those extra sixty seconds too many times, you could find yourself under extra stress and extra pressure and the potential for making mistakes increases.

But it’s not all bad news.

I work with clients on a practical level. I can’t add hours to the day, but I can show you in three steps how to streamline your everyday tasks and processes to use your time twice. I can help you prioritise your tasks, so you’re on top of things. You won’t need the “last minute” because everything has been done in an organised, manageable and stress-free way.

The Three Steps:

  • Your Goals – Chatting through the tasks you want to achieve.
  • Your Time – Analysing how you currently spend your time.
  • Your Tools – Implementing the solutions to make your life easier.

One of the key benefits of working with me is the accountability I offer. When setting out your goals, I become your accountability partner. I am someone impartial who knows what you want to achieve and keeps you on track on your journey.

An example of this is helping a client find the equivalent of an extra two working days in the month with the time he saved by making one simple lifestyle change. That’s right, two whole days each month have been recovered!

Does this sound hard to believe?

He thought so.

But through chatting with me, initially by phone, then face to face, we broke down his task into micro-components. When each component was written down it became obvious where time could be saved.

Then, when he added up how much time this task was taking, it totalled 1.5 hours from start to finish. He mentioned he carried out this task three times every week. That’s 4.5 hours each week. It’s 18 hours each month just for this one task.

He was stuck in a set routine, spending 18 hours each month carrying out a task which, after our meeting, he made a simple lifestyle change. This change freed up that time, those 18 hours, for anything else he wants to do.

By changing that set routine he now spends the time working, or with his family, or both. He has the choice of how to spend this time. He can do the things he wants to do, not just the things he needs to do.

When speaking with clients, it’s surprising how many people are in set routines. They say they do what they do because that’s the way it’s always been done. But so often, the way it’s always been done isn’t necessarily the most cost-effective or time-effective way of doing a task anymore.

If you struggle to finish tasks or run out of time, don’t leave it to the “last minute”, please give me a call and I will be happy to find the extra time in your day so you can do the things you want to do, not just the things you need to do.

Lessons from Formula 1 – How to spot warning signs of burnout and how you can help yourself and others.

It’s often the last person we expect who burns out and comes crashing down, their mental and physical health pushed to the limit and causing a breakdown in their personal or professional life. It can happen to anyone at any time. It could be your boss, co-worker, a supplier, best friend, son, daughter, partner, but what if it’s you?

There’s nothing wrong with being busy and juggling lots of tasks. As humans, we thrive on mental and physical activity. We perform our best when we are happy and fulfilled. We can take on a variety of different things at once, but if we don’t allow ourselves the capacity to rest, relax and recover, we can miss the warning signs of burnout and become detached, withdrawn and potentially seriously ill.

The good thing is if we can spot those signs early, in ourselves or other people, the better prepared we can be and the more positive steps we can take. Just as you would carry out a service and MOT on your car, it’s important to do the same for yourself.

If you think of your mind and body as a high-performance Formula 1 car, you’ll know choosing the right fuel is as important as choosing the right parts, the right tyres and the right people to have in your team. These are key ingredients to long term success, finishing the race and taking home the trophies and prizes.

Don't get burnt out before you've time out
Don’t get burnt out before you’ve time out

Top 3 Causes of Burnout

Just as in motor racing, our lives run on time, money and energy. If we’re low on any, or all of these we can suffer. Perhaps it will only be for a short term, but if the problems with time, money or energy are prolonged, they can compound, and become harder to solve as your resources are depleted and eventually run out.

Symptoms of Burnout

Going back to spotting the warning signs of burnout, do you feel more tired than usual? Are you sleeping well? Do you have frequent colds, or loss of appetite? Have you lost a lot of weight, or gained a lot of weight? Do you feel trapped, hopeless or helpless? Have you cancelled plans with friends, or lost interest in a favourite hobby? Do you dread answering the telephone, checking your email, or even going into the office?

On their own, these symptoms can be easily overlooked or dismissed as “not a problem” or “something to deal with later”, “I’ll be ok”, or “everyone goes through this”, but this isn’t true. Unlike a car, you won’t have a bulb light-up on your dash to say something needs fixing, however learning to spot the symptoms and warning signs is the first step to getting back on track.

Effects of Burnout

As well as your own mental and physical wellbeing, burnout can affect those around you, perhaps even without you realising. You may feel more cynical or critical than usual. You may be sarcastic, irritable or quick tempered, raising your voice, becoming angry or violent. Feeling detached and withdrawn is equally common. Cancelling plans. Arriving late, or not at all. General apathy towards yourself and others.

Even the simple act of closing your office door or screening yourself from co-workers with paperwork or desk debris, can be the beginning of cutting yourself off from others, including those who haven’t already given up asking you to join their activities.

Tips To Avoid Burning Out

Keeping track of your time, money and energy are three effective ways to look after yourself and can greatly reduce the time you are “off the road” or out of action. Just as in Formula 1, always check the warning signs on your dash, take the time for regular pit stops, and make time for repairs earlier rather than later. Find the best people to be on your team, those who will have your back and those who want you to succeed.

These are things I help my clients with every day. Working with you on an individual basis I can help analyse your time and tasks and make recommendations for software and processes to give you more time, more money and more energy to be in pole position for success.

If you’d like to find out how this works, please book a 15-minute exploration call with me and I’ll get you to the front of the grid.