I recently participated in a Strategic Planning Session for a non-profit board I’m on.  As we started digging into the vision of the organization for the future, the facilitator kept asking, “Does this answer the question ‘What does good look like?'”

Often, we realized, that answer was NO.  Sure, our vision was good for NOW . . . but not really good for the FUTURE.

Stretching in this way was HARD. My brain doesn’t naturally fall into the visioning space easily. I LOVE to create action steps. I live for taking a big goal and breaking it down into doable benchmarks. But envisioning the future? Super difficult for me.

I can look at your vision and tell you if it seems “big” or “good,” but creating it myself – ugh!

So, of course, I started to doubt myself. “I’m not smart enough to be here. They all get it – why can’t I? What’s wrong with me? So many ‘fancy’ words to explain a simple concept – I’m lost!

“What value do I bring to this board?”

Thank goodness I asked myself that final question because that is when I stopped my pity party!

I had built a business based on creating solutions that build off of clients’ strengths – not trying to “fix” their weaknesses.

Yet, here I was beating myself up because of my weaknesses instead of focusing on my strengths.

Here are my strengths – and the value I bring to the organization:

  • I can look at (someone else’s!) big picture plan and see the gaps.
  • I can help build bridges to connect those gaps.
  • Then, once everything is connected, I can create a streamlined set of easy-to-understand, easy-to-implement action steps.

Guess what, those skill sets are valuable!

As you think about how productive you are (or aren’t) each day, where can you dig into your strengths? I know you have strengths! Using my story as an example, make a list of the valuable skills you possess.

How can you leverage these strengths so you can easily focus on what matters most?

When you are frustrated because your day got away from you again…

Or discouraged because you aren’t hitting your 3rd quarter goals because the “project time” you blocked off in your calendar got bumped for tasks that seemed more urgent…

Or annoyed when you arrived late (again) at a soccer game because you just “had to take one last call” and then you’ll spend the next few hours after the game catching up…

…where can you use your strengths?

Here are two examples of how my clients are using their strengths to create a day that is filled with space. Client #1 had challenges with work and family balance.

Client #1 Challenge:  Consistently working late so misses dinner with her family, then feels guilty so extends family time later into the evening, then has trouble winding down to sleep, then has a hard time getting up, and … the cycle repeats.

Strength: Embraces technology.

Time Management Solution: Uses her Echo to remind her when it is time to start her “exit the office” routine and also when it is time to start to relax before bedtime.

Results:  Has spent more time with her family and transitions to sleep easier 75% of the time.

Client #2 experienced something different.

Client #2 Challenge:  Bumps “project time” in the calendar to deal with “urgent” challenges, which leads to projects being delivered to clients late or incomplete.

Strength: Loves people.

Time Managemnet Solution:  Renames “project time” in the calendar to a phrase that represents the desired outcome for the client. This allows him to remember the importance of honoring the project time.

Results: 80% of projects from the last month have been delivered on time and completed.

Once you can identify your challenges with time and then create a solution that leverages your strengths, you can easily create a day that is productive, rewarding, and fun. You can feel in control like you are running your business instead of feeling like your business is running you.

The obstacle many of my clients experience is identifying the right time management challenge – or, their Productivity Bottleneck. What exactly IS it that is preventing you from getting everything done each day? Here’s a 6 question quiz to help you figure it out!