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Clear Change Group Business and Leadership Coaching Articles for Entrepreneurs

How to Manage Your Time in the Midst of Competing Demands

By Audrey Seymour

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One of the biggest challenges we all face these days is staying focused and on course when there are so many demands on our time.  It's particularly frustrating when you can't keep on course to honor the call to something bigger than you've known before. 

Without reminders that keep us in touch with what matters most, we tend to respond without thinking to the requests of the moment.

We even create distractions for ourselves - do you ever find yourself suddenly deciding it's time to (organize your desk / call a friend / check your messages one more time) whenever you sit down to (write that business plan / start your next book / prepare your groundbreaking proposal)? 

If that's been happening too much lately, create a structure to reconnect with your inner compass more often, and keep using that touchstone as you plan your time. 

When I first started my coaching practice, I also worked part-time for my husband's company. I was building a new website for him while designing my own.  Much to my surprise, I found that I was spending countless hours tweaking his site while neglecting mine!

I realized that I couldn't be trusted to just flow in the moment; I had to structure dedicated time each week to brainstorm my business and build that website. That became my touchstone, that nonnegotiable regular time just for me and my new business.  

A client who I'll call Mary always felt too tired to think about the business partnership she wanted to create, even when she set aside time to do so.  When we got curious about her exhaustion, she discovered that she was staying up late online every night rather than getting enough rest.

Mary realized that her time chatting online was not nearly as important to her as creating a partnership proposal for two chosen colleagues. She committed to getting to bed by 10pm, the structure that allowed her extra energy for creative projects at the end of her workday. What a difference it made in her forward momentum!  

Take a look at your schedule - what are the major projects and activities occupying you right now? Does the amount of time you give each one match its priority in your life? What heartfelt priorities are you neglecting? 

You may even want to keep a time log for a week or so to get this information, which can be very eye opening.

If there's something you've ignored that is important to you, what do you need to give up in order to make room for it? You may need to say no to an activity, an outgrown commitment, or even an obsolete identity.  

It's important to be ruthlessly honest with yourself here. What sacrifices are you willing to make to make a difference in the world? If you can't imagine giving up these other things, then you might want to re-examine how much you care about your vision.  

There's nothing wrong with going off course -- continually adapting is part of the dynamic flow of being alive. You are not a static object; you are a process in motion. Just keep coming back to awareness and create reminders and other structures that allow your vision to stay alive.

What vision of yours for the future needs extra support? 

© 2011 Audrey Seymour. All rights reserved.