Manage Your Energy Not Your Time: Mick Todd shares A Coaching Success Case Study


learning is remebering







Learning is Remembering : Manage Your Energy Not Your Time – It is all about your rituals say Dubai Based Director of Coaching and Training of 2bLimitless.

In order to deliver “YOUR BEST YEAR YET”, you need to focus on your rituals ( behaviours that are intentionally practised and precisely scheduled with the goal of making them automatic as quickly as possible and systematically expanding and renew our energy) .These rituals are focused on developing the body, the mind, your emotions and spirit. The success story below is based on one man’s singular discipline around his rituals and how it changes his life. Clo-me would like to join Mick and congratulate ‘AP’ on hi success. Mick says: “It is has been a  real honour to work with you and thanks for allowing me to share your blueprint.”
AP is a very successful guy on many of the measures we value… he is hard working (he regularly clocks 14 hour days) he is talented (for the last 6 years as a partner in a highly respected global firm), he is highly respected and building a strong future for himself in his selected field, he is a family man with 4 young children (whom he insists are his priorities) and has multiple responsibilities.

When I started working with him 12 months ago he was a very frustrated man, he had put an enormous amount of effort into professional career (sacrificed for his family {that was the mindset}) he had missed his bonus despite working longer hours than before, he was constantly exhausted and felt constant guilt for not spending enough quality time with his family. He found it difficult to engage with his wife in the evening which left him feeling even more guilt and dissatisfaction, he slept little (about 4-5 hours a night) and poorly as he used alcohol as his  evening de-stress (science tells us this has an impact not only on the quality of your sleep but the ability to engage in the next day). He made no time for exercise and seldom ate healthy meals always ate on the run or at his desk (he was about, according to his very low standards, 15kgs overweight).

He had very poor professional rituals responding to emails as they came throughout the day, low levels of engagement in meetings as he would constantly disengage to answer calls or respond to mails (his 360 degree feedback from direct reports suggested that he was easily distracted and often irritable). He made no time or space for creative thinking and was not taking time to engage with his team or acknowledge their achievements leading his group to have low levels of engagement and satisfaction.

He like many of the fantastic people I work with was engaged in the great time myth. Time is a finite resource (24 hours in a day, I’ll guarantee you there will only be 24 tomorrow as well). Therefore, it is not time that he and I worked on it was defining discipline around his  rituals and delivering them with real rigour. The core problem of course is that most of us respond to rising demands at work by putting in larger hours which inevitably take a toll on us physically, mentally, emotionally and eventually spiritually. The common approach is for executives is to work longer hours and push themselves harder which leaves them feeling increasingly like they are reaching a breaking point. Our focus was his energy (which is defined in physics as the power to get things done) and we ruthlessly eliminated the barriers that prevented him from achieving his objectives.

Fast forward 12 months and we have achieved some amazing results…
His rituals have seen him lose 17.5kgs, achieve the highest team engagement and satisfaction levels in the region, he and his team beat their budget by 13.5% and he got his bonus. He is much more engaged in his family and married life and his favourite feedback of the year came from his 10 year old son who reported that whilst he was not an expert his X-Box skills were really improving. It is great that AP has helped break the mould… most organisations invest in developing skills, knowledge and competencies – however the real focus with talented people needs to be energy – greater capacity makes it possible to get more done in less time at a higher level of engagement and sustainability.

What are the rituals that he committed to in order to deliver this excellence? Listed below are his key rituals… as we start the year and are looking to make this ‘The Best Year Yet’ what are your rituals to deliver your amazing 2014? Like all rituals setting a specific time greatly improves the chances of success…

AP’s Rituals
Having a set bedtime… 10:15pm each week night.
He gave up drinking Saturday – Wednesday.
5am wake up and exercise. (PT)
Family breakfast with the kids.
School drop off.
8:00am – 10:00am : Project Focus – The Most Import Task
10:00am : Snack – Positive Feedback – Expressing Appreciation to others…
E-mail x 2 focus times – 10:15am – 11:00am & 3:30pm
11:00am Morning Walk / Professional Podcasts
11:30am – Project Focus
1:30pm – 2:30pm Lunch – Always with a client or team member and always away from the desk.
2:30pm Meeting Time
3:30pm – 4:15pm – E–mail time
4:15pm – 4:45pm – Walk – Problem Solving
4:45pm – 5:00pm Snack – Client Call
5:00pm – 6:45pm : Project Focus
6:45pm – 7:00pm : Wind Down/Home – Identifying the number one priority for the next day.
7:15pm – Home/Engaged – AP is committed to at least the first two hours at home focused solely on his wife and family…

Key Supports – The Once A Week
Saturday Night Weekly Plan
8:00am Sunday Morning – Golden Time with the PA
Date Night (Tuesday)

Key Supports – All The Time
Deep Breathing – Diffusing Stress
Changing The Stories – Creating choice in how we view events and focusing on creating the most hopeful and personally empowering story possible for all of the challenges he faces without denying or minimising the facts.
This is about creating new lenses – the most powerful of these are (1) The Reverse Lens – What would the other person in this conflict say and in what way would this be true? (2) The Long Lens – How will I view this situation in 6 months? (3) The Wide Lens – Regardless of the outcome of this issue how can I grow and learn from this?
Circle of happiness and confidence.
The Weekend Rituals – main spring of energy and engagement.

Defeating Diminishing Habits

Most executives view multi-tasking as a real skill and a necessity in order to get things done. In fact this is not the case stopping to take a phone call or respond to an e-mail or return a phone call (a temporary shift in focus) are the type of activities that science tells us make us up to 33% longer to complete the focused priority task – This phenomena is known as ‘switching time’ it is far more efficient to focus on a project in the ideal ultradian rhythm cycle ( ) 90 – 120 minutes. These work periods or ‘Ultradian Sprints’ that AP created 8:00am – 10:00am : 11:30am – 1:30pm : 5:00pm – 6:45pm are the times that he is completely focused. He has his phone on silent and email pop up turned off in these sessions – he was delivering his reports in less than a third of the time that he was in the past.

His other ritual was not responding to email or taking calls during meetings with his team – this habit led to meetings that were set for an hour regularly stretched for two and were very unproductive both in terms of his  full attention and the engagement of the team.

What AP has found to be his most powerful ritual is the 8:00am – 10:00am – Focused on the number one priority that was identified the evening before. He concentrates this first two hours on the most important topic – he often emerges at 10am feeling like he has completed a full days productive work – so powerful is this ritual that he has now incorporated a no meeting/email/phone time 8:00am – 9:00am for all his team.

AP realised that he no longer wanted to be viewed as the crazy partner that worked long hours and had a miserable team. ‘When my kids call me and invite me to a concert I want to be the one that says yes I’ll be there sitting in the front row – not the one that is late, up the back checking emails and going out halfway through the performance to take a call. The interesting and counter-intuitive thing is that since I have made this change everything has got better!’

AP has now decided that another key ritual is the no phone calls once he hits the boom gate… he does not compromise on this saying that in the past he would spend up to 45 minutes pacing up and down outside his home on the phone… this often saw him inside after his kids were in bed and caused a great deal of frustration in his relationship with his wife… this change has had such a powerful impact – in a call with his wife she told me this was probably the one thing that has made the biggest different in the quality of their life and relationship… ‘He comes home smiling and free from stress on the vast majority of nights – the kids have stopped saying how busy and important he is and replaced it with how fun he is and how “their dad plays X-Box and how their friends think that he is cool!” This seems to have empowered him and he seems energised – he has removed listless time in front of the television with laughing and conversations about the richness of our life, the past, the future and time laughing… I had almost forgot what that was like… He still works hard… he is a partner but the focus is very different!’

AP has also focused on elevating strengths – his number one strength was as a problem solver – it was with great frustration that he did not actively engage in a ritual as a problem solver. By implementing his 4:15pm walk he actively engaged in problem solving and did so by engaging science – walking engages the right hemisphere of the brain (the creative hemisphere) that enables people to engage in creative solutions. It is no coincidence that his most of the big breakthroughs he achieved in the year was as a result of these walks. ‘This was counter-intuitive I had to resist the “I’m too busy to walk attitude…’ I changed my paradigm to get myself  focused on the rituals that make me successful – now, ‘I’ve got such important work on not to walk…’

The Key

Communication with his team and his clients was the key engaging them in his rituals has also had an enormous impact on many individuals. The quality of communication has built a set of success rituals that is supported and delivered with both vigour and discipline.

Obviously, not everybody is the same and we all need to develop our own rituals to develop our success. However, the goals we have set together are truly facilitated by the set rituals and the discipline that you focus on in delivering on them. Success is simple not easy and it is not compulsory… But for people like AP who make the choice and follow through the impact is enormous… Here are some key questions.

What are your key success rituals?
What are your barriers in delivering them?
How will you ruthlessly eliminate them in order to deliver success?

Preparation Key Actions

What are the key areas for you to focus on the first full week of 2014?
Filter (Priorities)

What are the key actions that you need to take around these priorities?
Laser (Action)

What is the major barrier(s) to you achieving your objectives and how do we ruthlessly eliminate it/them?

Filter – The barrier(s)

Laser ? How do we ruthlessly eliminate this barrier(s)?

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