Every once in a while, I find myself wanting to cry with joy as I’m recapping a client appointment. Today was one of those days.
A client came to me wanting to get his work life in order. What he didn’t realize at the time was that once work became manageable, the floodgates of opportunities outside of work would be open to him. Let’s call this client “Bob.”
On a very positive note, Bob had embraced his ADHD. He is taking medication, he’d read a ton about ADHD, and he realized that part of his success was because of how his brain worked. He could see connections others didn’t see. He was creative beyond words. He could talk to clients and quickly glean what they needed. He was very, very good at many aspects of his business.
But he wasn’t the success he knew he could be. He was stressed. He was tired. His projects were late. He had no time for fun in his life. His clients loved him, but they were also very frustrated.
He knew what needed to be done; he just didn’t know how to do it. He needed systems.
We started by identifying his learning style and how he liked to work. As a creative solopreneur, Bob realized that he was much more productive on creative tasks if he worked from the local coffee shop. He needed people’s energy to be creative. Other tasks required solitude and quiet. So those tasks were reserved for his home office.
Next, we moved to time management. As a business owner, Bob felt he needed to be available and working 24/7. This led to stress and exhaustion. Once he determined that he didn’t need to work all the time, he decided to take Sundays off, which allowed him to socialize and recharge his internal batteries. Next, he tracked how long it took him to do his everyday tasks like e-mail, report generation, lead generation, writing scripts, etc. With that information, he could plan his week and day.
But that wasn’t enough. Bob was still exhausted. He needed to plan recharge time during the day. He now schedules at least two 15-minute walks outside each day to push the reset button on his brain.
Now, what to do with all these clients and tasks? Bob spent hours trying to find the perfect project management system, but they seemed to be built for someone else’s brain. They just didn’t work for him. So, using the knowledge of how his brain worked, Bob created his own system using colored markers and a whiteboard. Simple and effective.
Over time, Bob has shifted his 24/7 work perspective to successfully managing his business in no more than five and a half days a week. As a result, he is less stressed, he’s more productive, he’s happier, and he’s created time in his life to do the things that are important to who he is: connecting with his friends and family, coaching/mentoring, exercising, writing, painting, and photography.
Now Bob understands that systems create freedom. Something that hadn’t occurred to him in the past.
As we revisited how far he’s come, both Bob and I had a tear in our eyes. He now sees a world of opportunity and growth that he didn’t see as possible just a few months ago.
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