When the Going Gets Tough!

Another week flies by and it’s often how much we can achieve in a given time which counts. The more I coach executives the more I realise that it not the time we have which is the most important thing, but how we use it. I share with them my Time Management tool which is so effective that there is an immediate effect on their output vs time expended.

My job is to get them to work less hours making them more effective, spend more time with family and friends, and sleep well. The balance of these three plus healthy eating and a little exercise is critical to a happy healthy life. The work/life balance is not easy but is something worth fighting for and with specific techniques and the right philosophy, this is achievable.

A very busy week

This week I have had one of those rarer weeks where all the talks and coaching sessions have come together. Last weekend Julie and I stayed with some close friends overnight and spent the Monday morning relaxing with them. This is something I would not have done in the past because it was encroaching into work time. But I have realised that friendship and relaxation are key elements of a happy life.

So having lost part of the week I still had a great meeting in the afternoon with a Managing Director for some potential work with him. The following day I had a very productive coaching session, followed by a really good talk to a Rotary Club in the evening. This meant getting home at 10.30pm in the evening, but with my sleeping techniques I went straight to bed and was asleep in a few minutes.

A lack of sleep

This was followed on Wednesday with a further coaching session. Then Thursday another coaching session followed by a talk to the Lincoln Medical Society in the evening – this was great fun but it didn’t finish until nearly 11pm. I then had a 1.5 hour drive back home where I finished packing and got into bed at 12.45am.

The alarm went off at 3.45am – this was 3 hours sleep and was tough! There was a temptation for a split second to hit the snooze button but the Chimp didn’t get his way and I jumped out of bed. Three hours sleep then a 3 hour drive to Bristol to present to a group of CEO’s. To help with the journey I had a one hour sleep in the car before the talk to the Medical Society on Thursday.

Things not going to plan

The drive down was fine with a flask of hot tea and listening to music on the radio. At that time of the morning there is no traffic and that gives me great pleasure. I always do this when I travel – I deliberately avoid the rush hour both ends of the day and will often stop at 5pm somewhere and work till 6.30pm then drive back home without the frustration of sitting in traffic.

When I arrived in Bristol I found the venue and then found a tea shop. Before I went into the tea shop I set my alarm and slept for one hour. This is something I have started doing lately and I have found it very helpful. I often now have a Power Nap of 20 mins during the day where I set my timer on my I Phone and then listen to the sounds around me – I often drift off. These 20 minutes seems to make a huge difference to my energy levels and I continue to experiment with this as a technique to help with energy levels particularly late afternoon.

Keeping Calm

Because of an unusual series of events I didn’t get to check my presentation before the conference started. I had sent my slides a few days before and assumed everything was ok. You can imagine the pressure was building! The reason I like to go early is to have time to check everything is working well and then I can relax.

I did have my own laptop as a backup but it would work better on theirs. I was scheduled to speak at 11.45am and at the next break which was at 10.30am I couldn’t get in to check my slides as the next speaker was setting up. So I had to wait until 11.35am to get into the theatre to check my slides and videos were working with sound. I had 10 minutes to check the sound and slides were working and to get my books out.

Performing Under Pressure

As I went through the slides using their laptop and their remote I clicked on a button and it sent the presentation straight to a holding page and I didn’t know how to get it back. We couldn’t work out what had happened and I made a split second decision to change to my remote and trusted that it would work ok. So I unplugged theirs, connected mine and checked it – to my joy it worked! I just had time to get the sound guy to turn up the sound and I was ready.

Within one minute of all this happening I was being introduced to the audience and I was on for my 45 minute talk. All the slides worked perfectly as did the sound and I managed to spin the basketball at the end to conclude the talk. The reaction to the audience was really good, and as I signed the books at the end the comments from them were extremely positive.

Believing in Yourself

This week was one of those weeks which was a little too busy, but I couldn’t turn down the two speaking events which left me with 3 hours sleep. I knew that I would be ok if I had plenty of sleep during the week which I did. The pressure yesterday with the set up couldn’t have been foreseen but it’s good to know that I stayed calm and in control and I performed very well under that pressure. The three talks I gave this week were the best I have delivered to date and were very well received as were the coaching sessions.

It was a tough week which finished very well and I have a buzz sitting here writing this blog as it feels like I have stepped up to another level. There is a phrase which comes to mind which you have probably heard: ‘When the Going Get Tough – the Tough Get Going!

Thoughts for this week

1. Think about planning your journeys and if you find yourself sitting in a lot of traffic see if there a way round it where you can use your time more effectively
2. Consider Power Napping as a way to recharge the batteries during the day. I spend my entire life rejecting the thought of Power Naps, but now that Julie has introduced me to them, I am using them more and more and find them very effective
3. If you are under pressure don’t let your Inner Chimp freak out, but keep a positive and calm inner voice and perform under that pressure
4. Unforeseen circumstance will happen it’s how we respond to them which counts
5. When the Going Gets Tough – You Get Going!!

Well that’s it for another week. I’m just about to send this blog out then I can set off on what will be a relaxing journey back home regardless of the traffic or delays as I will use that time to relax and reflect.

Have a great weekend

Warm regards


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