Image: A text I received from a client recently

People call or email me with a wide variety of hopes. I have coached a broad range of clients with a broad range of goals over the last few years. Some who’ve wanted to refine their marketing skills, others who wanted to land their dream job, and those who wanted to create a life more congruent to their values.

Even with the variations in story and objective, these individuals tend to share a handful of characteristics: They are driven, they believe in their aims, they recognize a little help can get them where they would like to go, and they just need some guidance to move the ball forward. This is all great!

I should add, too, that these attributes generally point to another overall trait: These movers and shakers may be overproducers. I like working with overproducers! They’ve already demonstrated that they have gusto and they are no strangers to taking action – which you’ll know is a recurring theme throughout the Art of Hustle site. However, the million dollar question is:

  • Are you taking the right measure?
  • At the right time?
  • With the right people?
  • In the right circumstance?
  • Following the right sequence?

You’ll know if you’re not. There are always these telltale signs:

  • You’re frequently overcommitted
  • You don’t celebrate or reflect much
  • You’re late or you space on appointments
  • You have little free time, even for things you know would benefit you!
  • As busy as you are, you appear to perpetually be at the same place as you were last week or even last year; you can’t seem to get to that “next level” that you know you are capable of

And as a result, you are often weary, mentally and physically. But because you’ve got supreme work ethic, you just keep working “hard” even if it means producing few of the results you hope to achieve. If it happens at all, this is about the time that people reach out to me.

I’ve come to realize that every single client – without exception – needed to reacquaint themselves with and master time-management first, in order to move their projects forward. Still, overproducers typically protest with: “But I don’t need time-management. I already know how to get lots of things done!” Just not the one or two things that are really important to you. Okay, hmmm…

I have since made this central to the work that I do with people. And it’s been highly effective in my experience. Opposed to the general misconception, regaining control of your calendar isn’t about simply adding events, i.e. doing more things. It means taking inventory of your days, consciously re-assigning priorities and leveraging your actions so you are not constantly chasing after deadlines, many of which are probably wasted maneuvers. It means getting to the work you’ve been putting off in favor of things that you find more fun or supposedly obligatory, things that may be contrary to what you say is valuable to you. Ultimately, it is way more than scheduling, it is about being accountable – to yourself.

“It is not the number of things you do, but the efficiency of each separate action that counts.” -Wallace D. Wattles

We all know someone who works hard but could use a nudge in the right direction – whether it’s you and you’re ready to move the ball forward in your career, or it’s a friend who’s chronically chasing deadlines. Click on the share buttons below to spread the word and give that nudge. And if you’ve got your own words to share, use the comment box below.