Any training program that instantly dumps too many new habits into the laps of learners is bound to fail. Most time management programs do just that, and so do time clutter consultants who can rattle off the 50 things that the client needs to fix in the first 60 minutes.
The better approach is to spend time to teach your client a thing or two about structured habit change, and the latest findings which all show how weak we are at this particular skill.
A variety of books have been written on the topic, but my favorite is Change Anything by Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, McMillan and Switzler.
They make the point that we over-estimate our willpower to our detriment and falsely believe that habit change is easy. We then fail and blame the coach/consultant/trainer, and some even swear off time management training altogether.
The way to ensure that your client doesn’t join the unsuccessful majority is to make it impossible to fail.
1 – take all the changes they discovered that they want to make from the prior Phases and make a single list, along with the dates they had originally assigned.
2 – help them to rationalize their list into one that looks doable, from their perspective. It’s better to be pessimistic than optimistic at this point as there’s more to be gained from making faster progress than expected, than from failing to meet their goals.
At the end of this exercise, their plan might stretch for more than a year. Don’t be alarmed, as this might fit the progress that they need to make to meet their goals.
Some might not be able or willing to see more than a few changes. Don’t force them to make the progress that you think they should make, but instead urge them to be successful in making the changes they are committed to.
If you are using a ladder or matrix of fundamentals such as the ones we use at 2Time Labs, then you might want to ensure that the client’s growth is uniform, and that you don’t end up with a profile of ridiculously high skills in one area and low skills in others. Instead, try to even out the changes they need to make to prevent imbalances that could cause unwanted problems.
Never make the mistake of putting their plan together for them. Remember, it’s called Co-Planning for a reason!
Lastly, be prepared for your client to want to change their plans as their self-knowledge increases. Again, don’t force them into anything. Just keep pointing out the consequences of every decision they make, and always leave the final decision up to them.
A good plan should not leave them drained, but inspired.