This mantra is one that I preach to participants in my seminars and workshops as well as during individual client sessions:
“Time management is all about mind management.”
Your brain decides how you’re going to use every single moment each and every day. Your brain will decide whether to wander or stay focused. Your brain decides whether to go after your top-level priorities or just piddle around on low-level tasks. Your brain will decide whether to procrastinate or not.
Time management is all about mind management. And because task management effectiveness is directly related to time management, your completion of tasks is also all about mind management. This is where a Kim’s Convenience Sneak Attack comes into the picture.
One particular client (we’ll call her Shannon) hired me almost seven years ago to help her with time management and project management in order to complete her PhD within the timeframe she desired. She is like many of my clients. She knows what she needs to get done. She knows what steps she needs to take in order to knock those items off her list. She makes a plan for when she’s going to accomplish these tasks. But then she doesn’t complete what she’s supposed to.
One of her challenges is that she’ll find many other things to do other than what she’s supposed to if it’s a task that requires decision-making. I’ve helped her develop different mind games to play over the years to make sure she completes her most important tasks for her dissertation.
Now she’s planning to move, so our sessions have turned into project management for packing up, staging and selling the house, all while staying organized for a move.
I know she doesn’t want to make decisions about what to do with her stuff. That’s why she has so much of it, which has now become an absolutely overwhelming part of her relocation. She is very much paper-oriented and therefore has a great deal of documents to go through and either purge or organize as a part of the sale and move process.
Before leaving our last session, I called her into her office to explain what her homework was. Here’s a summary of the conversation:
Helene: Have you ever watched a Netflix show called Kim’s Convenience?
H: It’s about a middle-aged couple, Mr. and Mrs. Kim, who immigrated to Canada from Korea, and they now run a convenience store. When Mr. or Mrs. Kim wants a situation to have a particular outcome, they attempt to manipulate the language, elements and/or people involved. They call this a “sneak attack.”
S: I sense you’re setting me up for a sneak attack?
H: Why yes, Shannon, I sure am. You have contractors coming in three days to move these heavy mirrors to a different part of your house. In order for them to be able to do that easily, their pathway must be clear. This is why I’ve set up your sorting table with one box of documents on it. You’ll need to process this box in order for your contractors to be able to do their work.
S: This is most certainly a sneak attack! This is great. I have no choice but to do it.
Shannon would have difficulty moving the box of documents if it was still full. She would find it awkward to move the table on her own. Based on the scheduling questions I’d asked her earlier, I knew she had four open hours each day (12 hours total) to work on this project, which – even if she moved in slow motion – should take her no more than three hours. Her contractors must be able to move those mirrors, otherwise it will delay her project, which she definitely doesn’t want.
This is a Kim’s Convenience sneak attack. It’s a bit more adventurous if someone who knows what they’re doing sets it up for you. But most times, there won’t be anyone else there. You’ll have to create a Kim’s Convenience sneak attack by yourself, for yourself.
Here’s how to formulate your sneak attack:
What is the end result I want?
What is my why for wanting this particular result? (Post this as a reminder to myself in my work area.)
What is the best way to achieve this result?
What are the ways I’ll attempt to avoid doing it?
What kind of pre-emptive strike(s) can I implement in order to prevent me from avoiding it?
What reward can I give to myself when I complete what I’m supposed to?
This is how a Kim’s Convenience sneak attack can improve your productivity and task management success.
To learn more about mind games to play in order to improve your time management and task management, be sure to check out The Inefficiency Assassin: Time Management Tactics for Working Smarter, Not Longer.