2 Painless Tips To Successfully Complete Your Business English Programme.
“I’ve got a crazy schedule over the next few weeks. I’ll get back to you sometime in August to start some coaching.”
“I truly want to do that reflection programme, but life’s so hectic at the moment. Give me till the end of summer.”
“Something’s come up. Can we postpone the start of the programme by 3 weeks?”
“I’m travelling over the next few days, can we start the programme later?”
I get it. With all that busyness, who has time to exercise, read a book, go for a walk, or start that language programme, right?
I don’t either. I am far too busy doing stuff. I am not sure what, but my days are filled to the brim. I bet yours are too.
“Mmm, but you do have time to scroll through your Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn newsfeed.” says the little annoying voice in my head.
“Yes well, that doesn’t take much of my time. I can do that whilst I am on the tube, waiting to see a client or waiting to see the dentist. Plus I like to see how many ‘likes’ I’ve got from that post I shared. I can’t do that with my new coaching programme.” I reply.
“Why not? You can easily fit the programme into these snippets of time.” Little annoying voice again.
“Are you crazy?! No way. My coaching programme is a big, serious commitment and I need to block out large chunks of time to do it properly. To get the most out of it.” Me again.
How many times have you told yourself that:
➣ Unless you can read for a solid hour each day, what’s the point of starting that book?
➣ Unless you can exercise three times a week for an hour each time, why bother?
➣ Unless you have a spare 2 hours every other day at your desk, with your coffee and your favourite journal and pen, you simply cannot work on that business English programme?
In other words, you create excuses for why you cannot start something.
Because you assume whatever it is you want to do is a big commitment. Too big for you to make at this time.
It’s what David Kadavy calls ‘inflated investment’.
In his book, “The Heart To Start” (recommended reading* ) David says:
“with inflated investment, you prevent yourself from starting in the moment because you assume it’s too big a commitment. You assume you don’t have enough time. As a result, you cause yourself to procrastinate with something that’s a smaller commitment.”
Like scrolling through social media.
As I read the book, I couldn’t help seeing myself in this.
I used to think that if I didn’t read for at least an hour a day, it was no point starting a book. If I couldn’t go to the gym 4 times a week, I’d never achieve my fitness goals, so why bother? If I couldn’t dedicate an hour each day to watching the online summit, it was no point investing in it.
I simply couldn’t see how I would reap the full benefit of that book, that fitness or professional development programme if I didn’t commit a solid block of time to them.
So, I told myself that someday when I had more time, I would do all these things.
But I was illuding myself.
I would NEVER find the time because that moment would be gone. I would never get that time back.
It was time to change the way I saw time and my commitment to it.
With the help of my coach, I set myself a couple of challenges.
#1: Reading Challenge
I set a challenge to read 40 books in 2019. Instead of reading for an hour a day, I decided to read for 15 minutes each day. I would take my book with me everywhere. Whenever I had a moment, even if it was for 5 minutes, I’d read. It didn’t matter if I read only half a page. It was still half a page more than nothing.
Before too long, the time I read stretched to 20 minutes, 30 minutes. Now I read every day for 1 hour. Sometimes more. I am now on book 35/40 and it’s only June!
#2: Work Challenge
I set myself small blocks of time in which to work on different tasks. And I set a timer that I respected.
For example, instead of spending 4 hours on a blog post, I break the task up. I spend 30 minutes on a blog outline. The next day I spend an hour to 90 minutes on a first draft. The next day, I go back to it and make changes. I give myself 30 minutes.
The same goes for my business projects. Instead of spending hours on a project, I set myself a deadline in which I want to complete it and then work out a routine giving myself 30- minute blocks to work on it 2 or 3 times a week. I make myself work for 30 minutes only on that task.
By breaking the task up into smaller chunks and committing only 30 minutes at a time, I find myself doing more because I have more energy than when I spend 2 hours on it.
Here’s what I’ve discovered.
By dedicating small pockets of time to my challenges, I’ve taken the pressure off myself to make that huge commitment.
As David Kadavy says, I’ve given myself “permission to make a small investment”.
Furthermore, by persisting with my small investment, I’ve started to “build momentum”. 5 minutes has become an hour. 30-minute chunks have developed into sizeable projects without the overwhelm.
My high commitment has turned into a series of low and deeply satisfying commitments that have got me results and stopped me from procrastinating.
If I can do this, so can you.
I want to share with you how I help my clients plan their time to successfully complete my 12-Day business English reflection programme.
2 easy tips you can implement today to successfully complete your business English programme.
In my reflection programme, the focus is on my clients to take some time to reflect, record and analyse two situations they struggle with when communicating in English at work. This could be a meeting, conference call, presentation or upcoming interview. Managing their time is therefore important.
Here are 2 easy ways they (and you) can implement to successfully complete their (your) programme in 2 weeks, even with their (your) hectic schedule.
Tip #1: Take a good look at your calendar and plan.
No matter how busy you are, you can find time to fit your programme in IF you allocate small portions of time to do the work.
Let’s imagine you have a meeting on Thursday.
Take 1 week at a time.
You start the programme on Monday. Take no more than 10-15 minutes to go through the workbook to familiarise yourself with what’s expected of you. Once you have a feel of what’s expected, things become more manageable.
Tuesday and Wednesday
Schedule 10 – 15 minutes to do the reflection work (Stage1). If you think you need more time, schedule another 15-minute batch to do more reflection work and do it on Wednesday. Again, don’t be tempted to do more.
Thursday – Your meeting.
This is Stage 2 of the programme and is where you observe and record how you and others communicate. This happens whilst you’re in that meeting, conference call or presentation. So there’s no need to find extra time.
Take the prompts in with you from the workbook and use them to guide you. This stage helps you to be mindful of what’s happening around you.
All you need for Stage 3 is another 10-15 minutes to analyse your findings soon after your meeting. If that’s not possible, do this on Friday.
Week 2- repeat.
Tip #2: Use your devices
Most of you have a smartphone and/or a tablet.
Our devices allow us to do a myriad of things on the move – watch movies, read the news, answer emails, read articles on Medium, scroll through social media, find train times, set reminders, do online banking and so on.
Our devices also allow us to make notes and download files.
Why not use your device for your business English programme?
Don’t have 10-15 in the office or at home to do that reflection work?
No problem. All you have to do is download the workbook to your smartphone and you have all you need to fit those 15 minutes whilst you’re on the train, a plane, waiting for your dentist, waiting for your child to finish their swimming lesson.
What are 15 minutes out of the hours you spend staring at your smartphone?
Why not use these small pockets of time on some deep thinking rather than spending 1-2 hours scrolling aimlessly through Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn?
You might get a dopamine rush calculating those likes, but you won’t have learned anything truly worthwhile. You won’t have nourished your brain. I never have.
As you accommodate these easy tips into your routine, you’ll notice you’re building momentum and before you know it, you’ll start stretching those pockets of time.
And what seemed an impossible commitment before is not only enjoyable but completely achievable.
NB: *The link to ‘The Heart To Start’ is an affiliate link. This means, at no additional cost to you, I’ll earn a cup of coffee ☕️ if you click through and buy the book.