Four to five hours of sleep a night was the norm for Elisabeth, co-executive director of SAFE, a non-profit in DC dedicated to ensuring the safety of survivors of domestic violence.
She was regularly getting to bed around midnight and trying to get up around 4:00am to start her work day.
Clearly Elisabeth understood this approach wasn't sustainable on many levels, which was why she and her co-director decided to reach out for support with their time management and organization.
We started Elisabeth off on a major energy-refueling mission. A strong focus on more sleep and actual time “off” from work. Time for rejuvenation. Elisabeth was ready for the experiment and immediately began making sleep a priority.
Over our next several sessions, we built the systems that Elisabeth needed not only to focus on her priorities at work, but also to feel comfortable focusing on herself outside of work.
We consolidated and blocked large chunks of time for the core activities that Elisabeth needed to perform her job. Email was one of the most impactful areas we touched. We reduced her email usage by more then 90% by creating email ‘sessions’ throughout the day instead of allowing herself to be pulled in each time the notifier went off.
This is what Elisabeth said after the program,
“I'm actually really using my time map, altered a bit, and feel like a new person again. It's what lets me shut everything else out and get grants written without feeling insane or working 18-hour days. I think my massage therapist is going to be losing some money since I can actually physically move most of the time now.
It's so incredibly helpful to spend time on me, even if it doesn't look the way I think it should look overall, getting sleep, having time to eat, working on developing exercise habits again, have made an enormous difference.
I have a lot energy, but I'm also a lot more discriminating about how I spend the energy that I have. If it's not something I really want to do, I don't do it, and I can actually shut off email for a whole weekend, which would have been unheard of even a month a go.”
When I checked in on Elisabeth a few months after she had completed the program – she couldn’t be reached – she was on vacation! Her first in 5 years.
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