Live An Extraordinary Life

Archive for the ‘Design Your Life’ Category


I did something this weekend that I do periodically and also ask my clients to do. I took a good hard look at my life to see if I am actually spending time on what is important to me. And guess what? I’m out of whack, missing by a very very long shot.

Jeez, who knew, and me a trained professional and all.

Well, data can actually reveal some pretty interesting truths. Here’s what I did and you can try it if you think it would work for you:

1.     I made a list of the main categories in my life, things like my marriage, work, writing, self- care etc. Then I prioritized them.

2.     Next I figured out that in the average day I probably have about 15 waking hours to live my life. That leaves 105 non-sleeping hours per week for doing stuff. This calculation alone helped me validate that life DOES go super-fast and that this is how I got to be as old as I am with such inexplicable speed.

3.     Then I started calculating how many hours I spend in each of my main life categories during any given week.

4.     Then I multiplied that number times 4.3483 to get the picture of how much time I was spending in each category a month. Why 4.3483? Well, there is a very valid reason. In another life-time, I was a compensation analyst for IBM. Because some months have 5 weeks, or a portion of a 5th week, we used this calculation to accurately determine a monthly and then annual salary. I am not making this up.

5.     Anyway, once I figured out where I was currently spending my time, I created my ideal 105- hour week and 457- hour month, the one where my time is in alignment with my priorities. This was the eye-opening moment….seeing the gap in black and white. It isn’t just that I’m not spending proportionate time on the things that are most important to me, it is that I could be, but I have been letting time just slip by. You know how that goes? For me it starts with aimlessly following one link after another down the internet rabbit hole, then comes watching that video that someone who clearly doesn’t know me has sent to me, this is followed by reading old email instead of deleting it and it culminates with my being a good Pavlov’s dog and responding instantly to the gazillion push notifications showing up on my way too many devices.

Shocked out of denial, I got to work and started realigning and today is a new day. I’m writing this, one of the things I love to do and haven’t been doing. And guess what? I’m hitting the publish button when I’m done instead of re-reading and editing until my eyes are bleary from making sure everything is just perfect. (I’m done with perfection too, but that is another blog altogether)

Next? I’m going on the hunt for my next good literary read, the one that will feed my writer’s soul. Then, I’m going to look for a good “just for pleasure”  novel to read, just to balance fun with serious. After that, well I’m not really sure but I must confess that taking just a couple of steps toward taking charge of my time and life again has me feeling giddy already.

Most people would close the blog right here but, hey, I’m a coach. I have to write this last thing: Please read it.

Lessons Learned:

1.     When how you spend your time is aligned with your priorities, you feel good. Bliss out and enjoy because it won’t last forever.

2.     When you aren’t in alignment you feel bad and it is time to make some changes. If you can’t get the beat on your mood, here is a hint: It is a sign that things aren’t going so well when the people who normally love to spend time with you are as rare to find as a fairyfly (Yes there is such a thing. They are members of the wasp family…no, the insect wasp… and the smallest family of insects known to science).

3.     Finally, and most important, living life on your terms is about taking control of your time. So, break out the numbers, find the gap and put your plan in place to get back into your happy zone.

Sheila Madden is the CEO of Madden Coaching & Consulting  and Founder of CravingFiction: Short Stories for Busy People.

Copyright 2017 Sheila Madden. All Rights Reserved.

You Are About To Read A stunning Fact: 

The Gallup organization have asked 1.7 million employees in 101 companies from 63 countries the question:

“At work do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?” 

Take a guess how many people strongly agreed with this statement.

The answer: 20%. That means that most people and organizations are operating at only 20 percent of their capacity. 

Herein lies The Secret Weapon that can blow the doors off your potential…. YOUR STRENGTHS.

In the book, “NOW, Discover Your Strengths”, Buckingham and Clifton tell us this number is low because organizations are primarily focused on overcoming weaknesses instead of maximizing strengths.

Their other groundbreaking assertion?

 We attain excellence only by maximizing our strengths, never by fixing our weaknesses.

So What Is A Strength?
 A strength is any activity that you perform with consistent perfection. It is composed of 3 parts:

  1. Talents: Your naturally recurring and successful patterns of thought, feelings or actions  (ability to help people achieve their potential through coaching)
  2. Knowledge: Facts and lessons learned (study in psychology, coaching, business)
  3. Skills: Competencies applied to an activity (listening, pattern recognition, emotional intelligence)

Do You Know Your Strengths? 

You can learn your top 5 strengths by taking the STRENGTHFINDER online. The only catch is, you have to buy the book to get an access code. In my opinion, it’s worth the investment. It takes about 20 minutes to take and you get a report instantly. It is fast and remarkably accurate. I have taken it and used it with many clients….always a home-run.

How does it help you unlock your potential?

  1. You learn what you are naturally good at so that you can apply those things to work and life successfully and consistently.
  2. You attain the language to describe what you are good at to employers, friends, partners etc…so that you find the best match-ups and opportunities to contribute and collaborate.
  3. You have the information you need to make informed decisions about how to succeed in any work or life situation e.g. what job will be best for you, will that promotion be career enhancing or a potential disaster, how can you best contribute to the success of your team, family, community?
  4. Your work and life become more effortless because you are in the flow.
  5. Flow = FUN

Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

Sheila Madden is the CEO of Madden Coaching & Consulting where she coaches and consults with leaders of high growth companies, individuals wanting to live an extraordinary life and new college graduates who are ready to launch their careers with competence, confidence and character.

2012 Copyright Madden Coaching & Consulting. All Rights Reserved.

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