Tanya Dotson is the founder of 180 Degrees Time Management ™, and works as a time management strategist and adviser to Fortune 500 executives. Tanya has run three coaching and consulting businesses since 1999 and for the past six years has been focusing on time management, helping hundreds of busy clients free up to five hours per day.
Wow! 5 hours. How is it possible to make so much time in the lives of people who claim to be busy all the time?
By using simple neuroscience to get them to the sub- and unconscious sponsoring thoughts controlling their behaviour. Most time management programs address the symptoms of the problem – being late, disorganized, distracted, procrastinating, waiting until the last minute – and give tips and strategies for dealing with these symptoms when they show up.
My clients get at the unconscious thoughts underlying their behaviour by doing one guided deep dive, using my 180 Degree Regression Process™. Then we develop a personal Prompt that not only matches these sponsoring thoughts but also reverses them. Used over time the prompt eliminates the unwanted behaviour permanently.
What is your own personal business story? What did you do before you became a time management coach?
I started off as an academic and worked a series of positions like Medical Counselor, Research Coordinator, and Psycho-Social Counsellor. I started my first successful consulting company in 1999, and then sold that company to start an Executive Coaching consultancy. I developed that into my previous company, 180 Degree Time Management, LLC, upon repeated requests for Time Management strategies from my Executive Coaching clients.
How did you come up with the idea of starting 180 Degrees Time Management? What inspired you?
A few things: Again, repeated requests for Time Management strategies from my Executive Coaching clients, frustration with the unsustainability of traditional time management tools, and Tim Ferriss’ “The 4 –Hour Work Week.”
How do you persuade your clients to commit to your coaching programme if they claim they already have no time for anything?
I never persuade anyone to join my programs because they would be doing it for all the wrong reasons and end up fighting the process. I offer free 45-minute Strategy Assessment Breakthrough calls to see I am the best solution to their particular time management issue.
I only coach CEOs and Top Executives who are lifelong learners. I never coach anyone who is looking for quick tips or thinks they already have the answer. By the end of this vetting process I know what their issue is, what solution I can offer and whether or not they are a fit for my programs.
What are the most common time management mistakes you see among your clients? What are the archetypes of ‘time sinners’ – do the majority of people procrastinate, multitask, fail to prioritise or get too distracted to be really productive?
All of the above and more, but they are symptoms of the real issues, don’t really matter, and are as individual as the professionals themselves. And THAT is the most common Time Management mistake – thinking that dealing with the symptoms is going to fix the problem. It’s like continuing to give someone pain killers to mask their stomach pain – they know there is a problem with their stomach but are too afraid to know what’s wrong with them. But that knowledge is the only thing that can possibly change their situation. More painkiller is NOT going to solve the problem.
Over the last 20 years the Internet and smartphone apps have hijacked our working lives. How could technology help people manage their time more effectively, say, by using a smart time scheduling system that adapts and disciplines the user automatically? Or do you think technology does more harm than good to our productivity?
The key is to be in charge of your technology rather than the other way around. Tech tools are great, but notifications popping up from Twitter, FB, Instagram, and your email program while you’re trying to focus on the project at hand is counterproductive.
You are running this business and consulting your clients, giving lots of interviews and appearing in various social media, how do you manage your own time to be able to achieve all this? Do you use your own products on yourself?
Absolutely! I developed these products using the more than 50 Executives I was coaching and myself as guinea pigs. I always try newly developed products out on myself first and do the first round of testing here. When I get my results I roll it out for my clients. I request thorough feedback from each client about what works, how well, and what could need more tweaking.
What is the biggest time management challenge for you? And what is generally the biggest challenge that you encounter in your business?
I’m very similar to my target audience so altering my #sacredschedule to accommodate someone else’s schedule is one of the pitfalls I constantly have to use the tools for. Procrastinating when I have a steep learning curve is another one I have to keep an eye on and recognize it before it stops me.
Do you work from home or have an office? What time management lifehacks can you give to solo-entrepreneurs working from home, who often feel distracted and lonely due to that?
I work remotely so I can be in my home office or a quiet office location with WIFI. If I’m not recording materials and I am working on design and content I work from a location other than my home office. I’ll use The Princeton Club in NYC for example or The New York City Public Library. Just taking public transportation allows me to get into different conversations and I sometime schedule meetings with colleagues at these locations to have human contact.
I find I only get distracted and lonely if I have isolated myself in my home office for too long. Break up both your working hours and locations to avoid the distractions and loneliness.
What is the most important takeaway from your experience as a time management strategist so far?
That Time Management is illogical, which is why so many professionals resist it. The access to effective and permanent change in your habits is rooted firmly in your unconscious and subconscious mind. Since it is primarily your conscious mind that is accessible, I find really busy business owners, CEOs, and entrepreneurs more time by employing neuroscience to the psychology of Productivity and Time Management.