Put Phil back in control of his time.
Phil is a managing partner of a consulting company who was relied upon to come up with the best new ideas. That required tremendous amount of reading and research--something he used to be good at. But in recent years, as the amount of available information increased exponentially, Phil found himself constantly buried in a backlog of research. He had difficulty focusing during the workday; drowning in emails from his team, fielding constant interruptions and procrastinating on the intimidating volume of his research pile. He carted huge stacks of reading home every night and on the weekend, yet never go through it all. He missed a couple of huge opportunities as a result.
We worked with Phil to add structure and routines to his day to support his goals. We began by claiming a 3 hour block of time every morning (his peak brainpower time) for uninterrupted focus time for research. We decluttered his research pile by identifying the 5 most reliable sources, and letting the the redundant or low value research that was just a distraction go. We then chunked the reading and research activities into a series of small doable steps, so he could feel a concrete sense of accomplishment each day. Finally, we systematized communication with his team--including a daily huddle time, batching their questions and creating a cadence of reports to minimize interruptions.
Within 3 months, Phil was like a new man. He was completely on top of his reading (the desktop was clear of all piles), he was steadily producing 5-8 new ideas each week, and his team was getting the consistent support and input they needed. His focus was back, his stress level was down, and most important he was making his unique contribution. Now that he was spending the time he needs on the most important aspect of his job during the day, his need to work from home all but disappeared. His family was thrilled to have more quality time with him, and Phil even started exercising again!