Katie Conley is a Mum of three and Career Coach who discovered the Grid tool six months ago. We invited her over for a chat to tell us about her personalised way of managing her work and self care time with the Grid. Let’s hear her story below.
Tell us a bit about yourself, Katie
I am a Licensed Career Coach, an Accredited Strengths Profile Practitioner, a Registered Professional with the Career Development Institute and an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development. I run Conley Career Coaching, and helping people get the most from their careers is what I love to do!
Throughout my varied career, the times I’ve enjoyed the most are when I’ve been talking with people about what they do and why! I’ve always been keen to learn about the choices people make for their working lives and help them make changes, learn new things, or take on new challenges.
I am also a Christian so if my clients want to explore career choices from a Christian perspective, I also do this!
What key challenges did you face?
As a busy solopreneur working Mum of 3 trying to run my own business from home, I found that things kept falling off my ‘to do’ list and I was being pulled in many different directions at once. Inevitably, my self-care would suffer because I was trying to juggle everything at once. Plus, I felt guilty about taking time for myself. Often, I was operating from a place of empty, so neither the family nor the business got the best of me.
How did Grid improve things?
I realized the importance of self-care for a balanced life. It could be planned into my use of time, without me feeling guilty about taking time for myself, and I could see the benefits that restoring my energy gave to the other quadrants. I found the Grid by attending an online conference at which Magdalena presented it, loved the concept and the workshop, and then bought The Get Productive Grid book.
Since then, I found the visual approach to managing everything across the four quadrants very helpful. It ensures that I give enough time to my work and career, as well as home life.
I probably bend the golden rules a bit, though. Sometimes the projects on my Grid are bigger than one-off tasks, but I find this helps as an aide-memoire. I can transfer them to next week’s Grid very easily, so it’s not a problem.
I have also found doing the things that ‘attract my energy’ really helpful rather than thinking about what’s important or urgent! Generally, the important things attract my energy anyway, and the urgent things get done because they have to be done!
What convinced you that this approach could work for you?
The psychology behind it and the simplicity of the approach to Gridding! I was attracted by the importance of avoiding burnout in personal productivity whilst pursuing the things that are important. Magdalena also made the point that people tend to focus on daily work, forfeiting time to work on their careers until they hit a crisis point in their current work. Having space for my career on the Grid ensures this important area is not forgotten. I also see this a lot with clients in my work as a Career Coach.
What have you achieved with it for your self care and work?
In my Personal Life and Self-Care quadrants:
I have been Gridding for over 6 months and I am at peace with spending time on myself. I now see these things as a valuable use of my time! During the pandemic it’s been difficult to do ‘fun’ things, but including this as a heading on my Grid meant I really spent time reading, watching films and going for walks. This has been good for my mental health, emotional wellbeing and energy levels. Perhaps as our world opens up again, more items will find their way onto this list! It also helps that my faith is embedded into my Grid. I know that when I intentionally pay attention to this area of my life, everything else improves. Health wise, I Gridded online Pilates twice a week!
In my Career and Work quadrants:
It’s really important that I build in time for growth as a Career Coach. I have found there is an overlap between my work and career quadrants, but it’s often because the career development I’m doing for myself ends up being of benefit to my clients too.
Networking is now on my Grid as a heading. Over time, I found I was doing very little of it, which wasn’t great for my business. Before, I wouldn’t have known that I was slipping on networking, but seeing that it wasn’t being done week after week helped me to address it. Having analysed this, I noted the networking down into specific events or names on the Grid. I found it was much easier because I was drawn to connecting with people and making personal contact. This made it much more appealing and now it gets done!
For my business, it has been really helpful to keep a note of my client’s requirements, marketing activities as well as business development altogether. As a solopreneur I have to keep an eye across all these areas. Yes, admin doesn’t get done straight away, but it’s on my Grid so it does get done eventually!
What is your Grid practice?
I draw up a weekly Grid on a Monday morning, looking back at last week’s Grid, transferring somethings across and including new things. As I complete items, I highlight them so I can easily see they are done, which is very satisfying.
Who do you think Grid can help and why?
The Grid can help anyone manage their daily life, both at work and home. As a Career Coach I especially love the career quadrant. This so often gets lost in the hurly-burly of working life until someone hits crunch time in their current work. Then, they want to make a change, or they want to get promoted and are unsure what to do. If you have already outlined these things in your Grid, you are more likely to make changes when you want to. It also means you are remembering to ‘grow’ rather than just work.
I also find the Grid helpful for clients who are job hunting. It is as a way of keeping balance in their lives! Resilience is a key requirement for anyone job hunting, and Gridding can help people keep balanced by focusing on all areas of their life rather than just trying to get that next job.
Finally, how would you describe Grid in one sentence?
The Grid is a fantastic practical and adaptable tool for managing your work-life balance and wellbeing to ensure you perform at your best without getting caught in the productivity trap.
We thank Katie for her wonderful insight! If you found it inspiring, we recommend further enriching your knowledge by:
- Trying out the Grid method yourself, if you haven’t yet. We recommend the full-immersion Grid Introduction Training, or you could delve into a read of Dr. Magdalena Bak-Maier’s book, The Get Productive Grid.
- Joining our newsletter community to get exclusive worksheets and advice on how to live a fuller life.
- Reading our other helpful blogs, which you can find by scrolling down into the “Related posts” section.
Finally, join the Make Time Count newsletter and get a free download of 31 self-care prompts to help you on the road to wellbeing.