This is a guest post by Lisa Crilley Mallis, a certified coach, author, and speaker, and owner of Impactive Strategies, LLC. We met at the Women’s Business Conference sponsored by NAWBO and immediately hit it off. I know many consultants and coaches feel overwhelmed so I asked her to offer some of her advice. You know I love practical tips you can use immediately so I wanted to share this with you. Enjoy! 


Is it possible to make decisions without supporting data? Possible yes, but not effective.

When I ask my clients if they have enough time to get all their tasks done every day, most say, “No!” Most of them come to me because they want to reach greater milestones in their businesses, but feel overwhelmed with the amount of work they have to do.

To get the supporting data needed to create an effective plan, early in our relationship my client will do the Magic 168 exercise. She’ll write down everything she is currently doing and everything she wants to do, and then total the number of hours spent in each category each week. There are only 168 hours in a week – we can compare her total with the number of hours available.

Often, the results are surprising! In fact, just this week two clients had completely different results.

The similarities? Both Susan and Amy felt guilty that they couldn’t get everything done, and that they “should” be managing their time better. They both stressed that there were aspects of their lives that were suffering because of this constant stress. Susan was missing out on quality time with her husband and young daughter. And Amy felt she was being ineffective overall and dropping the ball in all areas.

The differences? Susan’s “Magic 168” total was 193!! She actually allocated 25 hours each week that could not possibly exist! Of course she felt stressed and guilty that she couldn’t get everything done. It wasn’t humanly possible to get everything done!

When Amy looked at her total, she came up with 145. Even though she felt she was getting nothing done, she had 23 hours less allocated than what is available.

So, once they had the data need to create a plan, they had options. They could step past the stress and emotion of overwhelm and focus on reality.

So what’s next?

Susan realized that trying to save a few minutes on some tasks was not going to solve the problem. That would be like cutting a $0.25 coupon for bread and trying to use that savings to offset the cost of a $7000 hot tub! Just not going to happen! So instead, she needs to do a major overhaul of her commitments and decide what really is important to her.

When Amy realized that she really does have the time, she could focus on how she was “losing” time throughout her day. By tracking her tasks and time spent for one week, Amy saw that she is too easily distracted by emails and calls. She also realized that she had not accounted for “down time” in her total -reading or watching TV.

So what does this teach us? Is one of these clients “doing it right” and the other not? Is watching TV bad? Is being distracted “normal”? Is trying to “save 15 minutes” a good strategy?

No judgment here!!!!

This Magic 168 exercise is about YOUR goals and getting done what you need and want to get done. Get clear on the data, then bridge the gap.

The Magic 168 exercise is SUCH an easy way to get the data for your own life. Once you have it, you can make customized changes to use your 168 hours each week to live the live you truly want to live!

The place to start? Get your own Magic 168 Action Guide and start gathering data now!


Lisa Crilley Mallis is a certified coach, author, and speaker, and owner of Impactive Strategies, LLC. She works with focused, successful business owners who are overcommitted and still want to achieve more.

For over 15 years, Lisa has provided customized, real solutions to everyday challenges, allowing her clients to build capacity and accomplish more in less time, while still enjoying their lives. She delivers motivating keynote speeches, leads dynamic and engaging workshops, and creates results oriented coaching programs.

Lisa lives in Chagrin Falls, Ohio with her husband Lou and his dog, Neuton. She loves chocolate, the beach, and country music.