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How Can Systems Help you Achieve Zen-Like Focus and Super Efficiency?

Things do not happen. Things are made to happen - John . F. Kennedy

Do you want to work smarter rather than harder?

Do you wish you could be more efficient, organised and effective in your professional life and, at the same time, free up more time for your private life, achieving that elusive that work-life balance that will leave you super-efficient, calm and clear thinking?

The dinner party

I threw a dinner party a little while ago and lost three days of my life I’ll never get back.

You see I haven’t thrown a dinner party in quite a while and, as I struggled to find the right menu, recipes, ingredients, table settings, time and energy, I remembered why!

A few weeks later I threw a second dinner party. I must be mad. But this time, I did things differently. I used the first experience to make changes which made me a much more efficient and effective host the second time round.

The menu I used for the first dinner was declared a success by those who attended (feedback), so I decided to use the same menu again with a couple of small tweaks and improvements.

I’d invested in some new table linen and cutlery the first time, so this job was done and didn’t need doing again. The linen was in place, ironed and ready to use.

The herbs, spices and ingredients from the first dinner were all now in one cupboard, as was the crockery and cutlery, all clean, grouped together and ready to go.

This time I was more confident about how to organise the kitchen. I was calmer too and when my guests eventually sat down at the table, I was more ‘present.’ Instead of having a head full of things-to-do, I was able to relax and enjoy the event, more confident now of a good outcome.


I hope you may have already seen the parallel.

When I connected coaching to my own psychotherapy practice, I became somewhat overwhelmed by the increased number of interventions available to me.

There was now so much I could do to help my client in the session. The transition from person-centred counsellor to proactive coach-therapist had been a superfast ride which had left me somewhat stressed and distracted now by sheer choice.

I wanted to be the most efficient and effective therapist for my clients and I wanted consistency and quality control so that my outcomes would be the best they could possibly be more of the time.

So I created a system, a way of externalising my memory. The system evolved through 30,000 hours of working practice. This was the system which became The Fusion Model,

the model I used to train volunteers in the therapeutic coaching charity I co-founded nearly 6 years ago and as the NCFE accredited Diploma at The Integrated Coaching Academy.

The science bit

Now cognitive neuroscience offers us real insight into how and why systems are so helpful to us and why the human brain is hardwired to ‘organise’.

Neural enhancement is something human beings have striven for throughout our history. We have devised ever-refined ways of improving upon the brain given to us by evolution. As we strive to harness and release the full power of our amazing human brain, we are driven to attain higher and higher levels of achievement, to adapt to our shifting environment and gain the edge over our competition.

And as we free up our brains of their clutter, we are able to keep track of all of the details we couldn’t possibly remember ourselves, improving our brain capacity by offloading some of its functions to external sources.

What I experienced in my own professional transition was something called ‘cognitive overload’. Making too many decisions about appropriate therapeutic interventions had created a kind of ‘neural fatigue’

My response, the creation of the therapeutic coaching system I named Fusion, was my instinctive response to a desire for increased efficiency and greater effectiveness.

Systemise your life

Whatever your occupation or life style, the chances are, you will benefit greatly by creating your own system too. Your efficiency will increase the more organised you are, freeing up headspace so that you can achieve Zen-like focus, be more efficient and more creative in your work.

Here are some tips to help you get started:

Lists, lists, lists

A things-to-do list, a things-you’ve-achieved list and checklists; if it’s outside your head, it’s not inside your head causing confusion and chaos. Get it out, down on paper or into the computer.


Reminders, in an easy to remember form such as I devised with ‘The STOP System’ act as aides memoire, helping to keep information at the forefront of your mind and easier to access from your working memory.

Get organised

Paperwork, files, the computer; keep regularly-used documents readily available, filed and ready for use. This will speed up your work and create quality control, so that your results are better and easier to measure.

De clutter

Cleaning and clearing is cathartic. Create order from chaos by working smarter rather than harder and keep your environment free from clutter, both internal and external.

A calm and clear home, kitchen, desk, desktop, filing system and office allows anxiety to settle and will regulate your environment.

So, give it a go. Devise your own perfect working system and achieve Zen-like focus and super-efficiency.

And let me know just how good that feels.


Frances Masters

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk, or visit The Integrated Coaching Academy for details about up coming training.