Monkey Puzzle Blog

Eleanor Shakiba

Meet the Time Masters - Eleanor Shakiba, The Success Orienteer

Eleanor is an Entrepreneur, Success Coach and Master Facilitator based in Sydney, Australia. Running a busy and successful coaching and training organisation requires her to be super organised to stay on top of everything and grow the business. 
How does she do it? ...

“My favourite Christmas present as a child was this amazing calendar with stickers - I used it to plan and organise myself from a very early age. I’m a big picture person: I can’t take small steps, I have to change the world! So mentally putting things into a timeline is my way of not becoming overwhelmed by my own thinking. I see calendars in my head and slot things in.”

Eleanor sorts time in big chunks and sequentially, hence the calendars. This is partly what makes her successful as she has big goals and intentions and knows when she wants to deliver them. However, thinking in terms of years doesn’t help get ‘today’ sorted, so Eleanor uses the calendars and other tools to help her sort actions and smaller goals into achievable steps. A lot of entrepreneurs think in the big picture. Successful ones either use other people (who think in smaller steps) or a framework of some kind to get those big goals into a process.

“I’m an early adopter when it comes to new tools, technology and processes for helping me become more efficient. It’s not my natural way of thinking so I use what other people have created and then adapt it to suit me. I don’t love technology for the sake of it, I’m only interested if it can help me to do something better and more efficiently.”

Eleanor also has natural prioritisation skills. She says, “I don’t understand why people don’t know what’s the most important thing for them.”

Eleanor naturally knows what needs to be done now, in order to provide benefit in the future. This is a factor of her sequential time sort as she can link action today with the future using the calendars in her mind. She also has very few competing inner conflicts, so can remain extremely focused when she needs to.

Her natural focus, determination and love of her work has some downsides though:

“Other people don’t think I have balance, and enough people have said it that I now pay attention. I have introduced the same calendar approach to my non work life. I plan my holidays first before I book in any work for the year. My massage therapist loves me because I book them up for the whole year in advance. I also set an alarm to stop me working.”

Like many people who love their work, Eleanor recognises that you still need downtime and she creates healthy prompts and habits to help her maintain rhythm in her life.

As the author of Difficult People Made Easy, you would think that asserting boundaries when it comes to time would be easy for Eleanor, but she has had to learn this like the rest of us which is partly why she wrote the book:

“I wasn’t naturally assertive. I would take on too much and then work all night. I had to practise and refine my assertiveness skills because at first I probably came across too harsh and had to tone things down so as not to upset people. Setting boundaries around your time so that other people know how to treat you takes practise to get right.”

By making the most of her natural thinking processes around time and using frameworks and tools to help her with the detail, Eleanor has managed to create a rhythm that works for her and her business.

So what’s her top tip for maximum efficiency?

“I only wear the colours red and black for time management purposes. It means everything goes with everything and I can get ready super fast in the morning without dithering around in front of the wardrobe. It makes packing for business trips really easy. It also cuts down on shopping time. So if you have favourite colours, pick two that go together and deck out your wardrobe and accessories so they all coordinate, you won’t look back I guarantee it.” 

How do you chunk and sort your time? Find out if you’re a big chunker and sequencer like Eleanor, or a small chunker or themer with this free quiz. Once you know how you naturally sort and chunk time, you can design a time management approach that fits your natural way of thinking best.

Find out more about Eleanor’s work at

Learn to become a Time Master in our no1 best selling book Time Mastery; Banish Time Management Forever.

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