Interview With Julie

Julie Baird - The Grade Coach

Julie Baird - The Grade Coach

So, Julie, How long have you been doing what you do and how did you get to be a Focused Time Management for Students Expert?

To answer this question, it’s probably best that I share with you a defining moment and the resulting story that brought me to where I am today, coaching students in High School and college on exactly what to do to get in control of their time and their lives so they can get the grades they deserve, with less stress.

That defining moment in my life happened in early 2008. I had been working in corporate environments developing and delivering training courses for managers and executives on how to improve their effectiveness and productivity. Although I got great satisfaction helping these overloaded and stressed out people I was constantly frustrated by the stress I saw in these people that could be solved with some simple techniques. It could all have been avoided if they had been introduced to it earlier.

At the same time my kids were progressing through school and I was frustrated that they were not being taught these skills at a point in their development when it would help them with their studies.

Then I got a chance to work with some students from North Eastern University in Boston and it was like a light bulb going off in my brain. Here were people I could really help, at a time in their lives when they were still open to new ideas, when their habits were not ingrained.

Students today are under more stress than my peers ever were and I have the skills to help them cope.

As a result I have since made a commitment to help students who are overwhelmed. Helping them learn the time management and organization skills that will allow them to get back in control and get the grades they deserve with much less stress, through my workshops, products, groups and private coaching. Since then, I’ve worked with a large number of students, spoken in front of countless groups, and have created The Focused Time Management System™ for Students; a series of 7 important practice-building steps every students needs to apply to get in control of their time and make it work for them.

Can’t a tutor offer the same thing?

Tutors tend to cover subject matter with a student, frequently for an individual subject. Time management and organization can be covered as part of their services but it is an additional tactic for them. What makes me different from a tutor is that I have specialized in time management techniques for over 15 years, training managers and executives in corporate environments. Because of this, students get proven and extremely specific step by step information on exactly what they need to do to get more done in less time. As a result, students that work with me cope better with school, have less stress and have less meltdowns over deadlines. They develop skills that will be with them far beyond school into their business careers.

Why do you call yourself a coach?

I call myself a coach because I like to think of the sports analogy. We would not dream of taking part in a sport without having a coach. Someone who knows the game, understands the rules and can help us develop our skills so we can perform at a higher level. That is the role that I perform within Focused Time Management.

Having a coach is socially acceptable. It does not carry the stigma for a student of needing a tutor or extra help in school.

What type of personality do you work best with and what is expected of students working with you?

The Focused Time Management workshops, products and programs were created for people who are absolutely serious about getting control over their time and getting out from under the pressure, and ending last minute panics over deadlines and all night cramming sessions. They were created for students to change the way they operate so that by implementing they can alter their approach to life and work and become high achievers with time for the fun things in life.

I have always had to work at this myself so I understand the frustrations, but I know that when the steps are followed they work! I’m known to work best with people who are ready to make the difference in their lives and want to know exactly what steps to take to make it happen.

Consider my programs to be an action learning course. Students will be expected to take serious and consistent action. No excuses anymore, just a very different way of thinking and full support while they achieve this incredibly exciting goal: control over their time and their life!

What ages of students do you work with?

I work with students from 8th grade through to college, who are bright, intelligent kids but have never been taught exactly how to manage their time so they can let their true talents shine through.

Up till 8th grade most schools do a reasonable job of modeling the skills they want students to learn. However, in 8th grade support is pretty much removed in preparation for High School. This is when some students struggle to apply the skills that have been modeled for them up till that point. Also at that age students tend to see High School looming up and are willing to put in some effort to make sure the transition is smooth.

Once in High School the pressure is on and very little assistance is offered within the school system. Many students find that the tactics that worked for them through Middle School do not work as well for them now.

The move to college is another key change that can leave students feeling overwhelmed. A completely different environment and time pattern coupled with being away from parental influence and help can be the downfall for many. New tactics are required to cope to keep up with work and still have time to enjoy the college experience.

Can the same learning be applied to younger students?

The same principles apply at any age, however. It has been my experience that schools tend to support students reasonably well through to 7th grade when they tend to pull away in readiness for High School. For younger students I would recommend my Time Management For Students E-Course facilitated by the parent.

Do you work with kids who have ADD, ADHD or learning disabilities?

I have worked with students with mild forms of some learning issues; however, I am not trained to give students with severe learning disabilities the help they need. I can help put you in touch with people who can.

For what type of person is this program NOT going to work?

Please know I’m selective in who I work with and I cherry-pick my clients, choosing to (gently) turn away people who aren’t suited for my programs and won’t get the results for which they would have signed up for. (It wouldn’t be fair to them.)

The Focused Time Management programs are NOT for those who are not ready to put in the effort. Working with students I have sometimes found that the parent is very enthusiastic but the student does not recognize there is a problem. Unless the student is prepared to do the activities (with or without parental intervention) then in my experience the results are not forthcoming.

If that is the case I recommend that you (as a parent) do the following

  1. Do some detailed tracking with your child to try and help them recognize the issues they are facing.
  2. Check out the Focused Time Management tips and tactics int he Make Time for Fun Archives. The free information will give you good information to pass on to get started towards improvement until they are ready to work with me one-on-one.

Doing these things will really help move things forward. When you’re ready, call me and we’ll get started. (I’m in no rush and will be here when you need me.)

Another type of person I won’t work with is the individual who constantly makes excuses for not getting their assignments done. If you are one of these people, I gently and respectfully ask that you not call and I hope you understand why. We’ll probably just not work well together and I wouldn’t want you to waste your time or money. Is that fair?

What exactly is The Focused Time Management System™ for Students and what does it include?

The Focused Time Management System™ for Students is a structured way of getting the students out of the feeling of being constantly overwhelmed and panicking over deadlines and into a place where they have everything under control and are confident in handling their workload and find time to do the things they enjoy. It begins with understanding how they currently deal with time and priorities; what are their strengths and what are the issues they need to work on; what techniques they need to apply and making sure that they have systems to support their success. Then, it means taking serious action on it.

Here’s what the System gets students to do:

1. Clear The Decks; make Focused Time Management a priority

You are already overloaded so we examine your schedule and look for how we can make room in your day to focus on getting better. We look for non-essential “leaks” in the time bucket, things that could be put on hold to create space to work on Focused Time Management

2. Understand How You Work Best

We will carry out a number of quizzes and assessments to understand how you learn, how you use time and what that means to you right now. We will work on understanding where your strengths are so we can tap into those as we progress.

3. Create More Time

We will look at using time differently so that you actually have more time available in the day. We will identify what times of day are best for you to carry out specific activities and address procrastination and prioritization so that the time you can make good choices about how you spend that time.

4. Get Laser Focused

Together we will identify all the things in your life that impact your ability to focus. We will identify tactics to overcome distractions (both internal and external) that fit with your personal style.

5. Plan For Success

In this section, you will find out all about how to plan your time so you can have a balance in your life. We will work on how to integrate your personal style into your planning so it becomes part of life for you. We will address how to cope with crunch times so that you can still feel in control.

6. Build Systems That Support You

Here we build personalized systems that will help you keep on the right track. We will establish system that will make it easy for you to keep up the good practices that you have adopted, so you can use your focus on getting stuff done and not worrying about it all.

7. Lock in Improvement

It won’t help you if you go through all this then let it slide, so in this section we look at how you can track your progress and adapt as necessary. We will cover what measures make sense for you and what danger signs to look out for, when to get help and how to build the learning into your future plans.

Congratulations!!! Your Focused Time Management System™ is fully in place and you’ll never have to feel overwhelmed and out of control again!

These are the steps of The Focused Time Management System™ that I’ve created after working with hundreds of people over the last 15+ years to help them get control of their time and get the results they wanted.

In addition to these 7 categories, students will learn many other things to help them to make their time work for THEM, to have balance in their life, to work smarter not harder to get the results that they deserve.

Does this really work?

Yes! The result of my work is an approach to managing time that, over time and with the student’s dedication, works consistently to get them back in control of their time and their life.

What results can we expect?

You can expect your child to:

  • Develop a clear understanding of their learning style and what that means for managing their time and workload
  • Understand how they use time and what the danger triggers are for them
  • Learn how to use extra time that they don’t even know they have
  • Understand their procrastination danger zones and how to get past them
  • Be able to use prioritization models to target the right work
  • Have a greater focus while working
  • Have a personalized system built to support them
  • Have a structured approach to planning projects
  • Never miss another deadline
  • Feel less pressured
  • Make time for the things they enjoy
  • Have less panic over deadlines
  • Be more organized
  • Be confident that they can cope with increasing workloads
  • Experience less nagging from parents

How quickly can we expect results?

Obviously, this depends on how long they’ve been struggling and how much they put into the assignments that I give them. That said, virtually all students see results within the first few weeks in the form of feeling more in control, more confident about coping and seeing their way forward.

How can I guarantee myself that my child will feel less overwhelmed and more in control of their time?

Make sure they all of their assignments and apply the lessons. Help them be totally focused on managing their time. Help them understand that it’s not a “quick fix,” it’s not magic and it takes up some time for them to change their habits and learn new behaviors. All my clients that have diligently applied every step of The Focused Time Management System TM have successfully got their time and workload under control and transformed the way they approach life. They have freed up more time to do the things they really enjoy far more than they ever would have on their own.

Julie, based on everything I’ve read and heard about you, I know you’re the one I want to help my child. What are my options for getting started with you?

Congratulations on making a decision for success! I’m happy to work with your child to help them get control of their time and their life…

To get started with gaining control of their time and getting balance in their life, here are the different programs and products I’ve created for them:

I highly recommend that you start with the Time Management For Students E- Course. It contains a good basic level of time management tips and tactics to get you started. It is an 8 week course with video and supporting worksheets. Consider this Time Management For Students 101. If you feel your child is in reasonable shape, work well on their own and has the discipline to take action alone, (or with some prompting from you) then this is an excellent starting point. To get started go to http://thegradecoach.com/tmfs-promo/

Once they’ve worked through the some of the basics, you may decide they need the greater level of accountability, resource and support that private coaching has to offer. If that is the case there are 3 ways to work with me as their Focused Time Management Coach.

  1. Fast Track Program: This is a 3 month program for those students that are really feeling overwhelmed and need immediate help and a lot of support. It is best for those who like a lot of interaction, always have a lot of questions and work best when someone holds them accountable for their progress.

A gap analysis establishes the priorities for the student as an individual then 30 minute calls are held twice per week for 3 months to share the tactics, worksheets and track the actions. The calls are recorded and the audio file will be available the next day for download.  Unlimited e mail access is included with this level of program.

This is the most popular program as it gives the maximum one to one time with me during a critical time to really get the improvements bedded in.

  1. Basic Program: This is a 3 month program for those who need a little less support. It is best for those students who, once introduced to concepts are self starting implementers, needing a smaller amount of external prodding.

A gap analysis establishes the priorities for the student as an individual then 30 minute calls are held each week for 3 months to share the tactics, worksheets and track the actions. The calls are recorded and the audio file will be available the next day for download. 

  1. 3. Maintenance Program: This program is for those who feel they need a little help just to keep on the right track. It is best for students who have graduated from either of the other two programs but want some accountability to keep them “honest”, or those who are not in a bad place but want some preventative steps to allow them to cope as their workload increases.

This is a month to month program. 30 minute calls are held every other week for to check the current situation and issues, share tactics and track the actions. The calls are recorded and the audio file will be available the next day for download. 

Why are your programs so long?

It simply takes some time to change the behaviors that have been built up over time. Students that come to me are typically feeling overwhelmed, they need small doses that they can implement and see improvements. This gives them the space to work on more as time progresses. But since we are changing habits it can take a while and I want to be there to provide support and encouragement along the way.

Do you come to our home?

In general I provide my services remotely.  By using facilities like Skype and teleconferencing I can make much better use of everyone’s time and provide better value for money. It also allows me to help students who live too far away for me to visit.

OK, I know which program we want. How do we get started?

Great! Here’s what you do: just email me at Julie@thegradecoach.com and I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have. We will set up a time for us to have a getting to know you chat. I can’t wait to meet you and your child, in person or on the phone to get you started on your path to feeling more in control, more focused and more time to do the things you really enjoy!!

If I’m not sure we’re ready to get started, how can we sample your work at low cost to see if it’s the right solutions for my child?

A way to sample The Focused Time Management System™ is by checking out the “Make Time For Fun” archives. This provides you with proven tips, and powerful techniques from the Focused Time Management Coaching Programs. It is a must for anyone who wants to get in control of their time and get balance in their lives.  Check it out here.

OK, I’m ready to do this for my child, but I have a couple of additional questions. Can I call you?

Good, sounds like you’re ready to help your child get control over their time! Yes, if you have a couple of questions, just email me at Julie@thegradecoach.com and we can set up a time to chat about the issues you and your child face and I’ll be happy to walk you through the different options to see which one will be the very best for you. I can’t wait to see your child succeed and am honored to be the one to help them. Let’s get going!

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