The best thing you can do for your business is have fun and enjoy the relationship with your clients. Without some strong time management strategies, you’ll feel strained and worn out.
Here are 5 key areas you are probably throwing away valuable time you could be having fun with your clients.
1. Starting the Day Without a Plan
Get the boring stuff out of the way in the early hours. Better still, plan your day before you leave work the day before. You need to make sure that your key contact times are left free for follow up with your key clients, don’t waste it with a bad case of disorganisation. Set a conscious rule that it’s “tools down” 20 minutes before you leave. Use that time to plan for the next day. Your business is reliant on you making the best use of your day.
Allow yourself to set aside time for key goal setting once a week. Just some short term goals. They’re easier to achieve and more satisfying. So create some long and mid-range plans and then extract from these all the daily activities you’ll need to do in order to reach the planned goals.
Simplify your processing. You should have a simple plan for getting organised and prioritising your workload that shouldn’t take you too long through the processing period. Massive in trays or inboxes where emails or documents are handled more than once are a time wasting trap.
2. Procrastination – Too much fun means the boring catches up
If your day’s tasks require an activity that you aren’t fond of, do it first thing. Getting past it will give you a lift and make the rest of the day a pleasure. It’s also best to do those hated things when you’re fresh.
You probably already know what you’re good at, what you enjoy and what’s going to distract you. We tend to put off the things we don’t enjoy, right? We don’t enjoy them, because of lack of clarity, that is, not being clear about the process or how to do the task.. The secret here, is be clear about what items on your to do list are actually projects and what are tasks. Tasks have clear action steps. Projects are outcomes you want to achieve. A project sitting on your “To Do List” might not have clear action steps and that’s why you’re putting it off, chunk down your project into doable and achievable outcomes. Or if you simple can’t resolve it, seek to delegate or outsource.
When I work with people on procrastination, they’re often surprised by what causes the distractions, what their personality attracts too but it boils down to working with your strengths and being aware of your weaknesses. You can actually trick your brain into having fun with something boring! (Ask me how if you’re curious.)
3. Not Using Effective Contact and Task Management Systems
If you’re working with yellow sticky-notes all over the place, you’re creating constant distraction and essentially double handling the information (Well actually, how many times are you going to read that note?) Whether you’re into technology or not, you need to have clear systems to manage your clients right through from lead to completion. Regardless of whether you use physical tools and filing systems or digital tools like Evernote, a good system will free you. Good systems free people, otherwise YOU are they system. Yes you, your bogged down brain and your sticky notes are the system running the show rather than allowing a good productivity system working for you.
Simplify your processes and create streamlined systems for task management and effective methods for easily getting things done. The simpler a system is, the more you’ll get done, whether it’s streamlined and automated email filing or basic organisation strategies
4. Allowing Non-critical Interruptions of Your Planned Activities
If you’ve got an open plan office, this can cause easy access and distraction for you. Create simple communication tools with your colleagues to let them know when you’re having key focus time and to only interrupt you for emergencies. I heard about a CEO of a major corporation who wanted to have an open door policy, but found he was interrupted too often to be productive. So he implemented a red hat policy. When he was wearing his red hat he was working on a deadline and would prefer not to be interrupted unless urgent but his door still remained open! But for this kind of communication symbolism to work, you have to be consistent with the rule, otherwise people will ignore it.
Email distraction is perhaps the biggest killer. I work with people to really cut down their processing time for emails. Typically I can save people 2 hours per day (for anyone receiving anywhere from 40 – 100 emails) by simply modifying how you process your emails and turning off the alerts! You should be spending time building relationships not troweling through your inbox for a lost email!
5. Not willing to adapt – Killing Your Mojo
You know that quote: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. You can trust in your instincts, or you can use time tracking tools and techniques to actually look at how much time you are spending on certain activities and projects. There are any number of tools available to help you be more effective with your time. Equip yourself with tools, both physical and digital to enable you to increase your productivity. Enjoy the process of trying something new. Have fun with it. If nothing else, time how long you take processing emails or responding to them and you’ll be shocked!
When you are unproductive you are stressed, absent minded and unmotivated. Mistakes creep in and you see and increase in conflicts around you. You become distracted, procrastinate and turn into a slug!
If the “fun” is missing from you business and you’ve lost your mojo, you can really benefit from increased productivity.
If you’d like to learn more about Time Management & Productivity Strategies join me for a half day recharge your energy in your business. For more information: CLICK HERE