Work time and productive time are seldom the same time. Ongoing interruptions require focus to shift and tasks to be left partially completed. The faster you work; it seems the more that needs done. Make your time more productive by managing the interruptions.
Gain control of the phone
The phone can be a key lifeline for contacting your customers, but can also be a significant drain of your productive hours. To manage the frequent interruptions:
- Avoid the “anyone who can answer” strategy. Schedule turns for phone duty at the office. This could be once a week, a couple hours a day, or whatever can be done with your current staff.
- Set times when the phone will be answered, and when it will be sent to voicemail. In the message, specify when the call will be returned. This is especially true to mobile phones.
- Encourage the use of electronic communications. Also set times when you will check and return messages for social media, email, or text. Occasionally scan through messages to identify any that need a quicker response.
Master the TO-DO list
The timeless to-do list is as effective today as it was yesterday. Effectively using a to-do list can save you as much as six hours a week. Here is the best way to use a to-do list:
- Write it down, or it will only be a passing thought
- Create a long-term goal for your business, and then break the goal into steps
- Build a weekly to-do list by evaluating each to-do and identify what should be done this week
- A daily to-do list will outline what can be done today to ensure you reach the weekly goals
- The to-do list should be a living document, receiving frequent revisions on the daily, weekly and yearly items
- Do not include personal tasks on the list
Use appointment time blocks
A sense of logic encourages most to schedule appointments sporadically, leaving only small pockets of time free. This is actually counterproductive since there isn’t enough time to get into an existing project or start a new one. When appointments are scheduled in time, blocks you can save up to 8 hours a week of your time. Here is a better way:
- Based on your customers and service you offer, determine the best time to schedule appointments.
- Cluster all appointments on any day around that time period.
Use the time you save to grow your business, spend more time with your customers, achieve the long-term goals, and to have fun. That is why you started after all.