TIME VAMPIRES! They suck the life right out of your day, leaving it empty of productivity. Who is really to blame for this, though? Are you only a spectator of your life, or are you the director of it? Are you the ocean foam, or the undercurrent moving the waves of your life?
“All you do it sit on your ass playing with your computer!
Words that sparked a very heated tension between my sister-in-law and my husband. The back-story is, she said this to him in an ‘argument’ regarding who should take the heavier time burden in the care of their 85-year-old mother.
Just yesterday my mother called, and she started the conversation with, “what are you up to today?” On the surface, this seems respectful of my time, and trust me; this is a huge improvement over what I use to deal with. To decode that statement, she was basically saying SHE would decide if what I had on my agenda was in her estimation more important than what she was about to ask of me.
I responded with,
“Mom – my day has been planned, and my priorities are clear. Let me know what it is you need, and I will do my best to assist you.”
Clearly, your relationship with the Time Vampire of the moment will influence your response.
If you are looking for STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE THE PRODUCTIVITY OF YOUR DAY and put YOU back at the TOP of your own Agenda, this is the content for you.
This content includes a checklist which assumes you have a life outside of work, or that you intend to have one. Family, friends, vacations, and being present during those moments matter to you. If that is the case, then you are working to live, not living to work. In other words, your work finances your lifestyle; not your life and everyone in it, has to support your ability to go off to work. If work supports your life rather than your life supporting your work, then that mindset will also drive your priority setting for your time.
The audio and video media included here, shares different points on this topic.
Time Management Strategies are important
Whether you have an office away from home or not, the following checklist includes all time-tested, effective strategies to help you manage how people interact with you that impact your time productivity.
Because people will attempt to access your attention via multiple routes, some strategies mentioned may be specific to online, phone or in-person distractions.
Sometimes, family, friends, co-workers and Associates seem to disrespect your time or worse, treat you as if you have nothing to do? Without being a jerk, you must let people know that your time is valuable, and it is up to you to establish that value. Those who work-from-home will have the most challenging time with this because there are many who will assume you have nothing to do and treat your time as such.
10 Time Strategies that will Improve the Productivity of your Day.
There are various groups of people who will demand your attention:
- Vendor – suppliers
- Vendor – sales
- Top clients
The guidelines you set for each distraction group will vary, but there should be some basic Agenda setting policies in place that you modify based on who is making the demand for your time at the moment.
All of these strategies require you, the entrepreneur to have the intention and the discipline to maximize your productivity, while still interacting with the world around you..
1. Move as much of your offline business, online when possible.
- I could hardly believe it, but a friend reached out to me yesterday, and although I know him to be a veteran florist with two locations, I was surprised to hear he did not have a website for his business because 95% of his work comes through his FTD connection. However, now he wanted to expand his healthy gift basket business for the upcoming holidays, and since FTD is a floral based niche, he was clueless how to establish a new product line to the public. Of course, he needed a website, and an ability to make sales online.
- An effectively built website with a blog can reduce your personal time because a website can tell a story, display his products, take his orders and collect money for him 24/7 then he can simply fulfill then. Get in the habit adding to your FAQs on your website so that your customers know that most if not all they need will be answered there.
2. Know the time of day when you are most productive, and schedule the work that requires your focus during that time.
- I am an early riser and find that 5 am- 11 am is my most productive time when I have the most focus. I protect that time like gold, and my first available public booking spot is at 11 am. That does not mean I will never take an appointment inside my focus time, but that would happen only for top priority people and projects and kept at a minimum. Are you more productive in the morning, noon, afternoon, evening, late at night? Do you even know? Become self-aware and figure this out.
3. Set office hours and make them public on your agenda; if possible, on your website. Train people who demand your time to book you through that system.
- Encourage those who need your attention to book your time through a booking process. (website booking is the simplest, and most grab all the information you need to decide if that person should have that time and allows you to reschedule easily) While many keep this private, I actually think public office hours with public access to requesting that time allows for the transparency that you are actually busy, an appreciation for your time, and more likelihood of the time request being kept within your designated slots for public interaction.
4. Synchronize your calendar.
- Google for work is possibly one of the best tools I can recommend for this. There are many calendar tools, online, and off – that are effective, but Google for work is #1 in my books. On a single calendar, you can create public office hours that are bookable in increments of your choosing. Then consistently send all the people who need your time to use that system. You can put your private appointments on that same calendar and block your availability without exposing what that time block is for. The Google calendar is also functional on your mobile device. Google for work is more professional because your company branding is applied to the entire Google suite that costs $9.99 per email in the system; (3 employees with company emails – $9.99 x 3). You can still use your free personal calendar, it demands more personal input.
5. Plan your day before you spend your day.
- Seems simple, but some just jump into their day in reactionary fashion without creating a plan or reviewing their agenda. This leads to missed or late meetings, and things of lower productivity becoming time vampires.
6. Have a private contact access that is not published anywhere and only available to those you have given top priority to access you no matter what is going on.
- Now my husband and I have top priority access with each other during office hours, but we also understand that there will be times we will not take each other’s call. However, I know of a friend who has a secret text code with her husband that if she uses it, he knows to stop whatever he is doing to check in her. She never abuses this and so far, has only had to use it once around a very serious emergency.
7. Limit your social media distractions.
- Block Site is an excellent browser feature that helps with this. https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/block-site/eiimnmioipafcokbfikbljfdeojpcgbh?hl=en
- If you do use Social Media as part of your Marketing strategy, then stay focused on work while there.
8. Turn your phone ringer off during your ‘focused’ project time, and make voicemail your time manager.
- By allowing messages to go to voicemail, you will be able to attend to these and respond at a specific time designated on your agenda for responding to these calls.
9. Prioritize your call answering and response.
- Do you know who should have your top priority access? If you make a point of making these people a priority, since they probably represent 80% of your income, or outreach,you will keep that flow strong. Jesus had many followers, and many disciples, but he spent 80% of his time with his core 12. Chatting with family and friends are great, but you need to be firm about time vampires having access to your productive time. Time for co-workers and colleagues.
10. Use webinars and conference calls to reduce in-person meetings?
- Do you even need a meeting or can that matter be handled via shared networked documents with change trackers?
Bonus #1: BEST (most expensive strategy): Get an office space away from home, with established office hours, with a Personal Assistant who manages your agenda according to effective rules for internal and external engagement.
Bonus # 2: Hire a full-time Personal Assistant and train them to be an effective Gate Keeper, skilled at filtering your distractions. Can’t afford a full-time, in-house Assistant? Consider at least a part-time Virtual Assistant.
Bonus # 3: Optimise your rest, fitness, and nutrition to enhance your energy level to function at your optimum capacity during the day.
- FREE: Download my Time Planner. It is designed as a wall-mounted, interactive visual day planner. Once you have this done it is easier to note the items on your Google for work, or leave posted for those coming into your office to see as a quick view of what time slots you have available.
- Need a Clarity Session to help you hear yourself think, have an objective sounding board for your options, or have some fresh ideas to consider? Connect with me for a FREE 30-minute consultation. I promise you will have solid solutions come out of that call, and we will both be in a position to determine if a continues working-relationship is feasible.