If you are like me you have lots of people you know telling you how busy they are and how they don’t have enough time in the day. I have one friend who will take 20 minutes to tell me about the snow storm, the traffic, the supervisor at work who does not like her; all before getting to the point.
What I have observed is that when I schedule blocks of time to do specific work. AND, when I stick with that work in that time; I get more done and feel better. (Full disclosure – I still struggle with this and am getting better with practice). What I have observed is that when I block out segments of time for prospecting calls I get into a rhythm and am more productive. I have a different experience when I make a call and then respond to an email. Creative work like blogging, proposals, presentation creation all take more focus and are very disrupted by interruptions.
But we all live in a world demanding instant gratification. How are we to do this time blocking thing? My friend Steve is saying, “My clients expect an immediate response.” Are they really; or has Steve trained them?
Some ideas for you to consider as you think about this approach. Tony Schwartz president and CEO of the Energy Project and Author of several books on how we can manage our personal energy, has determined that we operate best in 90 minute increments. In his book, “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working”, he discusses how he cut the time it takes to write a book by more than 50% following this method. He feels he was more productive, that he did better work and was not so stressed at the end.
Here are some ideas to practice:
- Identify the big projects and types of work you do. Examples might be the Acme proposal, prospecting calls, the new sales sheet and expense and sales reports.
- Choose the time you are most effective for the project. Did you know that Tuesday’s and Thursdays are the best day for telephone prospecting (so I might block those days for calls and then Friday afternoon and evening for the expense and sales reports?
- Turn off the alerts for your emails. I am always surprised by colleagues who sound like a walking robot they way their phones beep, gurgle and warble as they move through their day. Each time that rings it takes you attention away from what you’re doing and delivers a cognitive load that you have to recover from to get back on task. The email will still be there when you are done.