One of the biggest complaints I hear from clients is that they can barely get any work done with all the interruptions they have all day. In this article, I’d like to address the most common sources of interruptions and how to best prepare for them.
No day is perfect, and we’re going to always have things that come up, emergencies that happen, and plans that just don’t pan out the way we’d envisioned. With the proper preparation and systems, these interruptions no longer have to wreak havoc and you can easily bounce back and still have a productive day.
So, let’s get started…
1. Create boundaries with Clients
Are you always accessible to your clients? Do you find yourself constantly being interrupted to answer questions or respond to requests?
Here are some easy to implement tips to cut down on these distractions:
a. Have a system in place to communicate with clients between of sessions
How you communicate with your clients between sessions greatly depends on the type of service you deliver. The following are some ideas of systems you can put in place to both address your clients needs AND get some work done.
–Office Hours – Consider setting aside time each week where you’re available for calls to answer any quick questions that your clients may have between sessions. Make sure you limit this time, maybe 15 minutes, and communicate that beforehand to avoid giving away a free session or not being available to everyone that wants your feedback.
–Limit communication to email between sessions – With so many modes of communicating, we can easily have several accounts to check for messages. From Facebook, to Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, email, text messages, and countless others…we can easily become too accessible.
Consider making it a policy for clients to only communicate with you via email. This way, immediate responses are not expected, your privacy is not violated, and you have time to respond at a more appropriate, and hopefully designated, time.
–Filter calls through an assistant – If you have a lot of inquiries, you can’t possibly answer all of them personally, or you’ll never get anything done. Consider delegating this task to someone else. Most inquiries are frequently asked questions, and the answer to these can be easily communicated from someone other than you. All other inquiries can be forwarded to you, and you can respond to those at another time.
b. Have a system in place to communicate with new prospects
So you’re marketing, and it’s working! And now you have tons of prospective clients contacting you. They all want what you have. Awesome…until…you can’t keep up with it all.
What happens when your blog/video/Instagram post goes viral? What happens after you appear on a popular radio or television show? What happens when someone with a lot of followers gives you a shout out?
If you don’t have a system in place…Mayhem!
Having a system in place is important. Consider the journey that prospects go through, from learning about you, to learning about your services, to wanting to buy. How can you make this process easier with less manual input from you? How can you automate it?
Write out the whole process and look into tools and team members that you can put in place to best support your future clients.
2. Create boundaries with your Team
When it comes to managing your team, two of the biggest sources of interruptions are numerous questions from your team and the tons of emails going back and forth tracking the progress of a project.
Here are some tips to reduce this distraction…
a. Have a system in place for questions
It’s important to train your team members to be independent thinkers. I know that it seems hard to release control and allow another person to make decisions without your input.
However, you hired your team to be an extension of YOU so that you can focus your valuable time on more important things. Have a system in place to encourage independence and build their confidence.
When a team member comes to you with a question about something, make it a policy that they also have to come with three possible solutions. What you will begin to see happen is, a lot of the questions will go away because they’ve answered their own question.
And, if they still need your input, you are now equipped with three possible solutions to consider and you have options to weigh. This cuts back drastically on the amount of time it takes to respond to questions.
b. Have a system in place to track everyone’s progress
Email can be a huge time killer. Going back and forth with team members can not only be distracting, but also hard to keep up with.Thankfully, there are tools you can begin to use in your business that virtually eliminate email, and make it easy to check in on the progress of others WITHOUT contacting them.
One tool that does this, that I love, is Asana. It’s great for managing your team, keeping track of the progress of a project, and assigning tasks to various team members without the distraction of emails.
These are my tips for eliminating unnecessary interruptions during your work day. What are you favorite tips that have worked for you to keep you focused and productive? Please share in the comments below!