Create (& Defend) Your Time to Create
Time management is one of the most difficult disciplines to build and also maintain. Whether you’re in sales, marketing, or customer service, your time is being fought for by everyone.
Leaders often fall victim of going to extremes when it comes to time management and fail face first. I’m extremely guilty of falling into this cycle. That’s where we give way too much time away to others, or we give very little to others and think that our teams are healthy when in fact they’re actually suffering from lack of attention.
Account managers do the same thing. They become hyper focused on their tasks and ignore the customer, or they feel guilty if they don’t keep their email open and answer every phone call.
Does this seem stressful and unproductive to anyone else? It should.
Defend Your Time
Most habits are developed from the top down. Uh oh. That means that I’m probably screwing up if my team feels overwhelmed or stressed out. Whether it’s from lack of training, support, or simple affirmation that it’s okay to close the Gmail tab, a fish that stinks starts at the head.
When I don’t create time, I don’t create.
Leaders, here’s what you can do to help (these are also things that I am actively working to improve TrustWorkz)
- Let them know “it’s okay” to shutdown: One of the things that bothers me more than anything is knowing that someone is working overtime because they were bombarded by hour long phone calls (ugh… what a waste of time). It’s okay to limit customer calls to 15 minutes, or set an agenda. Actually, it shows leadership and commands respect for both parties. Helping a customer be more efficient with their time is a great thing! It’s also okay to let the phone ring and go to voicemail. If you’re doing something that truly requires your focus and attention, then it’s worth giving it 100%. Shut your email down, turn your phone on “do not disturb” and get work done. Go 100.
- Set up structure so that your team know who to go to and for what: This one was a major issue we tackled and continue to work in 2016. With around 20 people on payroll, we couldn’t just reach out to the person next to us. We started with 3 promotions and a new org chart to help our team know where to go when they need support. It’s not perfect, but we’re constantly working to improve it. An org chart might not sound sexy, but it became pretty obvious that it was needed.
- Live by your calendar: At my first job out of college, I was writing 75 blogs/week, creating 375 social post/week, and making at least 25 customer calls. Working weekends and staying up until 11pm every night working became old REAL QUICK. The only way any of us could make it through a work load like that was to live by our calendars, staying accountable to our limited time. TrustWorkz was more difficult since we were wearing so many hats in the beginning. I’ve often felt guilty for not being more flexible with my time. However, openings in my calendar often become horribly wasted time for myself, my time, and our customers. It’s pretty easy to see when I slack on my calendar because my content production is so low. When I don’t create time, I don’t create.
Managing our time allows us to do the things that make us come alive. For creatives, that means we get to create. It also means that we get to spend more time finding inspiration, loving on family and friends, skydiving or playing golf.
Your time is limited. Spend it wisely.
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