1. Social Media
The fear: A “quick check” of social media is likely to pull you into an abyss of photos, comments, memes and videos.
The fix: Avoid getting on social media first thing. Instead, schedule the time in your calendar like any other appointment. Set an alarm for the end of your allotted time and stick to it. This way, you allow yourself the indulgence while keeping track of your time.
The fear: Wading through multiple emails from multiple people regarding multiple projects can be both confusing, taxing and a waste of time.
The fix: Manage communications by project. Make project folders to store your emails. Take advantage of your email tool’s mail-filtering. When it’s time to work on a project, you aren’t sifting through hundreds of emails about other things.
3. Document Management
The fear: Sending multiple reminders to clients for needed documents is frustrating. Then once you get the documents, you waste time organizing them.
The fix: When sending out requests for documents, ensure that you have “need by” date included. Clients may need you to spell out the urgency in order to properly understand. Take advantage of available technology to automate electronic processes as much as possible. Use document fetching services or integrate a project management app to manage reminders.
The Fear: Things always crop up which seem to need our immediate attention. Clients calls are always an “emergency”. But five minutes here and there, along with the time you need to refocus on what you were doing, ends up costing you more time than you expect.
The fix: Avoid the tendency to always be “available”. Send phone calls to voicemail, set up email auto-responses and use an app that will allow others to book time with you. This will significantly cut down time lost on setting up the calls and the frustration of having to pull yourself out of one project to deal with another. When response time is allocated, you become the master of your own time.
5. Saying YES to Everything
The fear: We don’t want to disappoint our clients so we often say yes to a request without thinking about the time and mental ramifications.
The fix: Don’t give an answer right away. Instead, tell them that you need time to think about it or to look at your calendar. Then, after consideration, give a firm yes or no answer, remembering that there is no need to justify a no.