Is it the customer who complains about every job? NO!
Is it the Banker who calls in your loan? NO!
Is it the employee who puts in a false worker’s comp claim for a back injury? NO!
Three guesses and you’re out. The answer is:
THE CLOCK ON THE WALL
You look at it constantly, realizing you just don’t have enough time in a day. You are going to be late for your next customer, and your stomach is turning counter-clockwise circles. You are yelling at your staff to hurry up so you can jump to the next problem that will take too much time to resolve.
OK, here’s how to add time to your day. Slow down and think through what you have to do. Start each day with a five minute review defining what your urgent and not-so urgent plans for the day are. Decide which ones you can delegate and to whom.
Organize your usual day. Answer emails two or three times per day. Don’t interrupt your minute-by-minute work to answer a continuous stream of emails. Other than consultants whose name begins with the letter “B”, don’t take unsolicited calls from salespeople as an interruption of your day. Call back at your convenience, usually at a regular fixed time, say 4:30 to 5:00 pm.
Have only one clock in your office. Turn off the clock on your computer screen, take the promotional clock off your desk, leave your watch at home. Work a problem or a situation until it is finished, or at least one step towards the solution is finished. It is better to have two problems solved and eight waiting than to have ten problems half-solved. Focus on the problem until you are satisfied with the steps being taken rather than rushing to get to the next item on your list.
Be realistic setting your schedule. Add 10-20% more time to each problem than your best estimate of your time needed. Nothing ever gets done on schedule, ever. Stay calm when things don’t fit your time allotment. Getting angry just wastes time, your’s and the person’s you’re yelling at. Use that two minutes to plan resolution rather than blaming someone. Slow down in conversations with others. When you talk too fast, trying to save seconds here and there, the other person will not hear what your are saying correctly, asking you to repeat it, or worse, guessing what you said and then following up incorrectly. Take the time to review your emails and correspondence before it goes out. This minute will save many problems.
And most important, don’t read blogs that are too long. Which is my cue to end this one.