What To Do When “Have A Minute?” Is Never A Minute
You know prospecting is the most effective way to increase your production. So why do days go by without so much as an hour of prospecting? Interruptions may be the culprit.
What interruptions keep you from getting focused work done and prospecting on a daily basis? Possibly colleagues, employees, and vendors dropping by your office asking “Do you have a minute?” which never takes just a minute? People don’t intentionally interrupt you throughout the day because they’re out to destroy your productivity, but that is exactly what happens all the time! And diminished productivity directly decreases production.
Shockingly, the average office worker is interrupted 73 times a day. Even if you don’t work in an office, it’s likely you’re interrupted a great deal because interacting with people is your business. While controlling their actions isn’t possible, managing interruptions is because you can control how you make yourself available to people. Manage people interruptions effectively to have more time and energy to grow your business faster!
Interruption By Colleague
Post open office hours. Express to colleagues that these are the hours you’re available for questions, concerns, or mindless chit chat. Schedule open office hours during times when your energy is typically at its lowest level and you’re the least productive, whether early morning, late afternoon, or sometime in between. Colleagues will be more respectful of your private work time when they know you’ll be available during particular hours each day.
Interruption By Employee
Consistently managing employee interruptions is inevitable. If you are a team leader or have an assistant, you are their go-to person with all the answers. It’s your business after all, so who better to ask how to address a client’s concern, fill out paperwork, or follow a new procedure? If your team members know they’ll receive your undivided attention during regularly scheduled meetings, however, they will not have to continue interrupting you at inconvenient times.
Schedule regular meetings with each employee individually to address their questions, concerns, and challenges. Give yourself an appropriate window of time to tackle their likely needs based on past history with each person. These could be 10-minute daily meetings or 30-minute weekly Monday meetings. Do whatever works for your business and reassures your team you’re there for them – just not during every minute of the day.
Interruption By Vendor
While vendors may bring you great value their timing may not always be great, let alone convenient. In the real estate business, even well-appreciated vendors tend to drop by unannounced to meet with you, hand you a product, introduce you to someone, or ask you to attend an event without so much as calling ahead first. Because your vendors are so valuable, you can’t just speak your mind and tell them you’re too busy to talk. And unfortunately, that huge task list likely won’t speak for itself even though it should.
Don’t let your vendors’ drop-ins dictate how you spend your day. Be proactive by implementing a new policy that vendors need to schedule an appointment to meet with you. Express your reasonable request to your vendors in advance. If you have an assistant or receptionist, ensure he or she acts as your gate keeper so vendors don’t disturb you. If you do not have staff to enforce the policy, place a sign outside your door saying, “Private Work Time. Please schedule an appointment.” as a policy reminder to all who seek your time.
The obvious consequences of people interruptions are they force you to lose focus and lose time spent dealing with the interruptions which add up to giant gaps in your productivity. “Do you have a minute?” is never just a minute but you can do something about it. Don’t give in to everyone else’s requests of your time. Be proactive about how you make yourself available to others to enable yourself to focus for longer periods, prospect more, and increase your production. Choose to put your business first by effectively managing the external interruptions in your environment such as colleagues, employees, and vendors because no one else will. Boss or not, that’s your task.
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About the Contributor
Amber De La Garza is a Personal Productivity Coach, Speaker, Trainer, and Consultant with a wide range of clients from entrepreneurs to multinational corporations. With her guidance, professionals, business owners, and corporations maximize their success by improving their productivity. Amber specializes in helping entrepreneurs outperform their competition and dominate the market while reducing stress and making time for what matters most! Amber is a contributor for The Huffington Post, Choices Magazine, and Las Vegas Agent Magazine.
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