I literally break out in hives when I even have to open up my boss’ calendar. Scheduling an appointment feels like a wrestling match where I never win.
“My entire world is on hold because of my boss’ calendar. I can’t get follow up time with him. I can’t get follow up meetings scheduled with referral sources. I am constantly apologizing and feel an unnecessary amount of embarrassment and guilt about not being able to help people. And we wonder why cash flow is a constant angst when we can’t we get anyone in here? Business would be great but for the boss’ calendar.”
We know from the boss’ perspective they understand this frustration…as they have the exact same frustration. Their unavailability is neither intentional nor working for them either. We hear, “It is what it is.” But we respectfully disagree. The successful entrepreneurs we work with do not subscribe to that school of thinking and you don’t have to either. You can solve the problem of “how to get it all done.”
We have found in most companies, business owner and assistant alike, react to what the day and week throws at them. Requests to “help out real quick”, tasks, your boss’ needs and your own obligations begin to fill every nook and cranny of your waking and working hours.
Here are some fascinating studies to drive the point home:
A study last fall by Basex, a New York research firm, found that office distractions ate up 2.1 hours a day for the average employee. Another study found that employees devoted an average of 11 minutes to a project before being distracted. And researchers Gloria Mark and Victor Gonsalez of the University of California, Irvine, found that once interrupted, it takes workers 25 minutes to return to the original task, if they return at all. People switch activities, such as making a call, speaking with someone in their cubicle or working on a document, every three minutes on average.
Betty Lin-Fisher (for Knight Ridder Newspapers), Houston Chronicle, 2/27/2006.
Most people actually use 60% or less of available work time. When more than 38,000 people in 200 countries were queried about individual productivity, it showed that even though they were physically at work five days a week, they were only productively using three days.
Microsoft Survey, March 15, 2005
We can talk about goal setting, strategic planning, marketing plans and all that business “stuff” but if you plan your work but can’t work your plan with dedicated focus you’re dead in the water. How do we plan without making a project out of planning and be able to implement immediately…with ease? How do we get our week in order without revamping our lives?
The world of work has changed dramatically over the past 20 years. We live in the information age… the global marketplace that never closes. Instant communication (email, texts, and smart phones) has destroyed the once built-in boundaries around the workday. Most of us have lost the ability to accurately estimate how long activities are going to take before we commit to them and we over commit because we simply don’t know everything we have already committed to.
Eventually, relationships begin to suffer and your depleted vitality negatively affects the quality of your work, the referrals that come in, your team’s cohesiveness…bottom line your pipeline, current and future cash flow, and capacity.
The key is to not just declare what you’re doing with your time but create a weekly structure that supports accomplishing your goals. A world where it is possible to effectively use the time you have and control your calendar. Simply working more hours or adding more people to the mix won’t solve the problem.
If you and your team are serious about moving away from the “what’s next” reactivity and taking the first step to creating a manageable schedule we highly recommend you have your team contact us for our next 12 week team training program beginning October 10th.