Planning and Organization

Planning and OrganizationAs we begin a new year, it’s good to analyze what did and didn’t work well for us last year. One of the hot topics is planning and organization. How can we do what we do more effectively, efficiently, and successfully? While it’s not wise to plan every minute of your time–because we can’t control traffic, weather, or other people–we can plan with flexibility built in to our days.

While you should always allow part of your day to work with people, support your co-workers, or help the company problem-solve, it is also important that you allow for some solo time. This is time that is for whatever you need to do. This can be your time for emotional and physical health in your private life, or your most productive work time.

During your solo work time, if someone says, “Do you have a minute?” Simply answer, “Not right now. Can it wait until eleven?” By that time, most people will have solved their issues themselves.

Some tips for handling interruptions:
  1. Rearrange your office so your desk is out of the line of sight from people walking by.
  2. Remove extra chairs from your office if possible. Position any necessary chairs as far away from your desk as you can. When people need to make an effort to pull up a chair, they’re more likely to stand (and deliver) and stay a shorter amount of time. NOTE: If they’re standing, you stand up, too. There’s a different energy to the conversation.
  3. Place a large clock where you and your visitor can clearly see it. Make a point of glancing at it when interrupted as if you’ve just started a countdown clock as to how much time you will give them.
  4. When someone walks into your office, don’t look up right away. This can be challenging to do at first, but if you stay focused on finishing an email, reading a page, or something else similar, and if the other person’s issue is nothing serious, most people will simply walk away. This may sound a bit cold, but if you can’t get your work done, it’s going to cause your clients to receive less service and you to receive a lower income. Beware, there are people in every company who just like to walk around and visit.

To get started on minimizing this challenge, keep an Interruption Log for a couple of days. In it write:

  1. Who is interrupting you?
  2. What time they came and left.
  3. How much time was wasted.
  4. What you will do about it the next time.

If someone is a habitual interrupter, have a heart-to-heart conversation with them about your work schedule. Rather than risk offending them, ask that they make a list of what they need to discuss with you and schedule brief meetings on a regular basis.

Handling Crises

When an occasional crisis comes up that throws your schedule off , deal with it quickly and then go back to your schedule immediately. I’m not suggesting that you become anti-social, but I am saying that you may be surprised at how much more efficient you can be when you begin to take back those stolen minutes. I’ve heard of a salesperson who had a sign made for the back of his chair that said, “If you’re not a buyer, schedule a time to meet with me.” He only let buyers interrupt his schedule.

If you’re still struggling with getting your goals for 2018 set and in writing, invest 27 minutes of your time with me on my goal setting webinar by clicking here. I’ll help you plan your days to achieve those goals!

Copyright Tom Hopkins International, Inc.

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