Protected Time

By Graham Hill

September 18, 2013

Warning: Is Your Availability Undermining Your Business Achievements?
Do you feel you have too much to do but never enough time to do it?
Does your growing to-do list leave you feeling stressed and overwhelmed?
Do you get frustrated by the amount of really good ideas you never implement?
If you run your own business, feelings like these are not uncommon. After all, time is your most valuable, but limited resource. It means you face the ongoing challenge of managing your day to ensure it strikes the right balance between:
• Dealing with the day-to-day tasks and emerging priorities alongside
• The high value work that will drive your business towards your longer-term vision
It means on the one hand you need to be available so you can react and respond to what crops up. But on the other, you also need to create enough protected time to work undisturbed on the stuff that requires your full attention.
Get the availability balance right and you lay the foundations for success.
But get it wrong, and you risk your potential being undermined by the time stealers.
Let me explain…
Who’s really in control of your day?
Failing to shut yourself off with regular “protected time” where you can work totally undisturbed means your productivity is going to be influenced by other people’s priorities.
For example, if you have an open door, never switch off your phone or immediately respond to any incoming emails or social media interaction you’re effectively allowing other people to steal your time.
For sure some of these interruptions may be important. They could be sales leads, enquiries from an important customer or some feedback you need to deal with. However, it’s worth getting clear on the extent to which you need to deal these interruptions NOW. You see, without this clarity, you’ll quickly end up losing a large chunk of your day to a number of superficial tasks. And in turn, the important, high value work on your to-do list will keep slipping further behind.
Are you running a business or a busy-ness?
It’s very easy to confuse being busy with being productive.
Being busy answering all your phone calls is NOT the same as proactively working on stuff that will grow your business. And whilst that call may only take a couple of minutes, the distraction is not insignificant.
Think about these scenarios…
• What happens if you answer your phone when you’re on the verge of an important breakthrough?
• What happens if that annoying cold call distracts your thoughts?
• What happens if the caller delivers frustrating news or information that changes your mood?
If, after you’ve taken the call, you decide to get back into the zone, it will take you time to recover. But this is the best-case scenario. Even worse, you may end up shelving the high value work to deal with the pressing priority.
It means you’ll waste time, get less done and get frustrated that you’re not moving forward at the pace you want to.
Create daily protected time and watch the magic happen
If you really want to progress, get into the habit of shutting yourself away for a specific period of time each working day. And then protect that time by switching off or diverting your phone, shutting down your email, logging out of social media and ensuring your staff knows you’re NOT to be disturbed.
Then, use this time to focus on those high value tasks and the more complicated work that demands your full attention.
And if you’re worried about missing out on an important call, simply use a call answering service.
Choose the right provider and you’ll quickly get the confidence that any calls you receive during your protected time are handled professionally and properly on your behalf. It means you can relax when you’ve made yourself unavailable, knowing prospects and customers can still get through to you. I promise you’ll be amazed at the difference this protected time will make to your bottom line…
How do you create protected time in your business?
What strategies do you have in place to manage your availability?
How do you create the undisturbed time you need to ensure you give your high value and more challenging work your undivided attention?
Please let me know in the comments below…
(And if you’d like to discover how Verbatim’s professional call answering service could give you the confidence to temporarily switch your phone off, just give Hayley or one of the team a call.

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