Offload & clone yourself
We are all always looking for ways to become more productive. Add to that making those ways easy to implement and not require you to turn your daily world upside down. Here is one that made a huge difference for us and our business.
Let me start this by saying being interrupt driven is about the most unproductive way you can be.
It may be ok for a computer to be happily computing along when the printer interrupts it to tell the computer to let the person know that the printer ran out of paper. But it is not alright for you to be working diligently on your new great product idea only to be interrupted time and time again by the phone ringing.
Studies have shown that it can take 20 or more minutes to get back into the productivity zone you were in after an interrupt….again not like the computer who lets you know that the printer is out of paper and then picks up exactly where it left off instantly.
OK, you say, but my clients/customers/patients need to get ahold of me if they have questions….well there are tons of better ways to handle that than by answering the phone each time it rings. That is a topic for another day….today’s topic is controlling access to you without you getting involved in creating that control, and therefore cloning your offloaded self.
I learned this basic principle from Dan Kennedy who does not answer his phone EVER unless it is a scheduled call on his calendar. You may not be able to be that strict (well you actually could if you wanted to, but that is another story).
What you can do is to retrain your people (staff, employees, clients, vendors, etc.) to not ask you for time, but to schedule through your scheduling app.
We useto do all of our scheduling for our company. There are others, but ScheduleOnce is very powerful and flexible and integrates with many CRM systems like Infusionsoft by Keap that we use.
In the signature of our emails is a “Click here to schedule time with me” link. It takes a little training, but not too much to tell people who email you asking if they could talk to you this week, to click the link in the footer to see your free time. Soon all those emails would inevitably end up being 4 or 6 emails…Gee I can’t do Tuesday at 10:30, how about Wednesday at 3PM…No I’m booked Wednesday at 3PM, can you do Thursday at 4:30…you get the picture.
Bing bang boom, the meeting is scheduled at a time where you are both available in one pass that you were not even involved in. How great is that?
ScheduleOnce can look at multiple calendars for multiple people if it is a group meeting, have different types of meetings (phone, in-person, video, etc) for different purposes. It allows you to block out certain times and certain days even if your calendars are free. It establishes parameters for how close meetings can be to each other and how soon in the future someone can book (You don’t want a meeting popping up at 3PM for 3:30 PM that same day!) The list goes on.
Once you set up ScheduleOnce or Calendly or AppointmentCore or any of the other great solutions, your life will be much more under control. But I would caution against making your spouse go through your calendar app to schedule time with you. That could really backfire.
Then you can change your phone’s outgoing message to schedule time with you, and shut off the ringer. You may go into a bit of phone withdrawal and may get the shakes, but it will pass and you’ll soon be getting as much done as two of you.