If you feel like you are working harder, longer hours, and more intensively than ever before, raise your hand. I understand that since you have a cell-phone pressed to both ears, you may not be able to move.
So what’s the deal anyway? We’ve got tons of so-called “labor-saving” devices, instantaneous communications, and immediate access to limitless templates and archived data. Shouldn’t all this be getting easier?
Well, yes and no.
Since people now have effectively continuous access to you, they are using that access to monopolize your life. That includes prospects, managers, and even colleagues.
With attribution to Tim Ferriss, you need to actively take control of this problem before it eats you. Ferriss tells you to outsource virtually everything that you do – which is, of course, impossible. But what you can do is set the terms of the discussion.
With respect to your colleagues, subordinates, and managers, set regular times for each of them to meet with you. Those meetings should have clearly defined outcomes, topics and discussion points. If your company wants to start a forum for informal chatter and discussion, that’s fine (and probably a good idea) – but it should be walled off from your key deliverables and responsibilities.
Extraneous information, flights of fancy, and the informal musings of the crowd all serve to hijack your time…and hijack your life. Set the parameters for your communication and stick to them.
The basic acts of scheduling and information sharing also work exceptionally well in sales. Every sale should have milestones and touch points to which you and your prospect have agreed. This mutually agreeable narrative will make your prospect more comfortable since he always knows what’s coming next. And it will also make him far less likely to panic and call you at church on Sunday morning to find out if version 22.214.171.124 of your software will be ready by Tuesday. Because he will already know.