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How To Not Let Email And Other Ducks Peck You To Death
As an Entrepreneur, we are all usually faced with too much to do and too little time to do it. I am sure that you know what I mean.
In the past year, I have gotten off track with letting the Ducks peck me a little by little until I realized because of some family matter that demanded even more of my time, that they were literally beginning to peck me to death.
Now the things is that I know better and point in fact point this out and hammer it home with my customers and even have a whole chapter devoted to this in my Book, Start On Monday.
There are however easy fixes for this and I have had to implement them because of literally some life and death matter.
The kicker is, that I should not have waited to that point to put a stop on it. Because it takes an unnecessary toll not only on you and your business, but your customers and loved ones as well.
Now this may meet resistance from not only your subconscious, but your customers as well.
The first area is emails. I have gone back to checking my emails to twice a week following the lead of Tim Ferriss in his book, The 4 Hour Workweek.
I am going to cover the three major ones and give you their Scientific Names as well.
The Email Duck – Quackus Alotus Toomuchus
And here is what I put in my auto responder:
This is an auto-response. I am now checking my email account on Monday and Thursday of each week.
This is due to a dramatic increase in high priority demands on my time. For my friends and clients, you know specifically what I am talking about.
If you require urgent assistance (please ensure that it is truly urgent and by urgent that involves more than $25,000 or someone is in the hospital and only I can provide the transfusion) and cannot wait until this time, please contact me for any matters that require my personal attention by im on Skype.
Thank you for understanding this move to more efficiency and effectiveness. It helps me accomplish more and to serve you better.
Now you may have some backlash at first because it is in our nature to want instant gratification. But, if you want your sanity to stay in check and make your business thrive, you need to do this.
The other things is to not check your email the first thing in the morning. You should spend that time on much higher priority projects. I would wait until after lunch to do so.
It will take a while to get used to, but your clients will understand and you will be amazed at how much more you get done during the day.
Every time you check your email, it takes you 20 minutes to get back mentally to where you were. So, figure that out by how much you think your time is worth per hour. The same goes with Text messages and the like. Crackberries and iPhones are the same breed of Duck. Check them at most twice a day and better yet only once a day.
The Appointment Duck – Lateus Cancelus
When you set up appointments, make sure you tell people give you at least 24 hours notice if at all possible they are going to cancel. You can use a calendar program or phone call for this. Although, I swear this is true, I had the President of one of those Calendar companies use their own Calendar programs to set up the appointment, and it sent out an email confirmation and everything, and they missed their own appointment to talk about their own Software… LOL
If they do this more than three times, then you have to put your foot down and then schedule it at your own convenience. Trust me on this one, it costs you far more than you know if you continue to put up with this. Because you are losing money by being frustrated, not working on something else that you could have brought money in on and you are going to bump something else to reschedule the meeting.
If there are multiple people involved with the meeting, the direct costs and lost opportunity costs can mount rather quickly. I added this up on two recent projects this happened with and it was in the thousands of dollars. I about had a freakin Cow.
Which brings up another point about having a running total in a Dashboard on the costs associated with a project. I will show you how to do this in a later post.
If you are working on a big or even small project, it can cause a virtual train wreck of epic proportions and I have found the the offending person will then often to totally clueless as to why blowing one or two meetings can cause weeks or months of set backs by starting a change of other scheduling conflicts. They think (as we all often due) that their project is the most important one and that they don’t realize the havoc or damage they are causing to their project and everyone else’s.
I must admit that I used be be guilty of this myself. Now it is your job to point this out to them upfront. The vast majority of people are just not aware of this is all. So it is your responsibility to point this out to them. 99% of the people out there will have a V8 moment and get it right away.
Because I have tendency to want to pour oil to calm the waters, I have not enforced this in the past, but no longer.
I am going to make everyone on my new clients (and old ones too) read this post and it should help. 🙂
The Lack Of A Next Day Plan Plan – Runus Amuckus
This is one of the biggest ones that very few people do and yet it is one of the easiest and fastest Ducks to get rid of and believe it or not, it is one of the most dangerous ones as well.
Before you go to bed or quit work, you need to write down no more than three important things that you have to get done the next day. And, they should directly involve bringing in money ASAP as a priority.
Things such as billing someone, or getting out a proposal. Everything else should take a back seat to this.
The reason for doing this is that your subconscious mind will focus on that and give it something to do overnight, and you come up with a solution for it. You will be amazed at how well this works if you have never done it before.
I have noticed a lot of people that I have gotten started doing this say that they are much more calmer and less stressed by doing this. Plus, it pushes all of the other Ducks out of the way and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Not to mention making sure the money comes in to your pocket.
As I said when I started this, I have been forced into going back to these recently and I did not have a choice.
You do have a choice and you should be doing this anyway. You owe it to yourself, your loved ones, and your clients.
And I want to add one other Duck that can be a dangerous as well.
Social Media and Blogs – Alots Timeus Wastedis
This is an easy Duck to tame as well. If you use HootSuite, see me interview with them, you can set up posts to your Twitter account and Facebook page weeks in advance. I spend at most 30 minutes once a week to set up my tweets for all of my accounts. If I have time, I will drop in for a comment or two but that is it. I am down to less that 45 minutes a week on these now. Go check out HootSuite.
As far as Blogs go, I can dictate a blog like this in less than usually 5-7 minutes. I send it off to be transcribed and poof, there it is. And if you are using WordPress, which you should, you can set posts to be published days, weeks, or months in advance!
So, there is no need to let the Ducks do you in. But if you don’t take charge they will bleed you badly or possibly even to death. Don’t let it happen.
PS – No, my editor has not looked at this yet.. 🙂