Of course, these same time-wasting activities run rampant through all professional disciplines, and all of them require new business to keep the doors open. Here are some tips for getting those 8 hours billed, or making the most of the time you are in the office.
- Use the structure of the 50-minute hour. I call this "going into the tunnel." In those 50 minutes, you can get a lot of work done when you turn off the cell phone, turn down the ringer on your office phone, turn off the email "dinger" and shut (lock!) your office door. This minimizes interruptions and allows you to focus and remain focused until YOU decide to pop your head out and see what's been happening. Ask your assistant to take messages and let unscheduled visitors know you'll be getting in touch with them at your next opportunity.*
- Be the one to decide the urgency (or lack thereof) of the work coming across your desk. I've noticed a lot of false urgency brought on by ego and the need for instant gratification. Use your experience and education to discern which items need to be addressed immediately (is it really a fire?) and which ones can be done in a reasonable amount of time. Prioritize those items, then stick to the schedule you've put in place.
- Based on your goals, create a list of marketing, practice and business-building tasks to complete during the in-between times. Once you've fnished a project or closed a deal, give yourself a finite, short period of time to relax and recharge. It could be an hour, an afternoon or the weekend. Then break out the list, put your task items on the calendar and get them completed. This will ensure you continue to have projects to complete and deals to close ...