I recently spoke to about 50 executives of Chambers of Commerce about managing their time, their clients, staff and volunteers. Since the CEO of a Chamber MUST be focused on customer service at all times, it is somewhat difficult to manage interruptions. Too often their time gets used up by the interruptions and they feel frustrated at the end of the day or week since they didn’t manage to get done what they needed to do. This is true of course for most people in leadership positions. My suggestions apply not only to Chamber executives but to all you executives who read this newsletter.
Some small suggestions:
· Find a few hours during the day (maybe not every day) when you can close your door, leaving a message on it that you are deeply engaged in a project that demands your full attention and cannot be interrupted except for emergencies. Of course you don’t need to say all that all the time. Find some symbols and use them – after of course teaching people what they mean. Some people use colored cards to say:
o Emergency Only
o OK if really important
o I’m available, just knock
o Open door – come on in
· Do not answer your phone or e-mail during those times.
· Put a message on your voice mail stating that you will return phone calls between X & Y times.
· Delegate – delegate – delegate & delegate
· Have staff members as supervisors to volunteers
· Train volunteers and hold them accountable (yes, you can!)
· Use Covey’s Four Quadrant’s to organize and prioritize
· Give as much of the trivial stuff away as possible – e.g. delegate
· Remember, you more you spend in Quadrant II (planning, organizing) the less you need to spend in crisis management.
My theme today seems to be becoming more effective in the workplace.