In my last several videos I talked about how to limit interruptions from clients and colleagues, but what if the problem is really you?
One of the ways you can be the problem is not sticking with your own communications policies.
When you first start setting your communications policies, it can take time for your clients and colleagues to get used to them. You may have to remind people several times that you don’t take unscheduled phone calls, that you don’t take appointments on Tuesdays, or that you only check your email three times a day, or that you don’t answer work-related emails after 7 p.m.
It can be very tempting to make exceptions, especially when you are first establishing boundaries with clients and colleagues, but once you start making exceptions, people will stop respecting those boundaries. They will think that they always should be the exception.
Resist the urge to take that unscheduled phone call or let your colleague interrupt with a quick question. Gently ask your colleague to return with their question during your office hours; have your assistant schedule a time for you to return the client’s call.
But remember that your communications policies are not only boundaries – they are also commitments that you need to stick to in order for others to respect you. If you have committed to clients that you will return their phone calls by the end of the business day, don’t let the day end without returning all of your client calls. If you decided to check your email three times a day, make sure you carve out time in your schedule to tackle your inbox.
All of that being said, nobody is perfect. You will probably violate your own communications policies from time to time. Don’t beat yourself up about it, just get back on track. But notice when it happens and why. You may find that your communications policy needs to be modified or updated to better fit your current schedule or your clients’ needs.
If you’d like to create a communications policy that works for you, please contact me.
For more productivity tips, check out these articles and videos:
- 5 Tips for Improving Your Email Messages
- Improving Your Email Communication
- Delegating Tasks to Technology
- Do You Have Plans and Goals for the Future?
- Do This Instead of Making New Year’s Resolutions
- Using Your Task List to Create Systems
- Creating Your Task Capture System
- Get Everything Out of Your Head
- Are You Distracted at Work? Close Those Open Loops!
- Choosing the Right Time for Focused Work