Archive for September 21st, 2009

A Little Concentration Never Hurt Anyone

Oh, the irony! So many of the things we do in the name of “better service” actually prevent us from delivering just that.

So often we do the things we do without really thinking about it, without examining why we do them the way we do.

I say, it’s always good exercise to examine our habits and practices and evaluate whether they are really helping us accomplish our objectives, live up to our values and standards, and better serve our customers.

I mean, if you’re red and bloodied on the floor from killing yourself to serve well, does that ultimately do any good — for anyone?

The health and well-being of both you and your client is absolutely necessary for extraordinary service to occur.

Did you know that it takes 20 to 30 minutes to transition into critical thought?

That means every time you pick up that ringing phone or stop to check emails when you are working on something important, it will take that long to get your concentration back.

Talk about unproductive!

I’m guilty myself to some extent. I love checking email!

But for some folks, it’s not a matter of choice.

They feel they HAVE to answer that phone or check for new emails or they aren’t providing good service.

Here’s the thing, though: You aren’t helping anyone if your productivity is compromised constantly.

It takes you longer to get things done. Interruption causes stress. Stress causes procrastination. More mistakes happen. You forget where you left off and waste time trying to regroup.

If that’s you, I’m here to give you permission to RELAX! And I’ve got some strategies for you.

  1. The first thing to do is to stop answering every phone call and email while you are working. Put the phone on Voicemail and turn off your email.
  2. Schedule blocks of time for work that requires your undivided concentration. During those blocks of time, focus strictly on the work or project at hand.
  3. Set a routine of a specific time or times each day to check Voicemail, return calls and reply to emails. Some folks find an hour first thing in the morning and last thing at night works best. Others check in once a day at midday. Find your own groove and then stick with it.
  4. Save busy work (that is, simple, routine tasks that don’t require a deep level of thinking and concentration) for times outside your productive blocks. I tend to like to do this kind of quick, easy stuff first thing in the morning to get it out of the way and off my mind for the day.
  5. At the end of the day, take a deep, cleansing breath. There now, didn’t that feel great to work without interruption? Don’t you feel like you got more done?

I’m willing to bet you feel more energized and satisfied. And your communication and service hasn’t suffered. It’s just been systemized so that you can do better work for clients.

Isn’t that the whole point?