What an 8-Year-Old Can Teach You About Time Management
I wrote this post for my blog directed at financial advisors who are clients of ClientWise LLC, but I think there's relevance for anyone in a service/sales business.
This problem is as old as the financial advisory profession: how do you make the time for prospecting calls when there are so many other demands on your time?
One of my ClientWise advisors is especially busy with client reviews and other activities this time of year, so it's difficult to spend as much time on the phone calling prospects as he'd like. His natural mode would be to make these calls at about 3pm, but there doesn't seem to be time.
We started talking about time blocking -- hardly a new idea -- but then we hit on the idea of blocking no more than 15 minutes, once or twice a day. This opened up an interesting conversation about how easy it would be to find 15 minutes. (I had suggested finding one 15-minute block, but he immediately said he could and would do two 15-minute blocks.)
And then he added a fascinating anecdote. His 14-year-old son is a guitar virtuoso (as is the advisor dad), who has been taking lessons since he was around eight years old. His first teacher did two things that made the difference between lifelong interest and early burnout: First, he gave the boy a ukulele to play (four strings) rather than a guitar (six strings). Starting off with a simpler instrument meant less frustration, which is the enemy of practice and developing a love for something that's hard to do.
The second thing the teacher did was establish a practice regimen for the beginning student. Four minutes a day. Not forty. Four. Why? Because more than that would have become a frustrating chore. After a while, the assignment advanced to six minutes a day. Now, of course, the young man practically can't put his guitar down for more than six minutes a day.
Isn't it the same in our business? If you establish a system and make it easy, and make it brief, you allow it a chance to work for you. If you create a difficult and cumbersome requirement, you can easily fail early on and lose the motivation to try at all.
Another advantage of time blocking in a short burst of 15 minutes: If it's on your calendar, your brain will do you a favor. It will prepare you for that task while you're still working on the task preceding it. You won't feel you're bouncing from task to task. All from just putting it on the calendar.
What's your system for doing more prospecting calls? Join the conversation with a comment.