You know prospecting is the most effective way to increase your production, right? So why do days or weeks go by and you find yourself having only prospected for a few hours, if not less? The arch nemesis to you prospecting more may just be the frequency and duration of interruptions you encounter. 

So what interruptions keep you from getting focused work done and prospecting on a daily basis? The telephone ringing? Agents stopping by your office? Email notifications? People don’t intentionally interrupt you throughout the day because they’re on a mission to destroy your productivity, but that is exactly what happens – more often than you think! And diminished productivity directly decreases production. 

Shockingly, the average office worker is interrupted 73 times a day. Even if you don’t work in an office, it’s likely you’re interrupted just as much, because interacting with people is your business. While controlling the actions of people is not possible and attempting to is not suggested, managing interruptions is possible because you can control how you make yourself available to people. Manage people interruptions effectively to have more time and energy to get your most important work done and grow your business faster! 

Interruption By Colleague 

Post open office hours. Express to your colleagues that these are the hours you’re available for questions, concerns or mindless chit-chat. Schedule your open office hours during times when your energy is typically at its lowest level and you are the least productive. For most people, this is typically the late afternoon. If you are the type of person who needs four cups of coffee in the morning before you can truly focus, however, schedule your open office hours for early in the morning each day. Colleagues will be more respectful of your private work time when they know you’ll be available to meet their needs and answer their questions during particular hours each day. 

Interruption By Employee 

Consistently managing employee interruptions is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. If you are a team leader or have an assistant, you are their go-to person, the one with all the answers. It’s your business after all, so who better to ask how to address a client’s concern, fill out paperwork or follow a new procedure? If your team members know they’ll receive your undivided attention during regularly scheduled meetings, however, they will not have to continue interrupting you at their convenience, which often inconveniences you. 

In addition to team meetings, schedule regular meetings with each employee individually to address their questions, concerns and challenges. Give yourself an appropriate window of time to tackle their likely needs, based on past history with each person. These could be 10-minute daily meetings or 30-minute weekly Monday meetings. Do whatever works for your business and reassures your team you are there for them – just not during every minute of the day. 

Interruption By Vendor 

While vendors may bring you great value, their timing may not always be great, let alone convenient. In the real estate business, even well-appreciated vendors tend to drop by unannounced to meet with you, hand you a product, introduce you to someone or ask you to attend an event, without so much as calling ahead first. Because your vendors are so valuable, you can’t just speak your mind and tell them you’re too busy to talk. There is something you can do, though. 

Don’t let your vendors’ drop-ins dictate how you spend your day. Be proactive by implementing a new policy that vendors need to schedule an appointment to meet with you. Express your reasonable request to your vendors in advance. If you have an assistant or receptionist, ensure he or she acts as your gatekeeper so vendors don’t disturb you. If you do not have staff to enforce the policy, place a sign outside your door saying “Private Work Time. Please schedule an appointment.”, as a policy reminder to all who seek your time. 

The obvious consequences of people interruptions are that they force you to lose focus and lose time spent dealing with the interruptions. “Do you have a minute?” is never just a minute. A loss of focus and time add up to giant gaps in your productivity and directly affect your ability to prospect. You don’t have to give in to everyone else’s requests of your time and you shouldn’t. Be proactive about how you make yourself available to others, to enable yourself to focus for longer periods, thus increasing your productivity and your production. Choose to put your business first by effectively managing the external interruptions in your environment, such as colleagues, employees and vendors, because no one else will. Boss or not, that’s your task. 

 

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