Okay. Rob Brown here again. Time for day four of the 21-day Time Mastery Challenge. I hope you’re feeling really good about what you’ve been able to do so far.

So far, we’ve been focusing on creating space.

On day one, we talked about unsubscribing from other people’s priorities. Getting rid of that stuff that comes into your inbox that you really don’t need to see. And, if it has to come in, you can’t get rid of it. Maybe it’s research that you want to read later, you set up email filters that send it to a special research box. We’ll talk about how to take care of that research a little bit later in this program.

Hopefully, you’ve built a simple email management system where you either “delete”, “delegate”, “delay”, or “do” things that come in to your inbox. And your inbox has less than 10 items in it at any one point in time.

And yesterday we did the diet, we did the social media, smartphone, distraction diet, at least we started it. It may take some time to get that fully into place but that activity alone could be the biggest time saver that you uncover during the course of this program because social media and your smartphone can suck time away from you in a way that you don’t sometimes realize it.

Today, and for the next several days, we’re going to start talking about your “daily building blocks”. Now that we’ve created some space, I want to make sure to fill those days back up with things that matter, things that will move your business forward, things that will help you accomplish your biggest goals or overcome your biggest challenges. I want to do that piece by piece.

The first place I want to start is I want to encourage you to schedule your time for return emails, texts, and phone calls. Yes, schedule time for returning emails, texts, and phone calls. You don’t have to be on call for everybody all the time. You don’t need to be the person who answers your phone. And it’s not bad customer service to have an assistant answer your phone or to have a professional voicemail or an out of office message that tells people when to expect to hear from you.

So, I want you to begin thinking about how you can schedule your time each day for returning emails, texts, and calls.

One of the most important tools that you may be able to implement if you’re not working on your own, if you have an assistant who works with you, is give that person permission to review your emails and answer your phone. Giving them permission to do that will allow them, as you work with them over time, to know when they may need to interrupt you, which is probably very infrequently, and then how they can respond in a way that tells the person that is emailing you, texting you, or calling you when you’ll get back to them.

That is a great tool.

Think about how professional it sounds when somebody calls into your office, your assistant answers your phone and says, “Rob’s not available right now, is there something I can help you with?” And if that assistant can’t help them, they really need to speak with you, they can say, “Great, Rob is really tied up today, he’s planning on returning his calls at 3:30, would that be soon enough?” And if the person says, yes, it’s not an emergency, you’re off the hook, you can make that return call during the time that’s dedicated to return calls and you can go on with your day.

If it is important, then you can be interrupted.

So, giving permission can be a big help when you’re trying to think about ways or when you are scheduling time to return emails, texts, and calls.

I would suggest that you create just one or two time blocks per day to make those return calls and emails. For most of us, if we just had two 30 minute periods of time that we dedicated to return calls, emails, and texts, we could take care of the majority of the phone calls that come into our offices and the messages that come in through email.

And it doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning.

I would suggest that you have a return call time block right before lunch so that you can take care of anything that has come in during the course of the morning. And then do it again at the close of the day, that way you covered the afternoon.

If you’ve done this properly, there won’t be a bunch of emails coming in overnight that you need to worry about first thing in the morning.

For now, experiment with this.

Block off one 1 hour block of time each day or two half-hour blocks of time each day where you are committed to returning your calls and your emails. It will create a tremendous amount of efficiency.

And remember, you want consistency.

So, as you make that plan to schedule those blocks of time for those return calls and emails, make sure you let your staff know what you’re doing. Make sure your voicemail message is consistent with it. And if you decide to use an out-of-office message to tell somebody what you’re planning to do, make sure it’s consistent.

Communication matters.

Consistency of communication will help you pull off your effort to schedule your time for return emails, texts, and calls.

Again, we’re creating some building blocks to rebuild your days now that we’ve created some extra space. Some of you may be a little bit nervous about some of the things that I’ve suggested you eliminate, those crutches that you rely on to respond to things at will, to answer your phone yourself immediately and jump on things that come into your office.

I want you to get away from that.

So, as we rebuild your day, one of the first things you can do to give yourself the assurity that you won’t drop the ball when it comes to calls, texts, and emails is schedule time to return them. One block of time each day, maybe two blocks of time each day but that’s all you’re going to need.

Give it a try.

I’ll be back with you tomorrow for the next episode of our challenge. Thanks for listening.



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