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December 13, 2017

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5 Steps to Eliminating Time Bandits

It’s 9 AM, you’ve had your 2 cups of coffee and now you sit down at your desk, ready to start making calls. Then an "urgent" call comes in from an unemployed candidate needing an update on the status of his unremarkable resume. After you peel him off the phone, you decide to check your email (for the 3rd time in the last 20 minutes) and you find that you have 15 new emails to go through, 10 of which are SPAM. As you’re going through the SPAM, your co-worker decides to update you on her date from hell the night before. Now it’s 9:45 AM- how are those calls going?

Little events like this eat away at your most precious and irreplaceable resource; time. It is very easy in this business to be extremely busy doing the wrong things. The frantic pace of many recruiters’ desks adds to the illusion that something meaningful is happening. There is no doubt that there are a great many details that need to be tended to but how and when you take care of them can make a significant difference in your paycheck at the end of the month.

Do the closest thing to revenue first:

In crude terms, there are really only 2 categories in your work: revenue generating activities and everything else. You've probably heard of the 80/20 rule which says that 80% of a typical salespersons success comes from 20% of his or her activities. One of the characteristics that big billers have in common is that they consistently focus on the 20%- and virtually nothing else.

More often than not when we are trying to decide what to focus on during the day we are actually choosing between a wide variety of tasks that could all be classified as a “good” use of our time. Big billers have a finely tuned ability to gravitate toward the best activities while allowing many good, but less important, activities to go undone.

Systematize:

Creating systematized ways of doing things will help to free up more time. Set an aggressive goal to only do no more than 2 hours of administrative work per week and see if you can find creative ways to achieve this. So if your goal is to do no more than 2 hours of administrative work per week you will start to make note of what items are wasting your time and then be able to consider a way to automate, delegate or trash that activity. If you are able to off load administrivia, research and data entry to a researcher or support person you will have a much better chance of staying focused on leveraged, money oriented activities.

As an example, you may want to create a folder (or signature file) in your email software where you keep form emails for specific situations (marketing email, follow up email, prep email) that you can customize quickly, hit forward, and send out. Any message that you send out more than once per week ought to be saved and updated regularly. This way you write the message once, save it, and never have to write it again.

Eliminate time bandits:

It’s important to understand how much of your time is spent on productive activities that contribute directly to the results that you want and how much of your time is spent unproductively. If you are the type of person who has no idea where the time goes then I’d suggest the following activity:

  1. Track exactly how you spend your time in 15 minute increments for a 5 day period. If you do this you are almost certain to discover some things that will surprise you.

  2. Categorize your results into blocks (marketing, sourcing, deleting spam, personal calls etc.). Get specific about where the time is going.

  3. Identify what % of your time you are spending on money making activities.

  4. Identify your “Time bandits”. Those little buggers who steal your prime hours and hold them hostage.

  5. Make a plan to delegate, automate, minimize or eliminate your time bandits.

Establish an ideal daily template

Objectively looking at your habits and deliberately choosing more productive habits enables you to create an ideal daily routine. The ideal daily routine is a template of how your perfect day would go. It’s a map that guides the way you your day will unfold. So it’s a guideline but not an inflexible template. It will assist you in focusing on the best activities and feeling more control of your schedule and production.

- Gary Stauble

Gary Stauble is the principal consultant for The Recruiting Lab, a coaching company that assists Firm Owners and Solo Recruiters in generating more profit in less time. Gary offers a FREE special report, “The Search Process Checklist: a 17 step recruiting tool”, on his website. Get your copy now at www.therecruitinglab.com.