Itís 9 AM and you have a planner in front you with 30 important calls to make when the "urgent" call comes in from an unemployed candidate needing an update on the status of his resume. You then check your email (for the 4th time in the last 60 minutes) and see that you have 15 new emails to go through, 10 of which are SPAM. 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 recruitersí 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.
Two categories of activities:
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 ďgoodĒ 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.
Creating systematized ways of doing things will help to free you up. Set an aggressive goal to only do a certain small number of hours of administrative work per week and see if you can find creative ways to achieve this. For instance, 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 activities.
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 regularly ought to be saved and updated regularly. This way you write the message once, save it, and never have to write it again.
If you plan your calls in blocks of time and guard this time carefully you will be much more efficient. If someone calls with an "urgent" request that is not urgent to you, tell her you will call her back during your next break. Leave a half-hour towards the end of the day for database updating, web research and administrivia.
Track and analyze how you spend your time:
Itís 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 Iíd suggest the following activity:
Establish an ideal daily schedule:
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. Itís a map that guides the way you your day will unfold. So itís a guideline but not an inflexible template. It will assist you in focusing on the best activities and feeling more in control of your schedule and production.
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. His free monthly e-zine, "Creative Recruiting" will help you to attract premium clients, generate more profit, and still be home in time for dinner. Subscribe today at www.therecruitinglab.com or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Owners: sign up for a free business building Tele-class online. For more information or to schedule a complimentary coaching session, visit the site or call 408-847-5049. Copyright 2004 Gary Stauble - All Rights Reserved