I love my clients. Just have to say that first.
Today I had 28 client emails. That doesn’t include emails about clients. Nor phone calls or skype messages about clients. I didn’t have any client phone calls today, nor any meetings — that’s tomorrow.
Some of the client emails involved checking things and doing research, some required action, and some just required a quick note.
But 28 client emails and action on the client needs, plus emails, skype messages, and phone calls about clients, means that I did not complete the work I was supposed to get done today. 28 emails means an interruption every 17 minutes on average. Include all those other things and I obviously can’t actually write the stuff I’m supposed to write.
Now, there is a solution to this. I read about it in The ONE Thing. I should turn off and ignore all communication from 8:00 a.m. to noon every day. #1 daughter points out that if you ignore the first six emails on any given subject, most of the issues will have resolved themselves by the time you read the seventh.
I just haven’t been able to do that. I end up feeling as though I’m ignoring my clients — whom, you may recall, I love.
Alternatively, I could have someone else do the actual work while I deal with all the client stuff. Of course, I like the actual work. I like it better when I’m not interrupted every few minutes, obviously, but I remember really enjoying it. No one on the team is better at it than I am, and dealing with emails all day doesn’t generate revenue to pay a new worker with.
Or I could have someone else field all the interruptions. That sounds good, but there is actually no one else who can answer the questions and take the actions on all the communications. I’d have to have someone sort them out and only send me the ones which actually required some kind of action that I am the best person to take… which is what I do for my team. So I, the senior member of the department, am doing what secretaries traditionally did.
There’s a problem with it.
The ONE Thing also said that making changes doesn’t require discipline over the long term. It takes discipline for a short time, and then it’s a habit. I already teach during the morning hours one day a week and I let the client emails pile up then. I can do the same the other four days and get 16 hours of focused work. Probably I would get used to it after a while, and clients might also get used to it, at least subliminally.