Maintaining your focus and attention is an absolute MUST for ambitious women entrepreneurs. In episode 39 of Power Play, I discuss the time management skills you’ll need to control access to yourself so you can avoid the kind of distractions that take your focus away from building your business.
This is the second installment in a series of next-level time management tips for women entrepreneurs. Go here to review the rest.
Eleanor Beaton here. Welcome back to a Power Play series that I am doing that takes a look at next-level time management strategies for women entrepreneurs.
So, strategy number two is all about controlling access. And this is where I call my own personal time management strategies somewhat draconian.
So, I seriously control access to me. I do this so that I can focus on the things that I need to focus on, that I’m not distracted by ongoing incoming email, ongoing incoming requests, or these sort of niggling things that you know any leader needs to deal with or needs to find a way to efficiently deal with in order for her to focus on the big movers in her business, the big things that really allow her to get ahead.
There are several ways for you to control access. You’ve heard the old things, like turn off your notifications, maybe turn off your email, set your phone to silent. Those I have never found to be superbly effective. And the reason is that once you turn on those notifications, all of that email comes back. All of those voicemails come back.
A core thing, in terms of controlling access, is to set out a very specific outline for: here the different types of incoming requests that we get, whether by email or by phone. So categorize what those look like. In my case, it might be that sometimes we have people who have requests about the podcast. Sometimes we have people who come in and they want to know more about what it’s like to coach with me or join one of my educational programs.
Sometimes we have questions from vendors or people who are having events and would like us to sponsor them. Sometimes we have requests for people who would like to hire me as a keynote speaker.
So, what you do is go and really categorize all the different types of incoming requests that you get. Then I write up sort of overarching instructions or guidelines and then empower team members to help you handle them.
Now, the big thing that I always get when I talk about empowering team members is: what do you do when you don’t have a team? And that’s a really great question. I guess the sort of the central piece of insight that I would share with you in terms of controlling access when you don’t have a team, is that at that point you want to communicate with people. For instance, I check email two days a week. Or have a responder that says: I respond to emails within 72 hours. If your matter is genuinely urgent you may call my cell phone at such and such a time, and kind of set up expectations like that.
But the key is that you need to prioritize your mental whitespace and create structures, rules and manage expectations so that you can control access to your most precious resource which is your focus and attention.