As business professionals, our mission should be to serve our clients’ best interests and “over deliver” on the promises that we make to them.
However, it is important that the communication we have with clients, vendors and other stakeholders not completely dictate our day. What do I mean by this?
Here’s a practical example. Say you have a client for whom you are creating a Web site and need some login information. You e-mail, you call, but, alas, there is no response. Now what? This was your top priority and now you’re left with your hands in your pockets and shuffling your feet.
Waiting for a call or e-mail before you can move forward can waste valuable time. It is important to have the perspective that maybe what is most important on your to-do list doesn’t match up with those you are communicating with. This, admittedly, can be frustrating. How then, do we stop letting others dictate our day?
1. Find Solace In Being Proactive
Once you have acted on your task, e.g. sending that e-mail, and have done everything on your end to prompt a response or next step, have peace of mind in knowing that you have done all you can. You can’t make someone return your phone call or respond to your e-mail. Remember, this is a two-way road.
2. Have A Plan, Set Expectations
Set expectations early. Deadlines for a one-off project, or a weekly calendar can help immensely in keeping you organized and holding all parties responsible. This “heavy lifting” on the front end will help relieve stress in the long run. For example, if you have a weekly conference call and an agenda, then you have equipped yourself with a plan that will help create predictability. If the other party misses that call, then you can once again take solace in knowing that you did your part (and of course, can reschedule).
3. Focus On Long Run vs. Short Run
Some tasks and projects take longer than others, and that’s okay. Take particular note of work that you can do right now, that takes no outside direction. These short run or daily tasks can help fill in the gaps as you wait on more coordination for larger projects, even if they appear to be less important.
4. Use Your Extra Time Wisely
Rather than waiting for a response, use this extra time to work on new ideas and/or focus internally. We often let things fall through the cracks of our own business when we focus too much of our attention externally. This extra time can be a gift for looking at the efficiency of your business, aligning finances, business networking and brainstorming for new business.
As much as we value our clients’ time, we should also value our own. Don’t let others dictate your day. You have the ability to be in your own proverbial “driver’s seat,” so take charge, stay organized, put your best foot forward, and most importantly, relax knowing that you have done your part.