Make Time for People, Save Time for Yourself

When you have multiple projects on the go, and lots of people are looking for your input on various things, aswell as friends and family needing your time, and attention, here’s a tip: Make time for them!

I picked this up many years ago from an ex boss of mine. The idea is, that if someone wants your attention, they’re unlikely to be happy with “yeah, later..”, and by fobbing them off till later, you begin to build a backlog of folks wanting to talk to you. So, you deal with it now, but not only do you deal with it immediately, you deal with it comprehensively.

It’s a trick many good communicators know instinctually. Giving someone an excuse, or worse, giving them less time and attention than they feel they deserve, creates an unhappy person, an unhappy person that you still have to communicate with. The way to do it is this:

  • Deal with the request for your time now, or at worst, your earliest moment.
  • Listen, don’t talk. If it takes longer than you’d like, then you can help by asking questions that can get that person to the point, but the idea is to let them fully explain what it is they want.
  • Answer them fully. Take your time, and don’t rush.
  • Ask them if you’ve covered it all – They may feel like they don’t want to “bother you”, so make sure that any other issues are covered by prompting them for more information, and asking them if you’ve helped them.
  • Tell them you’re moving on now, and to be in touch if they need anything else.

So, doesn’t that take more time out of your day?

Not really. That persons need is unlikely to go away, so for the most part, you’re just deffering the time you spend on it till later. By the time you get to it, if you get to it, whatever it is could be a whole lot more pressing.

By taking time to go through the issue comprehensively, you satisfy that persons need, and allow them to get on with whatever it is they do, and allow yourself to get back to your own work, uninterupted by one more person. If they do come back with additional points on the same topic, because you’ve taken the time to fully answer their first queries, you can bullet point subsequent answers – and they won’t mind at all.

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1 Comment »

  1. apm said

    Nice article nick !!
    That would save a lot of time as well as good relationship with friends and family memebers :-)

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