Blog Entries by Marcia Nickerson, Manager of Client Relations, ByAllAccounts

3 Ways to Manage Your Work Time Better—and Get More Done Every Day

In today’s fast-paced world, we all feel the pressure to do more in the same 24-hour period, from going to work, closing new business and increasing communication with existing clients to making educated investment decisions, maximizing profitability, and networking with industry peers. And that’s just in our professional lives.  After we leave the office, most of us have family responsibilities that are just as important as our professional ones.  So how do we create a healthy balance between work and family?  

One way is with effective time management. But the reality is that time management can be a challenge for all of us—and I am no exception . But having said that, here are three things that help me organize my day and stay on track:

1.) Leverage technology to organize tasks and increase communication with clients and prospects

I use Microsoft Outlook to track everything from follow up phone calls with clients to personal appointments.  There are many CRM systems out there that will help you track daily tasks and prioritize your day, but I like the Microsoft calendar because it allows me to track personal appointments, too. 

I also use a CRM system and e-mail to maintain contact with clients.  As your practice grows, you’ll need systems in place that are scalable and allow you to communicate important information as it’s happening.  Here are a few ways I leverage the systems in my office to increase the effectiveness of client communication: 

  • Use CRM to prepare contracts and RFP’s for new clients and prospects

  • Record meeting notes and schedule follow-up tasks

  • Track client information and set reminders for special events such as birthdays

  • Use e-mail to increase client retention.  This includes sending out quarterly surveys to get an indication of how our clients are feeling about our services and performance.  It’s a good way to identify “At Risk” clients and it allows me to customize each agenda to address my client’s specific needs and concerns

2.) Be selective when bringing on new clients and getting involved in projects

It’s important to recognize when we should push back and say “no” to clients and prospects.  That means being selective when bringing on new clients and accepting projects.  As we all know, the small projects and clients can end up taking more of our time than the larger ones.  

3.) Work smarter, delegate responsibility and make sure everyone understands the task at hand

It’s easy to get pulled into meetings and urgent tasks that take us away from our most important work functions.  Therefore, I try to block out an hour in my calendar each day to dedicate to my most important tasks, whether it’s prospecting, following up on an important client meeting, preparing a new contract, market research, or any other matter that’s critical to success.  I let my team know that I am not available during that hour.  It’s also easy for meetings to run longer than scheduled, so try to be cognizant of the time and stay within the allotted timeframe for meetings and phone calls.

In addition, one of the most important keys to time management is being able to recognize when to remove yourself from a situation and hand it off to another department or peer.  We can’t do everything ourselves, and it’s important to leverage the strengths of peers whose schedules may allow them to complete tasks sooner.  For me, that means removing myself from service issues quicker, so I can focus on revenue-generating activities.

Finally, good communication is essential.  Having clearly-defined goals and expectations will help facilitate any process.  Whether this involves meeting with a new client or interacting with peers, it’s important for everyone to have a clear understanding of the objective and the steps involved.  It’s amazing what you can accomplish in a single day when everyone has a clear understanding of what’s expected and each contributor is leveraging his or her natural strengths. 

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