Time management is something of an oxymoron to me. I will not even attempt to create the illusion that I am good at it. In fact, I am probably one of the biggest procrastinators you will ever meet. No, time management and I don’t get along.
But let me ask you this: Are your customers consuming virtually all your time? Do you feel like you must be available to your customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week or they will find someone else who is? Are your relationships at home strained because you are always “on”?
I see this every day at conferences, parties, dinners, and movie nights out with the family. It’s not unique to the travel industry, but unfortunately many of us have backed ourselves into this corner of which there seems to be no way out.
I have been there myself. In fact, I spent over ten years totally devoted to my customers and it almost killed me. I ate at my desk, worked weekends and nights, kept my phone with me always. My family stopped including me because they knew I would spend all my time on the phone anyway. I gained a ton of weight and my blood pressure skyrocketed from the stress I was under. All because I was putting what I perceived to be my customer’s needs – in front of my own. My doctor told me that something had to give.
One of my greatest learnings from the real estate business, and one I practice effectively to this day, is the concept of “My time, Your time”. The reason so many in the travel business get frustrated and burned out is because they have failed to embrace such a novel idea.
This is not time management, I already told you I’m not wired that way. It’s about setting boundaries and expectations. These are not a bad things. They help protect us from ourselves, what is ours, and in this case the one thing we can never replace, time.
If you make yourself available to serve your customers 24/7, you shouldn’t be surprised to get that call or email at 3 am wanting to know what time to be at the airport for their trip next year or if they need to exchange currency for their cruise. How many of you respond within minutes, regardless of when you are contacted?
Nor should you be surprised when your family complains that you are not “present” with them at family gatherings or even while simply watching TV. You may be there in a physical sense, but mentally you are far, far away, playing the “what if” waiting game.
It’s you own fault, no one to blame but yourself, after all, you set this expectation with your customers. Whether it was out of fear of the competition or the belief it is superior service, you have committed all your time, 24/7 to your business. As a result, personal relationships suffer as does your health and business. Taking care of yourself and family is important, but if you have made yourself a slave to your business, no one is well served.
Most businesses are open during set hours each day and most people work a certain number of hours each week; these are boundaries. I suggest you consider doing the same. Put some boundaries around your time. If you set the expectation with your customers that you are available 9am-6pm, Monday-Friday, most will respect your time. You will always get that guy who thinks he is too important to wait until the sun rises, but in reality – he will. Don’t manage to the one exception when the other ninety-nine as perfectly fine with your arrangement. Also, don’t be afraid of losing a customer or prospect. I will share from personal experience the ones who have a problem with it, end up being an even bigger problem down the road. Most people don’t expect you to be on 24/7, they certainly are not.
Set some boundaries and you might be surprised at how much better your life becomes, how you will make time to exercise, go out to lunch, and come home in time for dinner. On top of that you will be able to manage your business more effectively and maybe- just maybe finally get that good night sleep your body has been craving.
This has worked for me in my business top producers in many fields. It’s time you do the same. Your family, friends, customers, and your own body will thank you for it.
Dan Chappelle specializes in helping sales professionals achieve their full potential by thinking BIGGER, working SMARTER, and producing real RESULTS.
Dan Chappelle is a professional business advisor, sales coach, author, and speaker. His training and consulting firm helps develop sales oriented business leaders, individual salespeople, and entrepreneurs. His best-selling book Get Your S.H.I.P. Together: The Wealthy Travel Agent Guide to Sales, is available on Amazon.com. For information on Dan’s Sales Acceleration programs, visit: www.DanChappelle.com