Don’t Think Time Management – Think Conflict Resolution

I like this article about time management because the author, Cathy Goodwin takes the approach of managing your time by setting up a system onf handling problems from your clients and customers. A big part of this system is to train your clients from the beginning, how you work, charge for time and handle service calls. This article gives a new way to look at time management

David began, “I have a major time management problem. As an editor, I often get two clients calling with assignments. They call around ten AM and both want their projects completed by mid-afternoon. Then a third client calls around lunchtime with a crisis. So I have too many projects – all at once. The next day the phone is silent.

David’s dilemma made me think of Jennifer, who worked for two bosses, Blue and Green. Blue would give her an assignment to be completed by noon. Green would call five minutes later with another assignment – you guessed it – to be completed by lunchtime. Jennifer was stressed and frazzled all day long. We helped her negotiate with her [tag]internal customers[/tag] – her management team – to set up a service delivery schedule that would be fair to everyone

Whether your customers are internal or external, the key is to design consistent policies to avoid conflict. Here are some suggestions that worked for my clients

1. Train your customers from the get-go.

Clients typically are nice people who have no clue about what it takes to deliver your service. For example, one client sent me a project, along with a ten-page single-spaced set of “notes.” When I called with a question, she asked, “Can’t you just read the notes?” I explained that I might spend an hour searching for the answer to my question — and I would have to charge accordingly. Sometimes clients will pay the fee as long as they get to remove themselves from the fray – but sometimes they’ll prefer to become more involved. It’s up to you to give them that choice.


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