How to better focus your workday around client work

May 26, 2021 | Tips

On any given workday you’ll have a raft of competing priorities. But there’s one focus that stands above all others – working with your clients and delivering them value.

Standing in the way of client work is a tangled mix of distractions and inefficiencies working against your productivity.

Unrelated emails, personal social media notifications, non-client phone calls and absent-minded news scrolling all stand in the way of client focused work.

There are some simple ways to mitigate these distractions to focus better and minimise wasted energy.

1) Make clients the priority

Client work should always come first. Start by structuring your workday around client deliverables, communication, and value creation. Everything else is a vehicle to arrive at this priority.

Set yourself a list of client goals to achieve throughout your day and be aware that every other task comes second place. De-prioritise things that are not direct mechanisms to allow focused and diligent client work.

Many people find starting their day with client work is the best solution, leaving admin for later in the day as energy wanes.

2) Set aside time to create better relationships through direct communication

Make sure you set aside time each day to better understand your key clients and engage in direct communication and relationship building. You simply can’t beat face to face contact, or if that proves impossible, direct conversations via remote meeting technology such as Zoom.

“Social media, newsletters and emails are wonderful strategies to engage clients, but how do you know whether your clients are reading and understanding them?” Mark Holton CPA, director of Smithink.

If direct communication is off the cards, concentrate on knowing your clients and their businesses even better. Doing this means you can demonstrate dedication and obtain more useful business information.

Greg Hayes, founder of Hayes Knight NSW, understands that the ‘trick’ to building a strong relationship is simple. He says you should dedicate time in your day to get to know your clients and their businesses better, “so they feel that you have their best interests at heart and have taken time to understand them”.

2) Destroy distractions

Distractions are the death of your focused client work, and they’re ever present. Diligently mitigating the corrosive impact of distractions will free up a surprising amount of time to focus on client work.

One of the worst distractions is right at your fingertips – the ever-present mobile phone.

The ABC’s Science Week Smartphone Survey, which had 14,000 Australian respondents, was illuminating in revealing our collective mobile phone use throughout the day. Did you know:

  • almost 40% of survey respondents said they use their smartphone for three hours or more each day
  • 47% indicated they spent one to two hours on the phone daily
  • over half of the survey participants under 35 agreed that they constantly check their phone — this figure dropped down to about 10% for people over 75.

You probably don’t need statistics to know how often you check texts, social media, emails, and various alerts on your phone during your workday.

Even a minor effort to decrease this consistent distraction will yield significant time back and can be better spent focusing on clients.

Try:

  • muting your phone and silencing distractions – better yet put it in a drawer out of sight
  • making time to check emails only a few specific times a day
  • turning off all social media alerts.

3) Simple ways to increase concentration and reduce aimlessness

A wandering mind is part of being human, yet there are a few tricks we have up our sleeves if we find our daydreams are leading us astray and detracting from core client tasks.

  1. Chew gum has measurable benefits on task concentration.
  2. Surrounding yourself with greenery and plant life is a proven concentration and mood booster.
  3. Jumping up to do a quick energetic set of pushups, crunches, burpees, and the like is a known concentration lifter.
  4. Ensure you have wholesome and nutritious snacks on hand as well as plenty of water.

4) Set alarms

It’s all too easy to let the day get away from you. A great antidote is to set some alarms throughout the day (without getting ridiculous).

Need to do some client communications and check-ins? Schedule them. Do you have some client cases to work on? Block out some time for serious concentration.

5) One task at a time

We may believe we’re all multitasking wizards who can excel in our vocations with a myriad of jobs and tasks to do at any given time. Unfortunately, we probably can’t.

Try making a concerted effort to close all competing website tabs and concentrate solely on one client, one solution and one task at a time.

According to a Standard University study on multitasking:

“Students performed several tasks, including that of numbers and letters, switching back and forth constantly. Heavy multitaskers were less effective at filtering out any irrelevant stimuli coming in, whereas those who were rarely multitaskers or only lightly dabbled had no issue staying focused and on task with what was asked.”

It may take some training, but prioritising monotasking over multitasking is a proven way to achieving more in your day. Monotasking means you’ll be more focused and better able to concentrate on client outcomes.

 

To find out more about APS software, visit www.aps-software.com.

APS is a division of Reckon, an ASX listed company. We develop the software used by the best Accounting Firms in Australia and New Zealand to run their business’ and advise their clients.

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