The number one thing to understand when looking at new ways to be productive is that no two people operate the same. Some tips will help guide you but the solution is to tailor your time management techniques to your personality, business, and even learning style. Below are some things to keep in mind as you reclaim control in what can seem like day-to-day chaos.
Own Your Schedule
Customer Success Manager is an overwhelming job, but a lot of that stress comes directly from the fact that your days are subject to change and priorities evolve from one hour to the next. One small change you can make right away is to book time slots for activities based on what you know works best for you. If you’re not a morning person, block your first hour for important but menial tasks that work on an “off” brain. On the contrary, if you’re most energetic in the morning, book your calls and meetings before lunch. It’s also said that creativity is strongest on a tired brain, so try booking time for brainstorming when you might usually struggle to focus on mono-tasking.
Set Your Own Deadlines
Always set deadlines at least 24 hours prior to the shared timeline. Fires arise every day and can easily push you over a deadline. If you’ve agreed to deliver a report by EOD, but you stumble upon another issue that needs your attention at noon that day, you’re more likely to underperform on both projects. And while it’s acceptable to pull the “sorry, something came up but I’ll finish up tonight and send tomorrow” excuse once, it also indicates that you’re neither reliable nor proactive which can deteriorate a customer relationship. By setting your own timelines a day early, you’re giving yourself some time to handle unexpected speed bumps.
Take Care of Lagging Tasks
Because Customer Success is so tied to working directly with clients, we prioritize our to-do lists based on what will directly impact them. Often times, this looks like getting concrete things done: deliverables, meetings, training sessions, and emails. You’re actually doing customers a favor by booking some time off to get non-urgent and lagging tasks done once and for all. There are some tasks that you push back every week because they don’t seem as important as everything else, but it’s critical you take some time to audit these regularly. Each week, take 30 minutes to go over these tasks and wrap them up or cancel them if they’re no longer important. This will clear your mind and help you focus on other action items.
Don’t Let Client Meetings Get Away From You
Letting customers control the agenda of a meeting can seem like a good way to help them achieve success, but it can easily get away from you. Be honest with yourself when it comes to the effectiveness of meetings. Do quick update calls really make a difference in the long run, or would it be better to keep these matters to emails and QBRs? Each call should have a clear mission that’s not only realistic but also action-driven. During the call, be sure to steer the discussion and get back to the agenda if the rest of the participants go on a tangent. If new issues arise, offer to book another meeting or to come up with a plan offline.
Let Your Personal Life Influence Your Professional Life
Your professional achievements get you where you need to be career-wise, and similarly, your personal life affects your ability to grow professionally. If you can’t switch your brain from one mode to the other around a 9 to 5 schedule - like most of us - you shouldn’t plan for each as if they were independent units. Beware of how one schedule affects the other, and acknowledge how your emotional and intellectual bandwidth gets monopolized by larger projects on either side.
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