“Wow, can you believe we’re nearly in [enter month] already?” 😱
I’ll bet you a pretty penny you’ve either heard this phrase or said it yourself at some point recently. It’s no secret that time passes fast, and it can either be an ally to you or an adversary – depending on how it’s used.
Now, full disclaimer: I am no time management guru. However, I have picked up some habits throughout my four years in the customer success space that have dramatically improved the way I work.
My goal for this article is to communicate those hacks in the hopes they help you as well.
But first thing’s first, before we even dive into hacks, let’s take a step back and ask ourselves why do we even emphasize the matter of time management? Throughout my time experimenting with different hacks, I’ve found a few ways of managing your time to make it all the more valuable. To do so, this article will consider:
The benefits of good time management
Replacing stress with fulfillment
Before taking time management seriously within my profession, I always found myself feeling scattered and primarily reactive, which has always led to this anxiety-filled emotion at the end of my day.
I was always busy but never satisfied. I was always occupied but never accomplished.
After introducing time-management hacks into my career, it was as if a wave of satisfaction and calmness came splashing into my professional life and now I feel in control again.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that when you utilize your time more efficiently, the universe rewards you with more time back. The time you ordinarily spend procrastinating on your phone or avoiding work, all add up.
Here’s an interesting fact: a survey conducted by Statista shows that the average person will spend nearly six hours a day on their phone. But let me ask you this: what portion of those hours do you think derives from the fact that people don’t know quite what else to do with that time?
Time management has helped me take control of time again to be able to take on more projects, new hobbies, or just even set time aside for myself to relax. It’s astounding how much the world works in one’s favor when taking control of time.
But alright, I hear you, enough already with the suspense! Let’s get into some of the new habits to best manage your time.
The best ways to manage your time
Schedule the week ahead
I wrote this habit down first for one reason: I found that it is the easiest to get started with.
When starting my time management journey, I found that one of the most important is to not overwhelm yourself. Start by taking manageable baby steps to soften the path. There’s no need to burden yourself with a dark cloud of pressure on trying to complete large time management milestones when you’re just beginning to get acquainted with the subject.
To me, that meant starting off with taking 30 minutes every Sunday to highlight 3-5 key activities I wanted to accomplish in the week ahead, followed by blocking time on my calendar for those specific activities. Once I found myself consistently doing this starter habit for about 5-6 weeks, I graduated into also carving out 15-20 minutes at the end of every workday to highlight 1-3 smaller activities I wanted to get done the following day – including blocking time off for them.
From an accountability perspective, it’s unbelievably powerful to block off time on your calendar for the important activities you want to get done. The alternative? Not blocking your time off and just hoping it gets done, which, let’s be honest, has dramatically reduced the chances of working.
Develop a scale approach
A lot of the tasks involved in a customer success professional’s career can be repetitive and one major time management hack, which I’ve noticed has paid back in dividends, is being able to take those repetitive tasks and turn them into a scaled approach.
Let’s take new product features that are released, for example. When these used to crop up, I used to take it upon myself to relay this separately to every point of contact I had in my point of business. And we’re talking around over 30 individual emails, and about an hour of work every time a new product feature is released.
I thought to myself, there has to be a more scalable approach to this task, after thinking outside the box, I did in fact come up with a way to scale this.
I utilized Salesforce to create a contact list of all my points of contact and utilized the email functionality within Salesforce to dynamically add first names within the email and send out the new product features with a click of a button. What used to take me an hour to do now takes five minutes; scaling where possible can have huge implications to freeing up your time.
Assign times for the phone
Remember that Statista survey I mentioned earlier, which showed, on average people, spend six hours per day on their phone? Well, you got me – I definitely use to be an outlier on the higher end of that graph!
It’s so easy to stay on the grind and unconsciously pick up your phone to escape reality. Whether your foray is on social media or some other outlet, your phone can be a massive tool for procrastination. I used to fall into this trap all the time without even realizing it.
To be clear, I’m not saying is that phones are the devil, or that you need to eliminate them completely! That kind of discipline is simply unrealistic for most people, especially if you have children or responsibilities outside of work that require you to be alert with your phone handy in case of emergencies.
For me, I’ve got around this by designating ‘phone times’ throughout my day, which are times that I allow myself to ‘hop on’ to disconnect from work a little.
However, all other times I keep my phone away from my desk. This has allowed me to save myself from the trappings of the old habit of unconsciously reaching for my phone. Sure, it can be tough in the beginning but it’s worth the time you get back. If you aren’t already, I would love for you to give this a try and let me know how it goes.
I’d like to stress that this is a method I’ve found beneficial to my routine, which goes to say this won’t necessarily work for everyone and this advice should be adapted around your life as you see fit.
The final time management hack that has helped me tremendously to keep a clear head is using the reminders app on my computer, offloading some of the storage space in my brain that would traditionally have to remember.
So often as a customer success professional, we run into multiple tasks that jump out at us on any given day, and for me using a tool like reminders has provided so much peace of mind, knowing I can get back to those tasks when I am in the middle of something else.
Why not use your mind for worthwhile, relevant work as opposed to using it to have to remember to get back to those more mundane tasks? Of course, this has worked well for me but you can replace the reminders app with any other that has the same functionality.
There you have it folks, these are the time management hacks that have worked for me through my experimentation over the years.
A couple of themes I want to re-iterate is to take it step-by-step and be consistent. Build on the successes you make and take a moment to recognize yourself as you accomplish various milestones.
I hope you found some useful nuggets from this article, and feel free to reach out to me with any feedback or comments. I wish you a fruitful and successful career ahead, now filled with time management habits!
Did you like Tarek's article? 💡
Discover a wealth of other articles, videos, and templates all about customer success, written by leading CS professionals like Tarek, with a CSC membership plan.
Become a member and immediately gain access to thought-provoking and actionable tips of the trade that will enhance your understanding of CS and bolster your career.