Friday, October 27, 2006

Professional Workloads: What is causing it?

I have a number of close friends and relatives who are, in what the business community has described as, professionals.  These are Attorneys, Doctors, and CPA’s and the type who usually earn a decent living, but at a tremendous personal costs.

Since I have so many professionals as friends it is really hard to write about this subject without one of them thinking it is them I am writing about.  But the truth is, I am writing about the lot of them and not one individual. 

These professionals seem to take time for granted.  I mean it in the sense that they let other people manager their time.  To clarify, most professionals have clients and the clients pay them for their services and most of the time the services they provide is not part of their mainstream line of work or what they do for a living, so the clients usually feel that since I am paying them for their services they should be at my beckon calling.  Or at least that is what it seems to be.

But, it also could be that the professionals are cowing to letting the clients have their way so they can keep the business.  So, if the client calls at 6PM as if it is normal working hours the professional doesn’t think anything about it since they don’t want the client to thing they are not available for whatever or whenever they are needed.

Now, I am sure he professionals are thinking that this is extending a Professional Service and if not provided it would look badly of the professional.  So they stay up late reviewing stacks of documents and writing endless opinions, reading a library of medical books, so the client has what they need in the morning or things they need in the morning.  And then when morning comes the client has changed his mine or the need for the information that the professional spent the entire night working on is not needed or has changed completely.  Making all of that time wasted as far as anything productive on the professional’s part.  Yes, they did get paid for it, but at what cost? 

Briefly, the costs are to their personal life.  Professionals usually have not personal life because most professionals cannot be depended on to abide by a schedule or at least to a scheduled that coincides with anyone else who is not a professional.  So, outside of the professional arena, most professionals find it hard to associate or become friends with anyone who is not a professional.

The price they pay to their personal time is what I hear a lot about from professionals who want to play more golf and come to me to find out how Business Golf can help them put golf into their business where hours of shuffling papers is usually spent.

Before I could help I had to understand the problem and understand what is causing the problem.  And the problem is usually communications…or the lack of, or the misunderstood from of communications.  What cause the problem is usually related to not having control of the situation.

When a professional secures a contract for their services it is usually for an hourly rate with all kinds of stipulations written in on maximum time frames that stretch out over an extended period time.  The one thing that is never put in or when it is the client wants it taken out, and that is the specific time of day they are available. 

Most clients do not want dealing with the professionals to interfere with their work day.   So the communications on the services to be delivered have to be discussed before or after their work day.  And since most of the business people who are in need of a professional’s services usually are not able to manager their own time, they usually amplify the abuse of their lack of time management onto the professional they are hiring.   Simply put, most business people who do not know how to use time management usually are having business or health problems that a professional needs to help them get fixed.  So, if they are always running late in business, which is probably causing their business problems, they usually are holding up the professional pass their normal work hours.  This makes the work the professional needs to do to get paid left to be done at absurd times of the evening.

I searched for the book I have read to provide the title and author, but I could not find it and my research on the internet did not produce the information I needed, But there is a book out that I read in my freshman year of college on how early humans created over time a normal pattern of time which equated over time to be the time best for them to work to produce their food, hunt for their food and made tools and shelters.  And this time was during the daylight.  Night time was where there was not light to see what needed to be done or hunt or gather crops, so that is when nature built in a natural shutdown of the human body so it could rest.

Over a long period of time science found that the normal human clock provided a human to be its most productive in the daylight hours and triggers a shutdown when the sun goes down.   During this same period of time, the economy sparked a need for people who wanted to make higher monitory gain needed to provide more products and the only way to do that was to work longer hours which was past the human’s body nature clock shutdown.

The battle has been going on for centuries on people working too long hours to produce more so they can get ahead.  And this also has proven that that is when most people make mistakes that cause them to get into real trouble…thus needing a professional to get them out of trouble.

But the professionals have brought most of this on themselves by allowing the clients who hire them to change their scheduled to be the clients schedule and pushing them to work beyond the natural time frame nature has built into each and everyone of, thus resulting in the professionals also making mistakes out of exhaustion.

So, what about the business golf?  Most of the time I find that the problems that are causing professional to think they do not have time for business golf comes from their inability to handoff some of the most menial duties to someone or several people to do instead of them.  The reason is usually based on some lack of trust or need to keep their hands on something. 

In some cases they do need to keep their arms around all information, but even with that, I have found in their business processes where they could have handed off something else not so sensitive to get that out of the way so they could use the time they spent pass normal working hours working on the sensitive items back into a normal timeframe where productive is natural.

In every case, except one, I have reviewed where the professionals say they can’t get out to play golf it is because someone else did not do what they were suppose to do in the timeframe they were suppose to provide it. For example, a  prosecution Attorney’s say they can’t predict when they can play golf because the judges keep moving the court docket on them.  The Judge reports the docket got changed because some prosecution attorney did not get the information on the case filed in a timely manor.  And that prosecution attorney could not get the information due to someone who was gathering the information could not get the information.  With that person who was to gather the information they could not get it because the request came after office hours. 

And this keeps going on to where the causes was from one person, who if they had managed their time and not stayed out late at a club the night before would have gotten up the next day for work in time to not have to rush to work to keep from getting fired for the tenth tardy, resulted in them running a red light to make up some travel time and hit a car injuring a person who was suing for damages. 

So, as you can see in this example of how everything effects everyone, if more people would manage their time, the professionals would be able to manager their time.

But, it is not going to happen over night so until then, professionals need to review their process and see what is causing them to waste time, pass that off to someone else to due, concentrate on the meat of the business, communicate clearly and precisely on what specifically the work day is as a whole and when work for a client will be done and then manage it strictly. 

How would a professional use business golf if they did develop the time to play?  Well, they could broaden their personal life with friends who become the nucleus of a very large network of friends who would network potential clients to these professionals. 

There are many applications to Business Golf, and it is good for Professionals also.

Scot Duke,  President of Innovative Business Golf Solutions, and Host of the Mr Business Golf podcast, provides over 31 years of corporate management experience to helping small businesses improve their marketing strategies. As author of: How To Play Business Golf, Mr. Duke outlines the steps to sucessfully using golf as a business tool.  To learn more about Mr. Duke, IBGS or to purchase How To Play Business Golf visit


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