I am trying to keep my hours down and work shorter days but I just can’t say “no” to my clients. Any advice?
We all love our clients and love taking care of them. That is why we do what we do! However, setting boundaries is necessary. First recommendation, clearly identify your new schedule. Commit it to paper. Share the schedule with the front desk and appropriately block the time, so no appointments are scheduled outside of your new working hours. Build in a few appointments that will be held open for the clients you just can’t say no to. Enlist the support of the front desk to help you by not allowing every client to get to you to ask for a special favor. Write a script of responses you can give when a client is asking you to extend your hours. Practice the scripts with co-workers to get comfortable with saying no. Statements like, “I committed this time to my family” work well. By role playing, your presentation and confidence will grow and your clients will understand. Remember, it is impossible to take care of others if you don’t take care of yourself. Schedule your personal time and do not adjust it to accommodate clients. It all begins by setting boundaries and sticking to them. — Bryan Durocher is president of Durocher Enterprises Inc. (www.durocherenterprises.com)