You are probably much more used to the phrase “cherry picking”. It’s a phrase that pays homage to the selection of the best fruit. Without belaboring the point; there is an analogy to picking the best notary assignments. But what about the rest of the assignments? Clearly there is a broad range. The cherries are close by, easy to do; and pay a high fee. The majority of the assignments offered to us are not cherries; they are average. Average, in that we work hard to earn a fair wage. However, there are also the “Poo” assignments. Difficult, far, time consuming, and with a bunch of special added requirements; often at bottom dollar.
How do you get the cherries and avoid the Poo? As the First Lady said “Just Say No”. It’s very bad business to accept every offer made to you. Some say it’s necessary to take the bad with the good. Why? I take the cherries and the average and reject the Poo. If you have been a mobile notary for any length of time you should have developed a good sense of what is a Poo situation. One classic warning sign is that the situation takes a large amount of your time, prior to actually doing the assignment. Do you have time to spare? Probably not.
Quote by Abraham Lincoln: “A Lawyer’s Time and Advice are His Stock in Trade.”. Swap Lawyer’s for Notary’s and that is reality. You have only so much time to devote. Any task that takes an unreasonable amount of your time needs to be abandoned. Sometimes you have to just “let go” – as what starts time-consuming will probably become more so. There are no exact guidelines for me to give you. If you feel you are descending into a pit, climb out!
Now to the real “meat” of this entry. Your calendar is the single most important time management tool. Do you guard it carefully, aware the entries represent the commitment of a slice of your time; unusable for other matters. Some feel anything is better than nothing. If you accept a “Poo” assignment you will be forced to decline all others. Thus, you are, if you are really managing your business; forced to determine the quality and “worth” of the offer. It is in this aspect of time management that so many fail miserably.
“Shields Up” shouts the First Officer on the Enterprise, the Star Trek Starship. It’s the duty of the First Officer, first to protect the ship; second to protect the Captain. You are the Captain of your business, and your experience and judgment must serve as the first officer. But what of the Starship? That’s your “bottom line” – does your business model protect both yourself (from legal action, danger, etc.) and protect your income flow? Assuming you don’t want to fire the Captain (you) then you might have to rethink how you apply your experience and judgment.
“Let me try to have that fee approved” a/k/a “as soon as I hang up I will be looking for someone cheaper, but if I can’t find one; only then will I call back”. One possible response is “fine, but I cannot make a calendar entry until we have an agreement; the time slot might not be available when you call back”. Some are a bit more “pushy’ – “pencil me in for that time” they ask. Sure, I reply but be aware that the next caller who wants that time will cause me to use the other end of the pencil and erase your entry.
Back to Poo, your time; and now add commitment. Today a Poo caller, this one an Escrow Co. (or so they said); made a solid commitment to having both payment and assignment sheet to me by noon for a 3PM assignment. As I write this it’s now 12:30 – nothing received. What to do? For http://kenneth-a-edelstein.com “it never happened”. No, I’m not going to call them; they were able to call me, and have chosen to just ignore their agreement with me. It’s not worth my time to call them. They never had a calendar entry, so there is nothing to erase. It’s unlikely, but if they suddenly resurrect themselves and call at 1:30; and I am “open” – perhaps I will be able to accommodate them. But it’s my rules that govern.
The key to Poo management is establishing deadlines for events; and mutually understanding what will happen when the deadline passes. Then stick to it. Nobody owns you, or manages you; unless you let them.
(1) Re: Notary Assignments; Do you know how to pick the cherries and leave out the undesirable jobs?
(2) Any task that takes an unreasonable amount of your time needs to be abandoned. Sometimes you have to just “let go”
(3) Nobody owns you or manages you unless you let them! When it comes to the worst notary jobs, “just say no”
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