I don’t know about you, but 24 hours in a day isn’t enough. And 8 – 9 hours for work just barely covers the paperwork, order follow-up, client calls, e-mails that need answering, voicemail messages, etc. “You mean you want me to prospect and find closing time, too? What, are you kidding?!”
Sound familiar? It should. Sales reps and their managers constantly tell me they are on the run the moment they get in the office. Just opening their email can take them on a 2 to 3 hour journey away from what they should, want, or need to be doing to drive sales (like the prospecting, closing or reorder calls). What to do?
The answer is in effective time management. I just finished giving a new seminar on this subject, and in this article I’ve boiled down the Five Secrets to help you leverage the time you time so you can get the important things on your calendar done sooner.
Here they are:
Secret #1 – Identify the Two Most Important things to do each day, and then do them. Identifying these priorities is actually easy. Each night before you go home, make a list of all the things you need to do the next day. Once that list is completed, ask yourself, “What two things, if completed, would have the biggest impact on my bottom line?”
Once you’ve identified these two items, make them your top priorities for the next day and commit to getting them done. Unlike most people who struggle with many conflicting activities that rob them of their time, by adopting this one habit, you’ll move into the top 5% of all business executives and managers.
The most effective executives and business owners are “doers” and the way they are able to accomplish great things is they have the ability to identify the important things and they commit to getting them done.
Secret #2 – Start each day with your top two priorities and work each one through until it’s completed. Then cross it off and complete the next one. Resist the temptation to multitask other activities while you’re working on your priorities, and don’t start the next one until you’re done with the first one. Working each one through to completion is the key.
This builds momentum, a sense of accomplishment and empowerment, and most importantly you’ll actually be getting your important priorities done each day.
Secret #3 – Start with your most important (or most difficult) priority first. Accomplishing one or two important tasks always leads to more success — and always frees up the most energy. Once those “mountains” are out of the way, you can easily and more enjoyably take on your other tasks of the day.
Most people do the opposite: they put off the hard (and most important stuff) and get caught up in the time robbers. This is a sure recipe for feeling overwhelmed. Do the opposite — start with the hard, and watch your day get easier!
Secret # 4 – Group your other activities. Paperwork, checking e-mail, checking voicemail, etc., are incredible time drains. The worst thing to do is to keep checking them every few minutes. Make a schedule – perhaps after you cross off a priority you allow 15 minutes to check these things and then go right back to your next priority. Paperwork and other non-essential activities especially are best grouped at the end of the day.
Although these things seem important (and some are) don’t keep getting tangled up in them. You must stick to your top two priorities (like 2-3 hours a day spent cold calling — a top priority that pays for itself many times over). Grouping your activities allows you to get all of the other ‘stuff’ done but not at the expense of your priorities.
Secret #5 – Prepare your next day the night before. Before you leave the office, make sure you have your written list of priorities and grouped activities timed and written down. This helps you stick to a schedule when you get to the office, and that’s another secret of effective time management.
It also allows you to get more rest because you’re not worrying about or planning your day as you’re trying to fall asleep at night.
These are the Five Secrets to Effective Time Management. Any one of these Secrets will make you more productive, reduce your stress, and help you get more out of your day. If you use them all together, you’ll be amazed by how much more successful you’ll be as well.
Mike Brooks, Mr. Inside Sales, works with business owners and inside sales reps nationwide teaching them the skills, strategies and techniques of top 20% performance. If you’re looking to catapult your sales, or create a sales team that actually makes their monthly revenues, then learn how by visiting: http://www.MrInsideSales.com