1) Get your “Me” time in the bank first: Think about how lousy you feel when you feel that time manages you instead of you managing time. Now think about all the time you waste telling people “I never have time for myself” Additionally people who are less pissed get more done! Get up earlier if need be, but make sure you get that workout time, reading time, time with your significant other, whatever its is Just Do It!
2) Schedule your prospecting time in ironclad blocks: Would you break an appointment with a client? Of course you wouldn’t. You need to have the same philosophy with yourself. I would suggest a recurring schedule of money activities. Example: Perhaps Mondays and Fridays will be your in office days. On those days you could schedule the time prior to 9:30 am as your Admin time. 9:30-11:30 as phone time. 11:30-1:00 Admin/Lunch. 1:00-3:30 Phone. 3:30-? Admin time. Tues, Weds, Thurs are your appointments, account visitations, client lunches etc. It doesn’t matter which days you choose. The point is to schedule things in a manner that keeps your existing book of business happy while allowing you the ability to keep hunting for more business to keep happy!
3) Ask yourself the “Million Dollar Question” “Is what I’m doing right now, the best use of my time” If it isn’t then guess what? Time to regain control by adjusting! I call this the Million Dollar Question because I truly believe it will be worth a million dollars to you over the course of your career!
4) Ask yourself the other Million Dollar Question: “Is what I’m doing right now, moving me closer to my goals?” Too many times we confuse activity with productivity. Isn’t there a certain resentment we all get when we feel we aren’t moving ahead in life? By continually moving towards the things that matter most to you, you add purpose, which adds energy and passion, which results in productivity!
5) Know thyself and thy time wasters: I suggest tracking your time for the next two weeks. I doubt very seriously that you will find blatant time management abuse in 1 hour increments. Instead you will most probably find a series of 3-5 minute “slip under the radar” offenses that when added up amount to what experts call the “You’re wasting a lot of time senorita” syndrome. You also, need to get real, muy pronto and take a harsh look at yourself. Are you guilty of a few minutes of internet surfing? How about America’s favorite diversion Brick Breaker on your blackberry (Don’t worry Uncle Paul won’t tell anyone)
6) Get a handle on your interruptions: According to NYC research firm Basex, we lose 2.1 hours per day in office interruptions. Wendy Cole from Time Magazine has reported that we are interrupted 56 times per day and that the consensus is 80% of those interruptions are trivial. The best way for you to handle a chronic interrupter is proactively as in prior to the interruption. You will waste more time doing this as it occurs because chances are superb that emotions might get into it etc. I would simply sit the interrupter down, ask them what you can do to best work with them and then tell them how they can best work with you. Be sure to share your prospecting schedule with others in your office so they understand that you are unavailable during those times. One other major thing: I will not take inbound calls when I’m making outbound calls. Why? Because they are safe and will keep me from facing rejection on my outbound calls. I will, however, check voicemail on the hour and make a decision as to whether it was a “911 or a 411” While you are at it, shut off your blackberry and that damn Outlook pop up so you can stay focused. Consider making your calls from an empty office or a conference room if you need to!
7) Utilize your windshield time: We are in the car an awful lot. What can we use that time for? I can suggest one thing. How about using that time to talk to that person on your team that you need to talk with, but they have a habit of, how shall I say, not shutting the hell up. This way you can say “Sorry dude, I just arrived at my appointment. Gotta jet!” or (if you are clever) you can hang up on the bastard and tell them that your cell phone coverage sucks!
8) Take time to think! Brian Tracy tells us that for every 1 minute of planning we save 10 minutes of execution. Not a bad return if you ask me. Check out this past blog post on a must have weekly thinking session! http://salesplaybook.blogspot.com/2009/03/play-25-sunday-morning-coffee.html
9) Take a chill! Know when its time to step back, go outside and get some fresh air, throw some cold water on your face. Running at warp speed 24/7 is ineffective to say the least. While we are at it (sorry for the sales 101 moment) are you getting your rest? Have you taken a day off to do what matters most and reconnect with important people in your life?
10) Ride your Endorphin waves: Experts say that simply checking things off our “To Do” list inspires the brain to release endorphins which give us energy and a natural high. I would venture to say that we are more productive when we are feeling good. No?
11) Just say NO! This is perhaps the most underutilized time management tip in the book. Sometimes we need to just come to terms that we can’t be all things to all people and something’s gotta give!
12) Do what matters most: I’m talking about the things that make no logical sense from a business perspective. I’m talking about going to your kids play, the soccer game. When was the last time you made time for go on date with your spouse? How about taking time to listen to someone who may be struggling, taking time to give something back. Sometimes, time management needs to take a back seat to life managment!
Action: Track your time & identify your opportunities to get more out of your day. Try a few of these tips to get you off the treadmill and onto the track of better time management!
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