Time Management

Dear Tony,

 One of the biggest challenges I face as a salesperson is there are not enough hours in the day. What advice can you give me on time management?

It’s one of the things I get asked the most and it’s one of the toughest things to get right; the truth is, it’s all about discipline.

I am sure you have heard the saying ‘work smarter, not harder’; well this is imperative to effective time management, however, what it doesn’t tell you is how can we work smarter?

The first thing I’d recommend is carrying out a time log. For one week, make a note of every single thing you are doing every day and record a time next to it. At the end of the day calculate how much time are you proactively spending on generating sales; because without this, your job is redundant! You can then identify what tasks are you doing that perhaps you could delegate or carry out at different times of the day.

One thing that is fixed is the times that you are able to make sales calls: 09:15 am to 12:30 and 13:30 to 17:00. Therefore, I would recommend carrying out any other tasks outside of these times, where possible.

Many clients I train write to-do lists and some of them actually do the tasks; however, it’s crucial that you prioritize the list. When prioritizing it’s not what you’d like to do first, it’s what needs to be done first.

When working in an office you will come across what I call time thieves and it takes great discipline to avoid these at all costs. The three biggest time thieves are emails, meetings for the sake of meetings, and your peers.

When making sales calls, I recommend blocking out power hours to be on the phone and closing your laptop to avoid the temptation of looking at your emails and being disturbed.

If there are meetings going on that you are asked to attend and you believe they are not crucial, don’t be afraid of asking is it absolutely crucial I attend. Explain your urgent workload and the time you have available to complete it and a reasonable Manager should agree to your absence.

Finally, when your peers or members of staff approach you, say to them. “I have a,b,c to complete by such a time unless it’s life-threatening do you mind if we discuss this at 14:00?” Provide them with a specific time which should avoid you coming across as rude.

Try all these things and I guarantee you’ll have more time on your hands. Now stop reading this and get back to work!

 

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