Time Management Tips for Self Development and Sales Productivity
I once had a confusing conversation about the meaning of the term - sales productivity - and its relationship with sales performance. To my mind, if you become more productive, you must also be producing more, ergo selling more.
We have no time to stand and stare . . begins the poem by William Henry Davies.
Making time to do the merely important things is increasingly difficult, particularly for those bearing the load of lofty sales targets. Here are nine things to do that will lighten your load.
1. Renew commitment to your main thing.
There will always be a target to hit. It is easy to lose sight of one’s real purpose be it career or personal aspirations. Keeping the main thing in focus will help you recognise the most productive actions. If you are unsure what your most important purpose is, make it a priority to find out. What do you most want to do or achieve with the rest of your life. Life is too short to use it up on anything that doesn’t serve your purpose.
2. Prioritise on the basis of making progress towards your primary aim.
"Put first things first" as Covey put it in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Magnify your energy by keeping it focussed on the most important task. Then, like a lens used to focus the sun's rays, you can accelerate the process and achieve astonishing results.
3. Be ruthless in setting aside the merely urgent in favour of the important tasks and initiatives.
If a task doesn't advance your primary purpose, dump it, delegate it, delay it, or schedule it. If it seems difficult to prioritise tasks, rank them separately according to the immediacy of their effect on progress and then by the magnitude of their effect. This often helps sort out conflicting priorities. Increasing sales productivity - producing more sales - depends on spending more hours on the right things.
4. Set aside 'Me Time’.
Rest and recovery is important. Having drive and determination is of no use when one's energy is depleted beyond that necessary for efficient work. Endurance is more easily achieved through self management rather than self discipline. Take the time necessary to recharge. If you pay attention, you will notice when you are becoming unproductive. Identify alternative activities that renew energy and concentration. Normally this can be achieved in short interludes.
5. Set aside learning time.
Schedule it and keep your learning periods sacrosanct. Otherwise you will always put it off in favour of some seemingly urgent matter. Learning exercises the mind, increases ability to think, brings new ideas to the fore, has an affect on productivity, improves decision making, brings contact with different people, and is good for well being and health. I could go on listing benefits. Dullness in performance and experience are the consequences of neglecting the mind.
6. Outsource all tasks that you don't want to do.
It will always cost less to have someone else do them. If you do them yourself, at the very least you will resent the chore. You are likely to carry out tasks that prefer not do, inefficiently. If you use time to do things you are good at and like doing, your sales productivity will go up, you will earn more. So it will be worthwhile paying to have the things you don't like doing, done.
For every task that you would rather not do, question the need to do it yourself. So many things can be accomplished by others, even remote online workers. It will take some effort to define a task and the criteria for measuring success however, once done, the work will serve you repeatedly.
7. Eliminate procrastination by breaking up larger tasks into manageable chunks.
Don't try to eat the elephant all at once. People procrastinate because a task seems too large, or because doing it might be unpleasant, or because they want to do it perfectly. Some times the reason is fear. People are afraid that they won't be able to accomplish the task.
If you break up large tasks into small steps, each step becomes easy to accomplish. In a new territory, break it up into population centres and them by market segments. Take a section containing just a few prospects and decide which is most likely to be interested. Break up the task further by segregating the research. A task is small enough when the means to accomplish it are obvious and the actions are as easy to do as putting one foot in front of the other.
8. Invest in your contact network.
Develop and maintain your network. If you have 100 favourable contacts, you can easily reach 10,000 people through personal introduction and 1,000,000 through indirect introduction. Modern networking tools make it much easier to establish and maintain a network containing hundreds or even thousands of people who consider you someone they know. With 500 contacts you can reach at least 5,000,000 other people. No single person can know how to do everything yet anyone with a good network, can reach someone who is a specialist.
9. Reward yourself along the way.
This is not the same thing as 'Me Time'. As you make progress, grant yourself a prize to mark your progress. It can be something small or more significant, according to the effort invested or progress achieved. It must be something that you consider a reward. Celebrate success.
We all have the same number of moments in a day yet no two moments are experienced in the same way. You may not be able to change the passing of time however, you most certainly can change your experience of it. There is never enough time yet there is always time enough.
Article by Clive Miller
If you are looking for ways to encourage self development, increase sales productivity or improve time management amongst sales people, we can help. Telephone +44 (0)1392 851500. We will be pleased to discuss your needs or talk through some options. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org for a prompt reply or use the contact form here.