Do any of these statements sound familiar to you?
“I couldn’t get the project done, there just wasn’t enough time”
“I’m so stressed out, too much to do and not enough time”
“I’m going to have to work the weekend again, just to catch up”
“What happened to my DAY !!!%%$#!!!”
I’m convinced that my clients, including many of you reading this column, are among the hardest working and busiest professionals anywhere. I’ve also noticed that our pressure-packed business environment is increasingly filled with RUSHING, STRESS and OVERTIME as we struggle to cope with the huge demands on our services. Demand is good, but sometimes it can be overwhelming. We need more time!
One of my favorite quotes is the following:
“Time is more valuable than money. You can get more money but not more time.”
Jim Rohn: American entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker.
Today’s topic is called Time Management, and I’ll be sharing some of my very best tips about this vital topic. Read on…
One of the oldest gags in the world is to create the appearance of importance by grabbing a clipboard and sheaf of papers, walking rapidly through the office and talking non-stop on your cellphone while gesturing wildly. This “busyness” creates the illusion of activity, but is often misleading. Thomas Edison said it best:
“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence and honest purpose, as well as perspiration.”
The difference between random, inefficient activity (busyness) and real accomplishment can be discerned by examining what was accomplished at the end of the day. To get there requires a plan, purpose, and perspiration. Ergo, focused activity toward your goal.
Create a Written Daily Plan: 1% of your day is 14 minutes, and you should use this amount of time to write out your plan for the day (either early in the morning or the night before). It is a fact that only the top 5% of business people do this vital task, and they account for over 90% of the success stories!
Here’s how to do it: Take a single sheet of paper (low tech) or ONE computer screen and list out the “Top 10” activities you will accomplish today. Then go back and highlight with a colored marker the Top 3 of those 10. As you do this, you are visualizing what it feels like to accomplish the task, how good it will feel to get it completed. If you can’t visualize it, it will never happen! Make sure these are the most important tasks!
Take them in order, and focus your FULL energy on the task in hand and get it completed. Do NOT attempt to multi-task, that unfortunately never works very well. When you complete them, cross them off your list. At the end of the day, look over the list and see how many you completed, and give yourself a mental pat on the back for a job well done!
Blocked Time: This relates to the above tip. To get your plan completed, you must allocate time on your calendar for specific activities. For instance, you could allocate 4-6 p.m. specifically to follow up your outstanding open activities or accounts. For salespeople, you might block out two hours in the morning exclusively for outbound business development calls.
Remember to put the task on your calendar and set an alert on your phone or computer. When the specified time arrives, you turn off your email and incoming calls, eliminate any distractions and then focus 100% of your time on that specific task. This requires discipline, because we have become so accustomed to dealing with constant interruptions. With a dedicated focus on a single task, it is amazing what can happen! We need to train LIFE to adapt to our wishes, rather than REACTING to whatever pops up. Take control!
Measure Time by Results, not Hours: The reason we’re good at what we do is because we don’t agree that it takes hours or days to make a sale or close a deal. Salespeople are unique because we measure our success on what we have accomplished, not how long it took. Because we have mastered the art of improving efficiency and speed, we can achieve greater results in a shorter amount of time.
When we set up our goals, we set the bar high and then push ourselves to use maximum efficiency to get the job done faster and more efficiently. Great salespeople are never satisfied with the status quo, they always look for that extra edge.
Create Trust and Rapport: I had to sneak this tip into an essay on time management! The simple fact is that creating greater trust and rapport with your clients will dramatically improve results. Never forget that people make decisions to buy EMOTIONALLY, then they find all the logical reasons to support their decision. Although you might begrudge taking an extra two minutes to chat about their new home or future plans, your clients and prospects will really appreciate that you paid attention and listened. This will improve your chances of winning more business and generating revenue.
Do it Now: When you pick up a piece of paper or take on a task, do everything possible to complete it NOW. If you keep starting things and then moving on to something else, and something else you will become surrounded by mounds of paperwork and will drown in the volume of incomplete activities. Do everything possible to complete it now, one thing at a time, and get it off your plate.
Finally, STAY in the Now: Remain in present time, focused on what you’re working on right now. Don’t add stress to yourself by worrying about all the other activities you need to complete later. Later is not NOW, so focus on now and get it done.
Until next time !