Time Management

The older I get, the more I realize the importance of time management. Lately, many customers and co-workers have been lamenting over the fact that there is just not enough time in a day. While I agree that time moves quickly, there are many ways we can take advantage of the time we do have. 

One thing I have noticed is that we have allowed technology to take over our lives, rather than allowing it to enhance our daily routines. A recent survey found that the average American spends about 23 hours per week staying up-to-date on social media, personal emails and texting; 23 hours, that’s nearly 4 hours per day! Here is a free bit of advice: have some self control, take responsibility for your actions (or lack of action) and focus on getting things done. 

The bullets below are some pointers that have worked for me:

  • Work off of a “to do” list. This allows you to visually see what needs to be done. I actually input tasks into my calendar in outlook- that way my ipad, iphone and laptop are all up to speed. You should only focus on 3 items that are a must. Don’t get bogged down with menial tasks that take away from the major goals.
  • Your electronic devices should be used for work related tasks during business hours. Words with friends can wait. I’m pretty confident that you are not getting paid to play the game.
  • My dad always said, “Do revenue generating activities during revenue generating hours.” In other words, do things that will generate revenue during business hours. Being in sales, this makes sense, but what if you are not in sales? Let me ask you a question, do you enjoy getting a paycheck? If the answer is yes, then you should be actively working hard during business hours.
  • Think before you ask or respond. Because we live in such an “I want it now” world, people will ask before thinking, or respond before thinking. Both of these are terribly negative and could be detrimental to your career. You were given a brain that is smarter and faster than any technological device, especially when it comes to complex issues; so use it! And don’t take on more than you know for sure you can handle.
  • Minimize distractions.
    • If you work in an office, don’t let people dictate how you appropriate your time (unless it’s your boss). Let co-workers and cube-mates know that you are working on a task and that you will get back to them when you’re done.
    • If you are working on a time sensitive project, either turn your cell phone off or put it on silent.
    • Does your phone ding every time you get an email? I shut that notification off years ago; the constant alerts were actually causing anxiety and undue stress. Simply get used to checking your work email throughout the day when it does not interfere with another task.

One of the most important things we screen for when hiring a new salesperson is their time management. If they have a propensity for texting throughout the day when we try them in the field for a ride along, it’s a red flag. Not only is it extremely rude, it shows a lack of self control.

My general feeling is that we can manage our time effectively and efficiently, but we must be purposeful about it. Successful time management takes work and consistency.