One of the major complaints that I get from clients is: “There is just not enough time in a day to do everything that I have to do.” Which causes me to ask: “Why?” “I’m too busy to get what needs to be done.” Is the usual reply. For those that have followed my blog, you will in all likelihood know my answer: “You do realize that ‘busy’ is just another word for unproductive.”
We all have the same 24 hours, therefore, why is that some people seem to be scurrying around while others are quite efficient, productive and unhurried?
I would like to share with you five ways to make your time more productive:
- Shorten your meeting times: If you are prepared and have everything ready why would you need an hour when 45 minutes would be sufficient? Too many of us spend the last 10 – 15 minutes of a meeting rehashing, or talking about something unrelated to the original purpose of the call. Your prospect or client appreciates the fact that they can get back to their primary purpose sooner, rather than later. With the extra time that you have gained, you can now make notes on the call and prepare for your next call to make sure that it is also shorter.
- Concentrate on who needs to be concentrated on. Categorize all your prospects into one of three folders. The first one is ‘hot.’ These are prospects that you have contacted and are ready to buy. The next folder is ‘warm.’ These are those that have shown interest and may need some time, or information before the decision is made. You have some clearly defined next steps towards the sale. The final folder is ‘cold.’ These are those that did not show promise during the first contact. No, you do not throw them away, but rather put them in the ‘cold’ file. Who knows, something may change in six months.
Now that you have your prospects labeled you know who you have to spend your day with. The split I use is that I will spend 50% with my ‘warm’ file to move them to the ‘hot’ or sold file. Then 40% on my ‘hot’ file to get them to sold and 10% with the ‘cold’ file in making calls to see if anything had changed since the last time we spoke.
- Handling email hell. No one should have hundreds of emails in their in box. After reading an email you must be disciplined to either; do something about it right away, defer it to later or delete it. This keeps your inbox clean. I am also a realist and know that the chances of ever having zero emails may be an impossibility, but if you have more than 25, then it’s time to purge. Create folders if you must after asking: “Why am I holding on to this one?”
- Only have the files that you need on your computer open. The result is an uncluttered desktop. If you are working on a report why would you have social media, emails, CRM, etc. open. These are only distractions that stop you from doing what you are supposed to be doing. In other words, unproductive.
- Use a tested and proven time management tool. The best one that I know of and have used for over 30 years is the Eisenhower Box. I have taught this form of time management to some organizations which have made it mandatory in their workplace and the efficiency of their personnel has increased exponentially. I used it recently to complete a College course in six months rather than the five years they give you to complete it. The Eisenhower Box is just one of the many tools provided in The Action Suite. With this tool, you will run out of tasks before you run out of time.
To increase productivity; ‘work smarter not harder’.