Friday, 21 July
Today's Topic
Time Management

Skill

Devoting a small block of time in your late morning and late afternoon to work on low-priority tasks can create a new level of efficiency in your workday.

The time you spend during an average, hectic sales day can be categorized into two buckets: proactive or reactive. (Some would argue it’s simpler than that: there’s sh_t you have to do versus sh_t you want to do.)

Either way, you’re constantly balancing the proactive v. reactive thing. Here’s an example: putting a 30-minute "Prospecting for Fall Vacation" block on your calendar (and doing it) is being proactive.

What about letting an email grab your attention during minute one of your sacred prospecting time, and having it destroy your session….? Mmmmm, that’s right: reactive.

Sit back and listen to this story about Sean the Time Master. Sean was a charter member of the TOP 10% because, as she tells it, she figured out how to master time.

Sean was so smart about time management, she actually scheduled a 30-minute block on her calendar each morning and afternoon for what she called "Stuff That I Don’t Like Doing, But Must Do and Would Rather Deal with It All at Once."

That long-winded title is what Sean called it and the title she used in her calendar to denote the block. (Interestingly, given the space limitations of her calendar, the title appeared as "Stuff That I Do…" …but let’s not lose focus.)

To stay focused and compartmentalize, Sean kept a white piece of paper on her desk; she changed it daily so it was fresh and clean at the start. (Do you want to take a stab at what she wrote as the title across the top of the blank 8.5 by 11 sheet? NO….that would be stupid to write, "Stuff That I Don’t Like Doing, But Must Do and Would Rather Deal with It All at Once." She merely labeled it, STIDLDBMDaWRDwIAaO. Much more logical.)

As she progressed through the morning and came across items that found her either through text, Slack, email, Zoom, or smoke signals, Sean would determine IMMEDIATELY if it was a task that needed her attention now, or at 11.30, the first calendar block on her schedule for such matters.

Well, you can imagine how efficient this made Sean when it came to being proactive versus reactive, and you can imagine…..OOOPS, time’s up. The clock has expired on the time allotted for this story. You know how the story ends; good luck.

Do

Listing low-priority tasks on a piece of paper next to your laptop can clear a lot of time for you throughout the day. The simple act organizes your work and your brain.

Today, put two 20-minute blocks on your calendar for 11.30 am and 5 pm titled "Reactive Tasks." Seriously. Send the calendar invites to yourself featuring that title.

Your inbox is the biggest offender stealing proactive time from you, so you need to get it working for you and not the other way around. The way to do that is to mark unimportant incoming emails with a timer for 1130 or 5.

When that calendar invite bell rings, you’ll rip through all those lower-priority emails in one consolidated block of time.

Remember, there is no trophy for being the best at returning low-priority emails quickly.

In addition to the email assignment, it’s obvious what you should DO next. Do what Sean Time Master does.

Take out a piece of paper (…yes, a piece of paper). There must be one writing instrument somewhere inside your domicile…take a moment and unbury it. Okay, good, you found one; across the top of the paper, write "CAN Wait."

As your morning progresses, start filling up that paper with short descriptions of tasks that "CAN Wait" This is the list of all the tasks that prevent you from being proactive and working on meaningful issues.

You will be surprised by a few things if you truly follow these steps. First, you’ll notice how much time you’ll save by NOT doing certain work; that is, you won’t waste time reacting to unimportant tasks. The simple placement of the "CAN Wait" paper on your desk will help you become choosy about what you do. Second, you’ll see that this little protocol of itemizing small tasks on a piece of paper focuses you and reduces interruptions. Who knows, maybe some of those unimportant tasks will actually disappear.

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“You get to decide where your time goes. You can either spend it moving forward, or you can spend it putting out fires. You decide. And if you don’t decide, others will decide for you.” – Tony Morgan

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