Do you ever feel like you’re spinning in circles? Does your ever growing “to do” list seem to be preventing you from actually being productive? Do you feel like you’re sinking under the sheer weight of it all? You aren’t unlike most Americans if that’s the case. We are all busy and it seems to become more so all the time. You’re normal. Life is hectic.
The good news is that commanding your time and increasing your productivity are skills that can be learned. They are not something we are innately born with. Like any other skill, time management, goal setting, and productive daily habits get more refined with regular practice and intention.
Time is the great equalizer. It is the one thing that every person in the world has the same amount of every day. The most productive person in the world has the same amount of time as the least productive person. They simply use their time differently. They have different habits.
You can learn to employ a few of these simple habits that don’t take much time. Just a few deliberate and intentional steps will increase your productivity (and subsequently help you to double your sales)!
Here are a few things to get you started. (For more tips, check out my book Selling With Intention).
- Focus on the 20%. Are you aware of the 20/80 rule? It states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your work and it applies to all industries and professions. It’s especially true in sales. What does that mean? It means that, in your career, 20% of your work efforts are contributing to 80% of your income. Think about that, and focus your energy where it’s counting the most. Put your effort into the 20% of your work that is generating the 80% of your income. The other 80% of the work you’re doing is only giving you 20% of your profits. The energy you are giving those things causes you to simply spin your wheels. It is ultimately a lot of wasted, unproductive time.
- Have a list. Make an actual list. Write it out and keep it near you so you can stay focused on your important tasks. This alone increases your productivity by 25% and it doesn’t take more than a few minutes. Have a system that works for you and stick with it. You can keep an electronic list on your phone, use sticky notes, buy a planner, or use a dry erase calendar. Whatever you do, write down your to do list. Do this every day at the start of your day.
- Delegate. Focus on the tasks that relate directly to your sales and learn how to delegate the rest. For many this comes naturally, but if it doesn’t, practice makes it easier. Prioritize your most important tasks (the 20%) and whatever doesn’t fit in the schedule, delegate out wherever you can.
- Hire sales support. There are many ways you can find support for your sales business. You can hire a part time assistant or take on an intern looking to break into the industry you work in. A good bookkeeper is worth their weight in gold. Hire a ghostwriter to help you with your blog and website, and hire a social media manager to keep your online presence alive. Take an inventory of your needs and hire professionals that can do the things you can’t seem to get to.
- Create an intentional schedule. Follow it. In the beginning it’s going to be difficult to follow if you aren’t used to it. Start your day by coordinating your written to do list with times as closely as you can. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but having a timeline will help with your focus. Command your time and protect it – don’t let it slip away from you.
- Be careful of how much time you spend on social media. Social media is a blessing and a curse. In many ways we enjoy being able to quickly connect with others – including our clients and target market. It is a terrible distraction though, and before you know it, you’ve logged on and completely wasted several precious hours that you could have been incredibly productive. If social media is a distraction for you, but you must have it for your business (as you should), hire a social media manager or support person. They will take that distractible time and make it easier for you to focus on those 20% tasks.
- Take regular breaks. Be deliberate about it. Your body and mind both need to rest in order to function at their peak. You simply cannot work non stop, nor should you. That is not the point. The point is to be able to work enough so you can live your life, not work yourself to poor health. Furthermore, the more rest time you give your conscious mind, the more time your subconscious has to go to work for you.
- Focus. Have a big picture goal. Think about what would happen if you doubled your sales – or tripled them! Use it as a motivational guide for your plans and actions. With that in mind, be intentional and present with the task at hand. Remove all distractions that may make you break your focus. For example, turn off notifications on your phone that aren’t goal-related to help you focus.
Simple, right? Plan your work and work your plan. Productivity is simply a choice that requires a few intentional steps for follow through.