When I ask salespeople and business owners if I can help them with anything, one of the most common answers is time management. People are frazzled. Challenging markets, increased competition, rising expectations and always on technology have created a perfect storm of never-ending tasks that beg to be done.
When you look at those who succeed and compare them with those that don’t or those that achieve merely adequate results, one of the differentiating factors is how people use their time.
So here, in a quick read (because I know you are short of time) are 11 time management hacks and productivity tips that will help you to achieve more… right away.
- Decide what is important to you. Many people struggle to allocate their time because they have not worked out what is actually important to them. One of the first things that I do when I work with CEOs and directors is help them to redefine what is important to them and what they want to achieve. Some are really clear on this already and the fine distinctions that we make help them to refocus and remotivate. Others, not so much so. Either way, it’s a powerful exercise.
- Set goals. It is impossible to stay on track and manage your time if you do not have goals. How do you know whether you are walking in the right directions without a planned destination? Setting clear and well-defined goals is critical if you want to better manage your time.
- Define activities that will help you to achieve your goals. Ask yourself, “What activities will help me to achieve my goals?” If you want to get on the express train to time management nirvana you need to know exactly how you ought to be spending your time. Make a list of the core activities that you should be investing your time and effort on.
- Work out how you actually spend your time.For many this is a scary exercise when they realise that the way they spend their time is not the way that they should be spending their time. Many find that they are spending their time on less than useful tasks. Tasks that have created their current reality not the future reality that they want.
- Schedule tasks into your diary. If it’s worth doing, it is worth scheduling. I have 3 core sales / business related tasks that I have to do daily. If I do not do them, I am not on track. If I do them, everything else is a bonus. The problem is that if I do not schedule them they often do not happen. So they get scheduled and I make them happen.
- Do the good stuff first. Do the good stuff first, Get your scheduled tasks in early. Not only does this make you feel good and like you have achieved something but you will find yourself more productive for the rest of the day. You want to focus on making your core activities habit so that you just do them because that’s what you do. You don’t want to be wrestling with your willpower every day just so that you can do the good stuff.
- Measure and monitor your progress and make yourself accountable. At the end of every day, take a few minutes to assess how you have done against your plan. Give yourself a pat on the back if you deserve it. Reset, recalibrate and remotivate for tomorrow if you have not.
- Say, “No.” One of the biggest time sucks comes to you courtesy of others. You need to learn how to protect your valuable time. Do this by scheduling time when you cannot be disturbed and by learning to say, “No” when it is right for you to do so.
- Schedule email and social media usage. Email and social media are fabulous but if you just turn on your smart phone with the standard settings and load up your email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc it will become like an annoying little bird at daybreak when you are trying to sleep. Technology is great but you need to control it and not the other way around. Set times for logging on to email and social media and make yourself stick to them. It will wait and maybe you won’t look quite so much like some lovesick teenager sitting waiting for the phone to ring.
- Ask, “Is this worth my time?” You are going to get disturbed so get in the habit of asking yourself if any distraction is worth your time. It’s quite simple, just ask yourself and then either do it, delete it, delegate it or schedule it for later. #simples.
- Don’t get too rule oriented. You might think from all of this that I am a time-scheduling freak but actually I am the opposite. This takes me only a few minutes per day. You need to find your own way of applying these rules, quickly and painlessly to help you become more effective and get better results.
So, what are you waiting for? Turn off your email and start to work out how you should be spending your time and what activities will drive you in the direction of your dreams.
This article was originally published on gaviningham.com