Time Management Tips

Using the right time management tips can dramatically improve your self-management.

Acquiring these self-management tips is an important skill that unfortunately, most people seldom master. It's important to your well-being and your selling success that you learn and practice some productive time management tips.

If you always feel stressed throughout the selling day or if you constantly have to work extra hours to meet customer and sales management deadlines, then you need to improve your time management skills.

Here are some time tips to help you:

Keep a log of everything you do at work for an entire week. Yikes - I know this sounds painful- but it's necessary. This might sound silly and you might be thinking, what a time waster, however it's important to see where your time-trouble areas are.

Your log should begin when you insert your key into your car to leave for your first sales call to the time you remove your key from your car when you return home from you last sales call. Break down your log into 30 minute increments.

At the end of the week you'll be able to identify where you are wasting your precious time.

Cell phone calls are a big distraction throughout the day and can prevent you from getting your work done.

When someone calls and/or visits and asks you, "Got a minute?" Tell them "No" if you don't have the time to spare right now.

This may sound funny, but have a timer on your home office desk. Use your timer to keep track of the time you're spending on telephone calls and individual projects.

If you're fortunate enough to have an office at your company's location remove your office side chairs. If visitors have to stand, it will prevent visitors from staying too long. If that is not possible, then pile stacks of books on the chairs to make them unusable. Remember you not trying to be rude, be trying to make the best use of a limited resource - called your time.

Another way to cut short visits is to meet the person in their office or cubicle. If someone asks for a minute of your time, check your sales planner and tell them you are free at 2:00 and will stop by their office. This makes it easier for you to leave when you want to.

Make it a priority that every meeting you attend should have an agenda that is sent out in advance of the meeting. If you don't get one - ask for it. Obviously you have to be judicious about your demands when they involve your senior management.

This way everyone knows what's on the agenda and it minimizes the meeting detours that wreck even the best planned meeting. Written agendas have a way of keeping everyone focused and more productive.

Clear your desk at the end of each day so that when you return in the morning everything is clean and in order. A clean desk is a good way to start the day. Likewise a messy desk, overrun with paper, file folders, and everything else under the sun will definitely affect your productivity and creativity.

Add this next one to your bucket of time management tips.

Make sure you understand the parameters of any project that you are assigned. You may not have a sales manager who sets clear goals and objectives, but you still need to understand what must be accomplished.

Nothing is worse than working on a project only to be told later that it wasn’t what your sales manager wanted or expected to receive. Ask your sales manager to define what's expected.

Learn how to say "No." This is one of the most important time management tips you can learn. Please don't ignore it.

Prepare a written to-do list at the end of each day so you can begin the next day fully focused and ready to go.

Handle each piece of paper once. When you get an e-mail/letter, open it and take action. Don’t set it aside for another day. Why? Because if you set it aside for another day, you'll need to re-read the e-mail/letter, and increasing the amount to time you have spent on a task.

Break down daunting projects into smaller bite-size projects. Define the project. Set reasonable deadlines, and stick to them.

Use the time that you spend in your car effectively. Limit your cell phone time when you're driving, because of the inherent danger involved, because so many distracted people are talking while driving.

Allocate 20 minutes everyday to turn your car into a classroom and listen to inspirational and educational CDs. This is one of the most neglected of all time management tips.

Use driving time for thinking time. Not for writing time. Have a digital recorder so you can record your ideas and creative thoughts.

Add the www.Google.com/desktop search engine to your computer. This search engine works on your computer's desktop just as it works when you're doing a Google search on the internet. You'll save a lot of time trying to find missing files. This is an incredible time saver for you. Be sure you add this to your list of time management tips.

Use a day planner to track all of your appointments. Use the same planner for business and personal life to make things easier for yourself. Two of my favorite software choices are The Palm Pilot and of course Outlook.

Make your calendar the centerpiece of your personal and professional life. In the long run you'll be glad you did.

If there are tasks such as a weekly or monthly reports that must be done on a regular basis, set up Outlook to schedule these tasks for you. The best part of scheduling is that you can send reminders as often as you’d like to make sure the task gets done on time.

You can also set your calendar to note recurring birthdays and anniversaries.

Checking email constantly throughout the day is a big waste of time and a great way to get side-tracked, Check your email at regularly scheduled intervals such as 7 am, noon and 5 pm. Then set your e-mail to preview so that when an email comes in, you can quickly skim the first sentence to see whether it's something you need to act on immediately or if it can wait until later.

When you incorporate these time management tips into your selling day you'll be amazed at how much extra time you have.

Everyday has 86,400 seconds. Your time might just be your most precious resource - handle it with care.

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