Guest post by Liz Schneider, Dollar Bank
In this extraordinarily busy year, many sales professionals have found themselves wishing for more hours in the day in order to complete their long to-do list. We have encouraged you to demand more from your clients and to take the initiative to update inefficient systems. While these strategies will save you valuable time in the long run, today we want to share five easy ways to improve your time management skills so that you can start saving time today so that you can obtain more clients, close more transactions, and dedicate more time to your family and personal life!
- Develop a strong morning routine
Studies have shown that the way you start your morning has an impact on the rest of your day. If you start your morning by hitting the snooze button, scrolling through social media, or trying to rush out the door, it is likely that you will continue to feel rushed and frazzled throughout the rest of the day!
In his book “The Miracle Morning,” international bestselling author Hal Elrod says “How you wake up each day and your morning routine (or lack thereof) dramatically affects your levels of success in every single area of your life. Focused, productive, successful mornings generate focused, productive successful days — which inevitably create a successful life — in the same way that unfocused, unproductive, and mediocre mornings generate unfocused, unproductive and mediocre days, and ultimately a mediocre quality of life. By simply changing the way you wake up in the morning, you can transform any area of your life, faster than you ever thought possible.”
Everyone’s ideal morning routine will look different, so experiment with what will work best for you. I would encourage you to try to find moments in your morning to express gratitude for the new day, eat a balanced meal, perform some physical activity, and schedule/strategize for the day ahead.
- Create an anti-to-do list
I want to really challenge you this week to create an “anti-to-do list”. Instead of a list of things you would like to do each day, write down all of the things you find yourself dreading doing and activities that eat up your time or drain your energy. Be as specific as possible!
By identifying the processes and activities that drain your energy and eat up your time, you will be better equipped to identify processes and systems that may need to be improved to become more efficient. If the issue is not the process, then you may want to consider passing these activities off onto a assistant or an appropriate team member if that option is available to you. By focusing your time and attention to the processes you enjoy, you will be able to maximize your time and maintain your energy and passion for your job.
- Schedule times in your day to check/respond to texts, emails, and phone calls
In our line of work, it is not uncommon to be inundated with phone calls, texts, and emails. Staying on top of them can be a challenge, and trying to get caught up at the end of the day can eat up a lot of time. To stay on top of your lines of communication, schedule three or four periods in each day that you dedicate exclusively to getting caught up on texts, emails, and calls. This will help you stay on top of your inbox without being overwhelmed.
To make sure that this strategy is as effective as possible, make sure to give your clients an expectation of when they can hear back from you at the start of working together. This will help set healthy boundaries between you and your client and will help keep them calm if you don’t immediately respond to their emails.
- Create a schedule and stick to it
I know that during this particularly busy season it can be much easier said than done to adhere to a strict schedule. But I have found that my days are most productive when I start by writing a list of everything that I must accomplish by the end of the day. By writing out a list of my “must do’s,” I am able to visualize all of my necessary tasks and assign time periods in which to complete them. Plus, being able to check things off of my list throughout the day gives me a sense of accomplishment that continues to motivate me to remain productive.
- Learn when to say no
As salespeople, it can be difficult to say no. While having more clients usually means making more money, it is important to keep in mind that your time is extremely valuable. If your prospect does not fit the profile of your revenue-producing clients, it may be in your best long-term interest to politely decline the business or direct them to a more appropriate sales representative.