We all have strengths and weaknesses as sales professionals, managers, executives, and entrepreneurs. Our companies, because of the people who work at them, and the quality of the products or services offered also have strengths and weaknesses.
Everyone is looking for a competitive advantage. The greatest competitive advantage every person has is also the most precious resource we possess, time!
We all are ruled by the number 1440. That’s the number of minutes we all have each day. What you do with your allotment of 1440 minutes each day will dictate your success!
Over the years I have developed a simple yet very effective time management strategy that has enabled me to accomplish some things I am very proud of. It is my hope that by sharing my strategy with you, it will help you to do the same.
My Time Management System
“If I can change your mind, I can’t help but change what you do”
Time must be a precious commodity. Your mindset must be changed to view time in the proper light. Time must be protected, invested carefully, and never wasted. It is useful to work on being mindful of how you are using your time, stop periodically and ask yourself: Am I using my time wisely right now? If the answer is no then immediately take corrective action.
“No person ever reached great success without first seeing it in their mind”
All greatness is created in someone’s mind long before it ever becomes a reality. Henry Ford imagined a production line building the Model T prior to 1908 and it wasn’t until May 26, 1927, that he watched the 15th millionth Model T roll off the assembly line. Sam Walton worked for over 20 years with a chain of 15 Ben Franklin stores before opening his first Walmart in 1962. It wasn’t until 1976, 34 years into his career as a retailer, that Sam Walton started to become a global leader.
To achieve something truly great it is essential that you be very clear about why you are doing what you are doing. You have to have a clear vision of your goal in your mind and then go about pursuing that goal making your vision a reality. Failure to do this causes people to chase endlessly after their dreams and waste a lot of energy, time, and resources. People even become addicted to change but if you want to learn more about that please read an article I wrote called Addicted to Change in Business and Life.
“The ingredients for a successful business recipe are systems, efficiency, and organization”
No matter how mindful you are of your time and how clear your vision is for the task at hand if you fail to create systems that are efficient and well organized you will never reach the level of success that we are talking about.
Personally, I found that using the following items as part of an overall time management strategy has helped me to be very efficient:
- An online calendar that syncs to all of your devices and the devices of people that need to know your schedule including your colleagues at work and your family at home. I recommend Google Calendar and Calendly.
- A Customer Relationship Management tool, personally I recommend ZOHO. Make sure that your CRM syncs with your calendar.
- A cross-platform app designed for note taking, organizing, and archiving. Personally, I use Evernote because it is a really powerful tool to keep many notes, to-do list’s, and screen captures of things I read and see online that I need for future use.
- An Alpha Numeric system to measure the value of each task on your to-do list. This scale should be simple and easy to implement. Personally, I use Brian Tracy’s system from his book Eat That Frog (the third edition with two new chapters was just launched). The system is simple, A tasks get done first, B tasks second, and C tasks get done third. Within each category, you can then add a 1 to 10 scale to signify importance, 1 being of highest importance, 10 being of lowest importance. So the most important task would be classified as A1 and the least important task to be done last if at all would be C10.
“The wise person learns from others failures, the foolish person learns by themselves through a series of failures”
Successful people who get tremendous amounts of work accomplished have built discipline into their daily routine. They focus on one thing at a time until successfully concluding the task, they never handle paper or electronic messages more than once, they clean up their work spaces regularly including their offices and vehicles, and they take whatever steps necessary to limit anything that robs them of valuable time including people and electronic devices.
Learning from other successful people is the fastest way to becoming successful yourself. The great thing about it is that the more successful a person is usually the more willing they are to share their secrets. With social media giving us global access to 4 billion people on this planet it is possible to contact almost anyone of importance in your industry.
“Keep it simple, simple is hard enough” – Owen Clark
Finally, the most important time management tip I can give you is to keep it simple. My colleague Owen Clark says it best “keep it simple, simple is hard enough”. We all understand this message but it is often very difficult to put into practice.
If you have a big goal, a big job or project ahead of you don’t sit in an office somewhere writing endless to-do lists and plans. Write the objective at the top of a page and write down the absolutely most critical thing that has to get done at first before anything else happens. Write A1 beside this item in the margin and then get up and go do that one big thing. It really is that simple.
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