Learning how to maximize your time is a process, not something you possess. Be gracious in your mistakes, while challenging the current way you operate.

 How To Run In Time….Not Against It

I wish you could have been there…….
We had just finished recognizing the top achievers in the New Jersey Office.
To no one’s surprise it was “that same guy” again who led the team in sales revenue for the month.
After frustratingly seeing this same pattern play out month after month, the sales rep who was always nipping at their heels asked me, “Mark, what does he do to always finish #1 in our office?”
“Let me ask you a question,” I began.  “What do you do when we have these 15 minute breaks?”
He thought for a moment and then answered, “I go and chat with the fellas.”
“Right.” Then I asked him, “And what do you see him doing during our breaks?”
His eyes danced left and right before he said, “He grabs his stack of cards and goes makes phone calls.”
“Exactly! But, it isn’t those 15 minutes by themselves that create the difference,” I responded.  “It is an individual’s mentality of their time that make the difference.”

Becoming a Master of Time

If you want to become an individual who maximizes every second versus one who spends time on an unlimited budget, there are four simple actions you’ll want to take.
To make it easy to remember, it is presented in an acronym of T.I.M.E. This way it will be easy for you to take with you as you begin to apply the principles in your everyday life.

T – Train Your Brain

 If there is one point that you take from this over any other it is this:  maximizing time must be a  mindset before it will ever become a habit. I can’t count how many people I have heard say, “I want to be better with my time!”
But, I can count just how many people have been able to do it. What is the ingredient between the two? MINDSET first, habit second. Most people try and create the habit of being more efficient with their time before they have convinced themselves as to why.

I – Implement A System

The best definition of the word “system” as it relates to sales is:  “organizational habits.” A system is the habits you have developed with how you organize your day and everything involved in it. You see, having a “system” forces you to do things consistently. When we do things consistently we develop a pattern of behavior, and that pattern increases our efficiency which makes us faster. In other words:
consistency = pattern = efficiency = accomplishing more in less time
The second reason why you want a strong “system” is to help guide your decision making. It’s crazy how many arrows we have flying at us in a day. How do you choose what to do? What do we give our attention to and what do we let go?
An effective “system” will help solve that problem because your “system” works as a filter and a holding tank. It aids in helping clarify what IS important and what can wait. What is truly urgent and what is not.
Third, a “system” will save yourself time, energy, and money! There’s a quote I see in many of the offices I visit which states, “Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”
It’s perplexing to me when I work with individuals who are stressed because of their own creations!

M – Make Rules To Live By

Through my experience of watching small differences of time utilization create drastic differences for sales pros, there are ten rules you can being implementing today to begin changing your results.  Here they are in no specific order with a brief explanation:
  1. Plan Your Day.

    Jim Rohn, a premier expert in the field of personal development said many people spend more time planning vacations than they do their lives! Our days are no different.  We take time to plan our vacations so they are enjoyable and we do what we want. Why are the days we work any different?

  2. Give Yourself Time to “Clean Up.”

    “I’ll do that first thing in the morning, then I’ll get out” you promise yourself. The next morning while you are completing your task an email comes through that catches your attention.  Before you know it, it’s 11:00 a.m. and your day is doomed. Advice: get home at a time that warrants you the opportunity to clean up your day.  Starting fresh the next morning is a great feeling!

  3. “What is my ROI?”

    Remember, there are a number of psychological factors that influence our behavior, so check your actions often.  Ask yourself, “Is this THE most productive action I can be accomplishing right now?”  If not, try and juggle your to-do’s, and tackle the more productive option.

  4. Adopt A Minimalist Mentality.

    A minimalist approach is effective WHEN it is appropriate.  A minimalist mentality is, doing the minimum work to meet the expectation.  Once the expectation is met, move on!  A huge time abuser is when we go unnecessarily overboard.  The key to working this mentality correctly is using your professional intuition.

  5. Take Your Pick: In or Out.

    Do your best to devote each day to being in or out.  Doing a bit of both is a time killer.  Barring a customer emergency, commit to one or the other.  Your production WILL rise!

  6. You’ll Do What You Focus On.

    Get rid of the term, “Office Day.”  When that is your focus that is what people spend their time on, office stuff!  The next time you are in for the day tell yourself that you have a “phone prospecting day.”  The saying, “You get what you focus on,” IS true.

  7. Eight is Great.

    Next time you are setting an appointment, be the initiator and ask to meet them at 8:00 a.m. or earlier if possible.  If you hesitate, they will likely throw out something later, and that’s fine as long as you try first!  There isn’t anything tastier than soft, warm pillow in the a.m., but your day will be much more productive when you are pushed out early!

  8. Chunk Your Time.

    Think of accomplishing your tasks like you are working an assembly line.  Do “likes with “likes.”  Minimize your screen and check your emails every hour.  Do all your price quotes, research, or calls in chunks.  Touching too many things at once just isn’t effective.

  9. Do the Most Important First.

    One way to effectively chunk your time is to block off time first thing in the morning to make prospect calls.  My morning usually had 8-10 a.m. booked for calls.  That way you KNOW it will get done.  If you put those calls off, we both know the chances of it getting done later.

  10. Windshield Time = Learning Time.

    How many hours do you think you spend behind the wheel every week?  Imagine how much you could learn on a topic if you CHOSE to invest that time in personal development.  You could become an expert in any field of study within a few years!  So, this past week, how has the material you’ve been listening to made you more money or a better person?

E – Expect Some Bumps

How you spend your time is a series of behavioral habits and priorities, so even the greatest of intentions won’t put you at your final destination.
Learning how to maximize your time is a process, not something you possess. Be gracious in your mistakes, while challenging the current way you operate.
Achieving this balance will allow for the necessary growing pains sure to accompany your journey, while simultaneously providing you with the self motivation and accountability necessary to complete your mission!

About the author

Mark Heerema

“Mark is nationally recognized for his work in debunking unchallenged, long held sales myths…

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