I recently searched an online, well-known book seller to determine the number of books published on time management and was astounded by its magnitude! There are 49,642 written on the subject of managing time, an overdone, perhaps, title for an author to use to capture an audience.
This leads me to conclude that the way to get rich is to write a book on time management, since everyone believes they must better manage time, yet no one has found and applied the definitive way to do so!
In reality, you can't manage time since the clock relentlessly moves forward regardless of any attempts to control it. You can however, decide the best way to effectively use time by identifying the behaviors you commit to accomplishing within any given time frame.
I started researching this article on January 5, 2017 when I interviewed 10 salespeople on their view of time and the role it would play to assure 2017 a "sales success." Eight of them were very cavalier about the upcoming year and the time focus necessary to achieve their goals by year-end. Because they are very talented, their plans were loose with quarterly check-ins, they were convinced they would succeed.
The remaining two were totally committed to making every selling minute count and not wasting a precious second. They had goals, a wedding and a new house, and were 100 percent dedicated to achieving them. They viewed time as a key component of their plan and set up their days in behavioral time blocks.
Fast forward to last week when I reinterviewed the same 10 salespeople on how their year had played out. The results were somewhat predictable with some exceptions: As you would guess, the two who made every minute count exceeded their goals and were experiencing a balanced, well-paced year. Of the remaining eight, three were sweating out their year-end, wishing they had one more month to achieve their goal and the remainder needed a miracle to make theirs. On a side note, the bottom five had marvelous excuses on why their year was abysmal and went into great detail as to why it wasn't their fault, they just ran out of time!
Here are some tips to avoid the time trap in 2018:
1. When you set your 2018 goals, evaluate your commitment to achieve them. Most salespeople say they're committed, however, high achievers proclaim and demonstrate they are unconditionally so!
2. Determine the top 10 behaviors necessary to achieve your goals and then assess your ability within each of them. This allows you to improve your success rate with behavior modification.
3. Map out the first quarter with time blocks before it begins. You can always move the blocks around to accommodate sales calls, etc. If you wait for the quarter to begin, seemingly important work will consume precious hours.
4. Determine "pay-time" and "no pay-time" activities. "Pay-time" activities are the ones that deliver revenue while "no pay-time" activities are simply busy work. On a side note, the average salesperson wastes 40 percent of their time on "no pay-time" activities or busy work.
5. Focus on behavior, not results and modify your behavior if you are falling short of the desired results. Utilize "more, better, different" thinking to support your unconditional commitment to success. This will enable you to focus on delivering more of a given behavior, better execution of it or a totally different one to achieve the goal when a shortfall is possible.
6. Beware of time vampires and stop allowing them to consume your time. Learn to say NO.
Time is worth more than money as you can always make money, but never recapture lost time. When you're trying to manage time, develop behavior-based goals and unconditionally commit to achieving them. If these two elements are ironclad and then the only variable is whether time is an asset or liability. Go conquer your worlds.
• Bill Bartlett owns Corporate Strategies, A Sandler Training Center. firstname.lastname@example.org. Text "SalesTip" to 71813 to receive Bill's biweekly newsletter.