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Time Management Improvement Tips

February 23, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

The most valuable resource we have is time, and sales people, more than anyone, know how challenging it can be to cram everything that needs to be done into their available time.

According to Stephen Covey, author of “First Things First” we should focus on our high priority tasks, those that provide the biggest levers towards achieving our goals. That is why being clear on what you want to accomplish in every facet of your life, will determine the importance and therefore the priority of everything you need to do.

Essentially, we spend our time on tasks that are categorized into one of four areas:

1. Urgent and Important These activities will include crises, pressing problems, deadline-driven projects, meetings and preparation for all of these things. Whilst we do have to spend time on these tasks, it is vital to appreciate that many of them become urgent because of a lack of planning.

2. Important and Non-Urgent These activities include preparation, prevention measures, planning, relationship building and creating. In fact, all these types of tasks can be summarized as activities that are directly linked to the accomplishment of our long-range goals.

3. Urgent and Not Important These activities will include interruptions, some phone calls, some emails and reports and those types of tasks that we may enjoy doing – popular activities. The term ‘urgent’ can create the perception that these types of tasks are important.

4. Non-Urgent and Not Important These activities will include trivia, some phone calls, junk mail, time wasters, watching mindless television shows and anything that we do to escape doing those tasks that we need to do. If we are battered by spending too much time on urgent activities, we may seek solace through doing these types of activities. We can summarize these tasks as those that waste our time.

When working on urgent tasks, two things are likely to occur. First, the feelings of urgency creates an adrenalin rush that can fill us with a sense of excitement. Once the urgency has been withdrawn from our situation, we can feel down and depressed. This develops into an addiction to urgency –- we crave the highs and do whatever we can to avoid the lows.

Second, urgent tasks can create a “choking effect” when we feel so overwhelmed that it impairs our ability to think clearly. Neither reactions are helpful if we want to remain in a peak state over a long period.

Many people who experience “burn-out” have spent too much of their time working on urgent things, this creates an imbalance and they simply become exhausted. They simply cannot see ‘the wood from the trees’ and negative thoughts begin to dominate the positive ones.

Many sales people become stuck at a certain level of success because they have allowed themselves to become buried under countless details, demands and activities that drain their energy.

When people have more balance and more free time to devote to important tasks they are rejuvenated and better equipped to increase their productivity. This is why spending a larger proportion of our time on activities that are important yet not necessarily urgent gives us a greater sense of control over our lives.

Planning your time accordingly will save you time and ensure that you remain focussed on those tasks and activities that take you closer to your goals. Also by scheduling your tasks, you are more likely to complete them.

Categories: General
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