We hear much about Time Management, but can we really manage time? Every one of us has the same 1,440 minutes each day. Why, then, do some people do more with their time than others?
The answer is that those people manage themselves and not time: They manage themselves within the time they have available.
The basic tool for self-management is a diary. It doesn’t matter whether you use a hard copy diary or an electronic calendar, what matters is how you use it.
I have lost count of the number of salespeople who cannot estimate how long it takes to do a job. I remember one salesperson who scheduled four listing appointments, each one hour apart. When I told him that it takes twenty minutes just to say hello, to have a guided tour and to settle in, he was incredulous. And then I asked him about travel time between appointments, and the possibility of traffic.
The fact is, the only appointment where he had any chance of doing a good job, and of getting the listing, was the last appointment, and even that depended on whether or not the sellers had scheduled another engagement.
Self-management begins with thought, tempered with a dose of reality. Think about how long it takes to complete each task or appointment. Be realistic. Then, at the start of each year, enter into your diary important recurring events:
- Goal setting and planning time toward the end of each year
- Sales meetings for the year
- Planning meetings for the year
- Training meetings for the year
- Days off – very important that you recharge your batteries
- Special family events – birthdays, anniversaries. It’s a good idea to schedule in time to buy a present two weeks before each of these events
- Special business events – seminars and conventions you will be attending
- A block of time for a longer holiday
- Blocks of time several times each week for exercise
- Blocks of time for prospecting and client follow-up
There can be no excuse for double-booking yourself!
When all important events are in the diary, schedule appointments around them.
By allocating time for every event that is important to you personally and professionally, you will always be where you need to be. Everything else fits around that.
A salesperson said to one of our leaders that she wanted more free time – she wanted to negotiate new working hours with her leader. I said to the leader that this is already in the salesperson’s power. She decided what did or did not go into her diary. She decided which appointments she would set.
Her problem was not with the hours she worked, but how she managed herself within the hours available to her. Self-management was all that was required, not a negotiation with the boss.
What will you allow to occupy your time? Choose wisely.