These days, time is money. We’re all aware that we need to manage our time well to get the job done, increase our profit margins and keep our clients happy. But, most of us are easily distracted.

Proper time management is crucial for salespeople and business leaders but everyone – even those at the bottom of the ladder – needs to be clever with their time.

Many people complain about being ‘time poor’ but the truth is we have plenty of time, it’s more our effectiveness in managing this time that can leave us unhinged. It’s often reported that Australian workers are working an increasing amount of overtime, but I wonder if we were to all manage our time better would we be able to decrease the amount of overtime we have to perform?

Of course, there are meetings, administrative duties, social media, chats in the office over the water cooler, unexpected client requests… the list of disruptions is endless. There will always be disruptions but it’s how we handle these that will make us more productive.

I have worked with Barrett’s head of coaching, Robyn Creed, to devise Barrett’s top tips to manage time and stay productive:

  1. Have a plan for each day and think about what you would realistically like to achieve. Prioritise your list so you can focus on what’s important,
  2. Try noting down your time in a mini timesheet for yourself. This will give you a really good look at how often you’re interrupted and why, as well as show you how long you’re spending on each task. You can then monitor yourself for a week and you will start to see some interesting patterns emerge,
  3. Slow down, take a breath and clear all thoughts prior to every meeting, for two minutes. This will help you focus on the job at hand. A focussed person performs better. By performing better, you will be more time productive,
  4. Look at where you are spending your time. If you are a business development manager, your time should be spent developing new business leads, etc. If you find you’re spending your time printing out documents for client meetings, this is a time waster. While we all need to do some administrative duties, it’s important to coordinate the staff in your office to work together on tasks each person does well. There’s no point a person on $120,000 per year standing at the photocopier for an hour copying presentations for a client meeting,
  5. Ask for help when you need it. Loads of people don’t ask for the help they need for fear of being perceived as incompetent or causing offence to the person they are asking. Forget it. If you need a hand with something, ask and be prepared to accept the help. Perhaps return the favour when the time is right, and
  6. Learn to say ‘no’ and ‘not now’. So many struggle with this one! Learning to say ‘no’ or ‘not now’ is crucial to good time management. As long as you’re not rude about it, people will respect your assertiveness and commitment to finish what you’re doing and leave you alone until you’re ready.

 

Although simple, these steps are highly effective. Not only will you feel more in control of every day, you will save time to concentrate on the important work and be more productive – your results will speak for themselves.

 

Sue Barrett
BY Sue Barrett ON 21 February 2012
Sue Barrett is one of the leading female voices commenting on sales today. An experienced business speaker and adviser, facilitator, sales coach, training provider and entrepreneur and founder of Barrett Consulting, which provides sales assessments, sales consulting, sales coaching and sales training programs.

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  • jvin

    Thanks for sharing this tips with us Sue, it is very helpful to improve productivity. I personally do some productivity tips in your list and I would like to try other tips in your lists that might also help me improve more. Before I start to work I list my entire task then, I prioritize it depends on priority level. Then, I set an estimated amount of time when working on each task, which helps me limit wasted time and finish tasks on time. The key that I can follow scheduled tasks and finish it on time is with discipline. It helps me stay to focus and ignore work distractions that comes along my way. Take a look at this http://reorg.co/timedoctor-review-2012-04/ productivity review regarding a tool that I also used personally to track time accurately.