Are you enjoying these? Every Monday I put this out – a little bit of inspiration, training, and application designed to do one thing: get you and your sales team to the next level!
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Ask yourself, have you ever sat around with too much time on your hands? Have you ever sat around and said, “Wow, man, I don’t know what I’m going to do with all this time on my hands.”
You know what’s interesting? We live in the most challenging period of time we’ve ever seen. Right now, in the midst of this pandemic and everything else going on, it seems as if we have more pressure on our time than anything else. Really, time is a finite resource. Think about that for a moment. What do I mean? Honestly, you can get anything more of anything you want, but you can’t get more time. There’s only 24 hours in a day.
So I live in Omaha, Nebraska and if you drive down this street over here about seven miles, you’ll get to Warren Buffett’s house. He is one of the wealthiest men in the world. He’s seriously worth billions, and yet he and I have the same amount of time every day – 24 hours. Time is a finite resource, so you have to figure out how to leverage it. How do you make the most of your time?
I really don’t ever really sit around and say, “Man, I have all this time on my hands. I don’t know what I’m going to do.” You see, time controls us unless we control it. Ask yourself when was the last time you had a chance to breathe. And I mean just plain breathe. Again, we get challenged so frequently by so many different things that pound on us and take our time.
You know Mark Cuban from Shark Tank? He’s also the owner of the Dallas Mavericks. He has this wonderful line: “Never attend a meeting unless you’re getting a check.” Whoa, that’s a great sales idea, isn’t it? That’s not just a sales idea. It’s an idea for anything and everything. You see, what’s the benefit? I want to challenge your thinking. The most successful people in the world control time. Everyone else allows time to control them. Where are you? Is time controlling you, or are you controlling time?
With that, let’s shift over to the training. Yes, it’s all about time. How much of your calendar do you control?
Today, I want to share with you a very simple concept called time blocking. What is time blocking? If you look at our calendar, you’ll probably see that you have meetings and different things listed. Do you have activities on there? I want to challenge you to start blocking your time into segments. For example, block 30 minutes for this activity, an hour for this activity, 15 minutes for this activity.
Blocking time does two things. First of all, it keeps you on task. It keeps you focused. If you have a meeting, it’s amazing how you show up for that meeting, right? So you tell yourself that you’re going to follow your calendar. You may set aside 30 minutes to take care of this report, 45 minutes on Friday afternoon to kind of clean up this, and you might spend time here preparing for this customer visit. These are all various tasks that you block time for.
Second, blocking time makes you focus on getting the task done in the allocated time. If not, what happens is what I like to call Project Creep, Time Sink. Project Creep is where the project just kind of keeps growing and growing. You say, “Well, I got to get this done this afternoon,” but before you know it, you’ve taken up the whole afternoon to get it done. You see, Project Creep, Time Sink and you’ve lost all your time. Instead, I want you to set aside one hour. Have you ever noticed how the last five minutes of any meeting are the most productive? Or the last couple minutes of a sales call? Remember back in the days before laptops and cell phones and everything, they always said the most productive day of the work year was the day before vacation. Why? Because you needed to get a whole bunch of stuff done before you left on vacation. This whole concept is about how you set up “x” in “x” amount of time.
Here’s what makes time blocking work when do you it in advance. I talk about this very simple principle in my book, A Mind for Sales. All you do is set up your calendar exactly how you’re going to spend your time before the end of the day. And I mean all of the time. You can even block time in there to do nothing, because hey, it’s going to be just Email or maybe just catching up on things. Whatever it might be, but you allocate time. The reason you assign all of your time is because it gets your head thinking. As you allocate time, think about not just the time you’re allocating, but about the outcome you want to create. This is absolutely important. It is a twofold process. You’re scheduling time for the activity, but you’re also determining the outcome you want to achieve. At the end of that 30 minutes or one hour, you want to ask yourself, “Did I achieve that outcome?” You score yourself. Evaluate yourself.
This is what top performers do, like Mark Cubans and Richard Branson’s. In other words, they look at the outcome they want. That way it isn’t so much of scheduling an activity, it’s committing to an outcome. Think about that. You’re not just scheduling an activity. More importantly, you’re committing to an outcome.
Now you’re going to go through your day evaluating and asking yourself, “Did I achieve that outcome? Did I achieve it?” Then, at the end of the day, you can look back and ask, “What were the outcomes I created?” If you can’t substantiate, in your own mind, the outcomes you created at the end of the day, you should question if your day was productive. I contend that all of us have the capability to increase our productivity, our output, our outcomes, by at least 50, to 75, to a 100% easy, by just better allocation of our time.
In a perfect world, I really encourage you to start doing this a week before, on Sundays or sometime over the weekend. I also go into this in more detail in A Mind of Sales. Begin looking at your calendar and assigning blocks of time. Each day then, you tighten up the following days. In other words, you review the week the weekend before, and you review each day the day before. This allows you to stay in sync. It keeps you on track.
Now, let’s move over to the application. You can imagine that the application is a lot of what I’ve already talked about, but here’s what I want you to do before you jump into this. I bring this up, because I get a lot of pushback. People say, “Mark, I don’t have time. I’m already productive.” Here’s what I am asking you to do.
Go into your browser history and see all of the websites that you looked at over the last week that really have no value to your work. Yeah, crazy! Now, I’m not saying every moment of every day has to be absolutely productive. Believe me, I look at espn.com and various news sites. Yes I do, but they don’t consume me. I might look at them for a minute, but then I get back on task.
That said, here’s your activity, and you may need to do this for two weeks or maybe just a week. Start keeping a record of the amount of time. Do this on your clock, watch, iPhone, whatever. But I want you to keep a log. I understand that this is going to be a little bit time consuming. Yes, it will take some time. But I want you to record how you use your time, every day for a good week or two. You know what you’re going to find? Large blocks of time!
I first did this exercise about 25 years ago after I kept telling my boss, “I am very productive.” When he tasked me with doing this, I suddenly realized and learned that I was really only working four hours a day, max! When I went through this exercise and really dug down, it was only about four hours. I would hope that I’m better now. I hope that I’m up to maybe seven or eight hours, and I admit that I work probably 12-hour days.
Challenge yourself with going through this exercise and finding the gaps. What are the things that are filling your time that don’t need to be? Even without taking things off your place, you will find more time that you can allocate. That’s right. People say, “Well, stop doing that. Stop,” or “How do I tell my boss I don’t have to do this report? I can’t. No.” I’m saying that you’ll still have time to get all that done. Plus, you’ll have more time to prospect, sell, and everything, by simply allocating your time better. Do that for a week or two, and you’ll suddenly begin to realize that you’ve got an extra half an hour, 45 minutes to an hour per day, easy. A half hour a day may not seem like much, but that’s two and half hours a week. Over a month, that’s 10 – 12 hours. Basically, over the course of a year, you’ll wind up with almost three additional weeks of time.
Now, think about how many times over the history of your sales career you fell short cause you just needed one more week. In three of the four quarters, you’d be able to add a 14th week. Would that make you more successful? It sure would!
The big application here is to go through and examine your time. Come back to the training point that I talked about in terms of allocating / blocking time on your calendar. That, in turn, reminds you of the inspiration piece that you control your time instead of time controlling you.
Make sure you get you and your team signed up for the Weekly Sales Kickoff! Go out to the link today, because we’re going behind a paywall. Soon, you’re not going to be able to get it. Every single week, you’ll want this to kick off your sales whether your week or sales meeting.
Copyright 2020, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of A Mind for Sales and High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.