Working in sales & marketing is entirely different than working a typical salaried position. For the most part, salespeople are free to spend their time as they see fit. Many of them set their own schedules and work as many hours as they need. Working in business can be both profitable and flexible, which is one of the main attractions of it. Because of this, time management is crucial. If you work a commission based role, you have to be great at managing your time, because your time spent has a direct correlation to your income.
While time management is a necessary skill to have if you want to succeed in sales, it’s not always as easy as it sounds. Consider using some of these tools to help you manage your time effectively.
Measure your time in terms of opportunity cost
One of the best tools to use for time management is to basically figure out what your time exactly is worth. This will allow you to see everything in terms of opportunity cost.
For example, let’s say that last year, you made exactly $100,000. Using the basic 40 hour work week as the dividing metric here, we can calculate that one hour of your time was worth about $48.08, with one minute of your time being worth $.80!
It doesn’t sound like much, but think back to last year. Think about all the times you were not actually doing anything constructive, such as chatting with your coworkers or relaxing. If you are honest with yourself, you will probably see a few occasions of that happening. Add up all the time during the year and you might be surprised at how many hours were spent not calling on people.
In the commission based world, time is money. Let’s say that you estimate that you spend 1 hour/week (that’s extremely conservative) not calling on people because of being distracted. That translates to a loss in income of $2,500! If you spent 1 hour/day not calling on people, that’s translates to a loss in income by $12,495!
On the flip side, the same principle applies to working 1 additional hour/day. Based off of this, you will see your income rise by nearly $12k just by working one extra hour! Thinking of your time in terms of money can be a powerful tool for those who are motivated by money.
Commit to a “to-do” list of goals
We all know the importance of goal-setting. If you create goals for yourself, it’s much more likely that you will achieve those goals. Committing yourself to a daily list of goals that you must hit is a great way to ensure that your goals get met and that you get everything done.
Our day to day lives are often so busy with emails and appointments that the sheer bulk of it all is enough to stress us out. That’s why it is imperative to create a list of items that have to be done. When you can visualize your end goal, it’s much easier to to develop a plan of action to get those done. This is effective for time management because it reduces inefficient activities that don’t contribute to you finishing your “to-do” list.
Also, having a “to-do” list of your goals is a neat little psychological trick because it allows your mind to see what has to be done. Some days, you feel like your brain is running a mile per minute. Finishing your entire “to-do” list is a mental finishing line. You’ll work harder and more efficiently to reach that finish line.
Plan your day ahead of time
One of the most inefficient things to do is get in to work, grab some coffee, and spend the first hour mapping out your daily activities. Ideally, this should be done before you get to work. Before you leave work (after you hit your goals for the day), spend a few minutes clearing out your email, organizing your desk, and start to draft the daily goals and activities for the next day.
If you use this method, you’ll get to work the next morning with your desk clean and a clear understanding of what your goals are. You can start the day faster and make better use of those morning hours.
It’s OK to say no
“No” is a word that people who work in sales, marketing, and business absolutely hate. However, when you are fighting the clock and trying to hit your goals efficiently, taking on extra responsibilities might not be the best idea. Try to focus on your current responsibilities and try to maximize the activities that will lead to you hitting your goals, not ones that are considered extra work outside of your scope.
Minimize self-induced distractions
Anything that is not constructive to your job and any activity that is not contributing to your success is considered a distraction. It’s entirely OK to check Facebook for a minute or so, but don’t spend an hour on Facebook, then 30 minutes on Reddit, followed by an hour playing SimCity BuildIt. Do your best to remove any social media and gaming distractions that are sucking up large amounts of time.
Prioritize your activities
Not all goals are created equal. Some are more pressing than others. Some are more important and more influential to your success. There are a couple things to remember when prioritizing your day:
- Identify the urgent tasks first – these are usually the ones that you were unable to get done yesterday and are time constrained. Responding to a customer or finishing up paperwork from the day before should be done first before you start a new day.
- Identify the importance of each activity – make sure that the tasks that you are going to do are important to you reaching your goal. It’s imperative to know the difference between activities that contribute to your success vs those that effectively waste time.
- Know your cut-off point – it’s nearly impossible to get everything done in one day, even with a “to-do” list. When prioritizing your tasks, make sure you know what tasks have to get done today vs those that can wait until first thing tomorrow. Of course, those that get pushed back need to get done first thing in the morning.
Time management is a crucial component of success in sales & marketing. If you find yourself constantly running out of time during the day, consider taking the time to commit to one or more of the above activities. Proper time management is the key to making more money, working more efficiently, and being less stressed out.
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