Are you always looking for more time? Do you find you do allot but never get to the most important items on your list? While most managers start the day with a schedule many managers let the events of the day hijack their schedule, which can wreak havoc on productivity and ability to manage sales growth. When we survey sales leaders, they indicate that ‘blocking’ their time is the most valuable way to ensure that they got through a day and achieve what they set out to do.
Time blocking is a method of structuring your schedule against your priorities and setting time for dealing with unplanned events that arise during the day. Disruptions to this schedule are resisted and you control when various types of work get done.
Everyone’s time blocking is different depending on their priorities. Here is how a sales manager’s schedule might look once it is blocked:
7 am – 8:30 am – Check emails, Review Metrics and/or Team Meetings
9 am -10 am – One on one meetings with reps
10 am – 11:30 am – Customer meetings and phone calls
11:30 am – 12 noon – Check email and return phone calls
1 pm – 2 pm – Open door/un-booked time
2 pm – 3 pm – Proactive Key Account Management and/or Relationship Calls
3 pm – 4:30 pm – Planning, review metrics
4:30 pm – 5 pm – Check email and return phone calls
5 pm – 8 pm – Set priorities for following day
The key to making this work is to stick to your schedule. Time blocking means you don’t react to all the day’s events. You don’t respond to all incoming emails and phone calls or run from one fire to the next, attending to matters that are important to other people but never getting a chance to work on your own priorities.
Let your own staff know your schedule and develop the discipline to not respond to interruptions. Most people who feel it is unrealistic to guard their schedule this way are pleasantly surprised to find it works when they try it. Others respect your schedule and will not try to barge in. If they do politely let them know you can be more effective if you manage your time this way.
By gaining control over your time, you will immediately experience some relief and a sense of calm. Plus you will get through more of what you want to get done.
Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.
He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.
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