The greatest adversity sales people face is of their own making. To better understand our topic, let’s define adversity? According to Webster, it is a state, condition, or instance of serious or continued difficulty or adverse fortune. I don’t want us to focus on life-threatening adversities but rather daily life-altering adversities. Every day we allow things and/or people to interfere with our completing certain tasks in a specified time frame. All be it a very innocent interruption, it still happened and that time is gone forever. As a trainer and productivity coach, I battle with time management and communication skills on a daily basis. I am constantly asked for help on these two issues. These two areas are probably the most important segments of a career in sales. I would almost say that time management is the main factor that causes sales people to be less successful than they are capable of becoming. Time is the most important part of our lives and we treat it with the least amount of respect.
People are created as individuals of choice. We choose what we want to do and what we don’t want to do, in almost everything. My students vigorously disagree with me about having a choice about everything they do. Their argument is they have to earn a living therefore they went to work rather than staying at home which is what they’d really like to do. Well, I totally understand their point of view but why do we work to begin with? Is anyone holding a gun to our head, making us go to work? I think not.
I work because I chose to get married and have a family. Not only do I have the responsibility to provide for my family, but because I love them, I want to provide them the necessities of life and give them things that make life more enjoyable. The only way I can do these things is to work and learn money. I could have just as easily been self-centered and chose not to get married. It would have cost me much less to live but I’d still have to work some in order to survive. Right? Wrong! Not in America. There are lots of people in our country that live off government hand-outs and never provide for themselves. Did we not choose the type of life we want to live? Under everyday activities, I have never had anyone force me to do anything that I didn’t want to do.
It is very important for us to remember that there are also consequences to every decision we make but life is made up of decisions or choices we make. Let’s put our choices into perspective as they relate to time management. “I work for a publicly traded company for which I am paid a salary. My boss calls me and requests that I complete a task within the next half hour. I’m not that concerned about the time allotted because I should be able to do the job in half that time. I immediately get started on the job when another employee comes into my office asking for my help on a project that is very important to him. Before we knew it, a half hour had passed and I had barely started on the assignment for my boss.” I received a phone call from my boss confirming that I had completed the requested assignment.” Who is at fault for the assignment not being completed? Was it the fellow employee’s fault for seeking my help, or was it my fault for allowing him to distract me? Mine and mine alone. I should have told the fellow employee that I had a time specific job to complete for my boss, and that I would be happy to help him as soon as I finished the job. You see, I made an individual choice as to which of the tasks was most important. The consequences lie squarely on my shoulders.
Our daily activities are filled with choices. However, at the close of a day’s work, we have a list of things we meant to accomplish that we never got around to so we add them to our “To Do” list for tomorrow. The same thing happens the next day, and the next day and the next; all because we did a poor job of managing our time. When we look back at our choices, don’t we really do what we want to do? The other day I was listening to President Obama speak and he was constantly blaming Congress for not being willing to negotiate when in fact Congress had compromised to most of the things President Obama wanted. The truth was, President Obama wasn’t willing to compromise himself. He wanted his way on everything and he got it. I immediately began thinking how people as a whole don’t like to compromise on things. They want to do what they want, and when they want to do it. They choose for themselves and then they should account for their own decisions.
The best way to overcome the adversity of wasted time is to always be totally honest with other people. Tell them you’d be happy to visit with them after you have completed the tasks on your schedule. Being honest with them will not offend them. I know, if you are from the south, you may be concerned about hurting other people’ feelings. People from the north are more direct in their conversation but they don’t mean anything disrespectful when doing so. People from both geographical areas feel the same affection towards others, so speaking direct shouldn’t be offensive to anyone. We just have to take charge of our own time and not let other people stand between us accomplishing the productive things we need to do or wasting time doing non-productive things. It’s our time and it’s our money. What we do with it is up to us.
The very best time management tool we can employ is to master the use of scheduling every moment of a work day. If we schedule or time-block the necessary amount of time needed to perform certain tasks, and we refuse to let anything or anyone keep us from performing these tasks, at the end of the day you will find that you have accomplished all the tasks that you had scheduled and even some that weren’t scheduled. Time blocking requires practice. It is difficult at first but after a couple weeks you will find it makes life so much simpler and you will accomplish so much more. Why not give it a try? Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Why not begin it in a positive direction?
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