How do you know what needs to be done today? What is it about a task that informs you that it should be done before another one?
While it is straightforward to build a task list and schedule your appointments on a calendar, if you are new — or even a seasoned professional — to productivity and better time management, the difficulty comes from defining what needs to be done and when.
Let’s say you have a project that has to be “moved forward” what exactly does “move forward” mean? Unless you clearly define what that means, you will either procrastinate or ignore the project until someone starts shouting about it.
Defining your core work.
Having a clear definition of what your core work is is a must if you are to get yourself on top of your work. For this, you need to figure out what that core work is. For example, a salesperson’s core work is selling. This means any activity that puts the salesperson in a position where they could sell something would be a core work task. Similarly, a teacher’s core work is to teach, and any activity that involves teaching or preparing teaching materials would be their core work.
But I would go deeper than this. The words; “any activity that puts the salesperson in a position where they could sell something “is too vague. For example, it could be argued sitting in your sales manager’s office and being told how to do your job could be considered “an activity where you could sell something.”
What needs to happen for you to be at risk of selling something? Contacting customers and prospecting would be a place to start. How many calls, in absolute terms, will you make each day? That number of calls must become a priority each day.
When I was in sales, the top salesperson in our car dealership, Claire, made ten calls every day. Nothing would stop her from making those calls. No matter what tasks needed doing, such as moving cars in and out of the showroom or lining cars up outside, if Claire had not made her calls, tough, she was not going to help.
I remember once complaining to our sales manager that Claire rarely helped us, and his reply was: “that is why she’s a better salesperson than you.” — A valuable lesson learned. Claire got exceptional…