We know you have things to do and places to be. And we also know that it sometimes feels like there are just not enough hours available to accomplish your goals. We scoured the Internet to find you some practical and useful tips on how to increase your productivity whether you’re in the office or out on the road.
Figure out how you spend your time
For a week or longer write down exactly what you do each day along with how long it takes you to do each thing. If you need more motivation to do this, try out some time tracking apps like Toggl, RescueTime or Timely. This will help you see where you are being wasteful if certain things take longer than you think they should. Or, it can improve your overall planning as you will see patterns emerge of how you spend your time. Those patterns can help you create blocks within your day where you can do things that are similar to one another, thus avoiding the distraction of trying to multitask.
Schedule administrative tasks
Admin may be a pain in the backside but it is a necessary evil. To avoid it interfering with tasks that will bring in sales, you need to schedule it as you would a meeting. For example, plan to check and reply to emails for 20 minutes at a specific time each morning. The morning is a good time for this activity since clients and colleagues then have the whole day to respond, but ultimately that depends on your personal preference. Planning for it also means you won’t be anxiously picking up your phone the entire day to make sure you’re not missing something important.
Assign client zones
Field sales reps visit clients nearly every day and it is unlikely that these clients all live in one particular area. Your calendar can be helpful in how productive you are when travelling. Check what major areas or zones your clients usually fall within (confine it to four if you can). Assign each area to a certain day of the week. Now when you know you will have to visit a specific client, you only schedule a meeting with them on the designated day according to their zone. This way you won’t have to spend valuable time travelling unnecessarily in between meetings. It stands to reason that reaching four clients within two hours is better than reaching only two clients within two hours.
Make things accessible
If you’re dreading the idea that you might forget to do something then you need to put everything you need in one place. If you know you need to reply to certain emails at your next scheduled admin block, create a folder in your inbox wherein you drop all of those emails. Attach notes to the emails with thoughts on how you want to respond if you saw them beforehand but it wasn’t the right time for that task. Now you can simply dive in as soon as it’s time for scheduled admin without having to scroll through other, non-essential items.
Make sure you have at least one cloud storage app at your disposal that is installed, synced and working on all of your mobile devices. This way you can get things done while you have some free time on the road and don’t have access to a laptop or PC to do it.
A no-brainer tip is to make a to-do list, either the day before or at the start of each work day. If need be, allocate a time to compile your to-do list every day on your calendar so you don’t push it aside with the idea that you’ll remember or replace it with some other meaningless tasks. It will only take a few minutes of your day so there’s no excuse. With all of your thoughts organised on a piece of paper or clever app, your brain is free to get down to business. You won’t forget important tasks and it helps your day to be more structured. It also allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment as you tick off completed tasks on your list.
Figure out what adds value
Productivity comes from the word “produce” which means to bring forth, create, make or give rise to something. To keep on being a productive member of your sales team, you need to produce. This is why the most attention during your day should be given to tasks that will ultimately provide value. In more straightforward terms, if a task is not bringing in new business or cementing current business then it should be given less focus.
Of course, in any job there will be tasks you need to do that won’t be productive in that manner but they do ultimately contribute. It’s the tasks that waste your time entirely that you need to put a torch to. If you can delegate it to someone else, go for it. If you can minimise how much time you spend on a non-productive task then you can give attention to things that add value to the company, your client and to what you do as a sales rep.