Everything we do in life relates to both time and activity.
We have a choice every day regarding these two precious gifts. Time comes with birth and requires no effort, whereas, activity is born of knowledge and belief. Time continues regardless of what we do, but we do have a choice as to how we use our time. Activity is truly a function of what we believe and our willingness to take action on those beliefs. You might be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with sales?” It has everything to do with sales. These two elements, time and activity, combined with knowledge, comprise the three raw elements of sales performance. How well are you using these basic concepts in your sales career?
Time is a continuum without beginning or end. It just keeps moving and we have a choice every day how we use our time. We can use it for value or we can use it for waste. Time doesn’t care, but we should. Time is a gift given to each of us. With this gift of time we can create wealth. However, wealth is created as a result of the activities with which we engage ourselves. In his core teachings, Stephen Covey introduced the four quadrants of time. Everything we do in our lives falls into these four quadrants. They are described as “important and urgent”, “important and not urgent”, “not important and urgent” and “not important and not urgent”. Most people spend their lives working in the quadrant labeled important and urgent. These people are doing important things, however, they are under extreme pressure to get things done now because they are urgent. Your best effort will never be achieved working in this quadrant. This quadrant of time represents perfectly the statement, “Too much to do and too little time to do it.”
The most successful people, particularly salespeople, spend the majority of their lives in the quadrant labeled “important but not urgent”. This is where your best efforts are achieved. This is where you have time to deal with emergencies and unplanned events. This is where you can actually work on the achievement of your long-term goals and feel as though you have control of your life. This quadrant of time will free you of stress, which is damaging to both your health and your sales performance. If you want to manage both time and activity in your life in order to reap the maximum reward, live and work in the quadrant labeled “important but not urgent.” Here are a few ideas to help you focus your time and activity into this quadrant.
- Plan what you want to accomplish every day.
- Schedule time for each activity.
- Determine how much time you will spend on each activity.
- Take action, don’t put off until tomorrow what can be done today.
- Prioritize events in your life.
- Consider the value of your time and commit to using it wisely.
- Set goals to keep you focused on the important things in your life.
- Find purpose in your life; then live to achieve your purpose.
- Resist the natural tendency to be complacent.
- Take time to ponder and enjoy your new level of achievement.
Focusing your time and efforts on doing important activities before they become urgent will lead to greater success. Following the above steps will help you make the best use of your time so the things within your control get accomplished before they become urgent, leaving time for those unexpected situations that are beyond our control.