Doing More With Less: Winning The Battle With Time Management

Amar Sheth
Amar Sheth

Sand ClockOne of the biggest challenges that we all have is time management. I’m not immune from this, either. Like you my days are getting longer, more scheduled, and sometimes it’s impossible to believe when they start.

Like all of my colleagues at Sales for Life, we are all laser focused on building a business that fulfills us on all levels (not just financially). But in this quest, I’ve lost all sense of time management in the last few months.

Something interesting happened and in January my schedule got jam packed. I’m traveling more, speaking more, all while training, finding new business and (yes, you guessed it) writing content.

I thought I was good at time management and then work slapped me across the face! Here are some golden rules I’m in the midst of learning and applying.

Note: I don’t profess to be an expert at these, but wish to let you know what I’m doing to be more effective with time management.

Batch and Context!

I consider Jamie Shanks (our CEO) to be one of the best managers of time. He’s ruthless with his priorities. It’s something I really admire in him.

He took a look at my calendar in Q1 and basically tore it to shreds. It wasn’t batched in logical sequence. As busy as we are, we owe it to ourselves and clients to provide excellent service. And it’s impossible to do that when you move from business development, to training, to writing content, etc. Each area wasn’t being invested in fully.

So batching became something I’m now working on. I’ve now blocked off days and times in my calendar despite having so many competing priorities.

One of my other friends and contacts, Gan Sharma, is the @EvernoteGuru, and he has carved out hours of his time to kick start an Evernote User Group in Toronto where he teaches us how he uses Evernote to organize his day.

Gan talks about the concept of “context” where you don’t have tasks on your calendar – ever! It’s all about leading with contextual categories instead. It’s fascinating and I’m looking forward to implementing it soon. I’ll report back on my success and/or missteps.

It’s brilliant stuff! If you don’t follow Gan or don’t know him, I’d absolutely suggest reaching out to him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Schedule Time for E-mail

Without scheduling time for e-mail, I would be in front of my computer all day. There are hundreds of e-mails that will consume your time and make you super unproductive. Not to mention that e-mails stress the living daylights out of most of us in sales because we want to please our clients and give high priority to everything.

However much time you schedule, the key is to schedule time on your calendar to catch up and prioritize on your work.

The Pomodoro Rule

I’m not going to pretend to be an expert at this as I’m still learning how to apply this myself, but the Pomodoro rule takes the “context” principles I’m learning from @EvernoteGuru and then applying them to a 30 minute agenda.

In short, it goes like this. 25 minutes of hardcore concentration, heads down, in one task, followed by a 5 minute break.

Apparently the science behind this is really strong. And, here’s the fascinating part, some of the most productive people in the world, some of the best leaders we know, all do about 30-40 hours/week of Pomodoro-style work.

The Bottom Line

I’m on a journey to better learn how to manage time. I find it’s a critical element as my workload and home life responsibilities grow to levels I’ve never seen before.

What are you doing to manage time? As we’re all in the same industry, I wanted to share ideas and best practices around this. Feel free to tweet me @AmarSheth or connect with me on LinkedIn to share your time management horror stories or home runs.

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