Time is perhaps a salesperson’s most precious commodity. Although a continuous supply of time is available, it cannot be stored for future use, and it cannot be reclaimed if it is wasted. When you realize that life itself consists of time, the value of time becomes clear.

The term time management is really a misnomer. Because every minute has 60 seconds and every hours has 60 minutes, time itself cannot be managed. A salesperson can only use it. What can be managed, however, are you and your activities. Time management, then, is actually personal organization and self-management.

Do you want to use your time instead of simply spending it? We all have the ability to control our present thoughts and actions and to decide how to use our time. In the words of Benjamin Franklin: “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time; for that’s the stuff life is made of.”

Mental preparation is necessary to win the race against time. Developing a time management attitude is crucial to your sales success. Just as Olympic champions practice diligently and relentlessly to perfect their athletic techniques, you can practice time management techniques and maximize the benefits to be enjoyed from both professional and personal pursuits.

The whole subject of time management can assume such proportions that the mere thought of attempting to master it becomes frustrating. Many people in selling feel trapped and manipulated by the demands others make on their time. When you feel time pressures and believe you are working to your full capacity, you would probably be surprised to learn that a significant portion of each day is being wasted. A number of research studies indicate that the typical salesperson spends an average of only two hours a day in productive selling.

What do you want to do with your time? Do you prefer to spend most of your time working, or would you rather be playing golf or tennis? Do you spend your evenings worrying about some project or sales proposal you need to complete, or do you enjoy relaxing with family and friends? Time management techniques serve to rescue wasted time blocks and transform them into preferential time hours that you can spend or invest in activities that represent your own desires.

Behaviorists tell us that over 90 percent of the results achieved in life come from the exercise of habit patterns. If you want to achieve great results in professional sales, establish great habit patterns. In sale s, more than in many other professions, the management of time is a matter of personal choice.

At the same time, you are held accountable for achieving results. The requirement for accountability underlines the responsibility for the efficient and creative use of available time. Successful salespeople achieve their goals because they are willing to do the things failures refuse to do. Those things include such activities as planning for effective time use and consciously deciding what can be done each day.

Success is never a matter of luck. Good luck is the result of careful planning and disciplined execution. A salesperson’s most important asset is time, and how you use it determines your success.

Organizing your life effectively is no more difficult than learning to read a book. Nearly everybody has the ability to manage time. The desire is the variable that makes the difference. Keep a positive perspective toward time and your use of it. Here are four suggestions for establishing the kind of personal organization and self-management attitudes that will bring you sales success:

• Make a list of the activities you want to complete during the next week to achieve the results you desire.

• For an entire week, keep an hour-by-hour record of exactly what you do with your time. Summarize your record and compare what you actually do to the list you made of what you want to do to achieve your goals.

• At the end of each day and at the end of each week, take a personal accounting of what you have accomplished compared to what you set out to do. This procedure is useful not only during the span of a specific time analysis but also at the end of each day and week and at the end of other significant time periods like school semesters, quarters or fiscal years.

• List the five habits or attitudes that were the biggest obstacles to the achievement of the results you wanted. Write out a plan for changing these habits or attitudes. Conduct another time analysis study three months from now and compare the two. Determine whether you are making progress in replacing these habits or attitudes with new ones.

Conducting a detailed personal time-analysis study at least twice a year is a good habit to establish. Just as you schedule a regular medical checkup, plan for a time management checkup to keep you aware of how well you are using your time resources.

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