How can I reorganize my daily work routine to improve my efficiency and productivity?
The biggest problem I have, as a freelance marketing consultant and writer, is figuring our how to balance prospecting/sales with doing the actual work for existing customers. But I'd be curious to hear any tips you had on streamlining your work day generally.
It's quite simple actually.
1. when you have plenty of work, you focus on that and allocate a small chunk of time for prospecting/sales.
2. when you don't have plenty of work, you spend more time on prospecting/sales.
The best time for cold calling is in the mornings. This is a time when people are more likely to make a decisive decision. Afternoons people tend to be brain weary.
Block out times in your calendar for the routine work that you do and ensure there is a good balance between marketing, calling/appointment setting and the business at hand. Also energy map your day. You can check out my blog for instructions on this. Time Management is my specialty. www.timetamer.com.au. Hope that helps.
I like Evernote.. There are many productivity software and I would browse them all to see what looks like it fits you and the type of business you do. But technology is the easiest thing to apply to life to keep it organized an prioritized!
Limit your time on social media to 2-3 hours in the evenings, writing 2-3 hours when you can manage it, and sales calls as breaks from the aforementioned. Bulleted lists for before and after lunch etc.
Divide your day into pay time and non pay time to separate delivering value you are getting paid for and prospecting for the next check. Put that into your schedule allocation (obviously you need a system and plan for your scheduling daily) and then stick to it each day only altering the next day's plan.
earmark one or two days a week exclusively for sales calls and customer service where the focus should be on converting a customer or two depending on your targets for the week.This conversion should be your big rock for the dayThe other days of the week may be utilized for writing, consulting etc.
Create a daily to do list. Mark your list A's being priority must do's.C's being second and D's being don't really have to do. A's not complete move to your next day,C's move to B's and if not done move to D's which you might nit have to do. Create a folder in whatever email you use for ALL your mails and only DO the A's.Use only 3 SM tools Linkedin first Google+ second and twitter 3rd.
I would look for answers from your customers/prospecting customers. There are days and certain time like middle of the week , post lunch period when they are comfortable in meeting you. List down such preferences and you will see a pattern emerging.
Arrange your work around such patterns balancing work for current customers. It is good idea to maximize your current customer's potential to leverage maximum or profitable business. Try to reach 80% repeat business from them.
Plan out your day and stick to the plan. For instance, if you start every day hitting the gym, do it every day. It sets the pace and tone for the rest of your day, and not doing it will set off the pace and tone of the rest of your day.
From here, plan your activities. On M-W-F I am going to work on X, Y, and Z customers and on T-TH, I will prospect my business. I would also plan a bit of your day for the "uh-oh," when something goes wrong or off track. This keeps you from borrowing time from your schedule and if nothing goes wrong, gives you a bit of time to take care of things on your "to-do" list.
Lastly, at the end of each day, I plan out my list for the following day. This way, I know what to expect before I even enter the office, and can plan accordingly.
first of all remember:
Time is only a Mathematical or a Phisics Variable..
You can transform mentally 24 hours of a day in
any time your mind could dream.
Just do it!
1. Classify your old and potencial new customers by ROI
ROI = (return on investment: Money & Time)
2. When your mind is free: Work your most dificult client , and get rid of it quickly..
3. Remember at this moment: The rest is a perception of pleasure to come! Enjoy!
4. Yes, do it again ! and again and again...5. Sometimes your mind generates new dreams
( Stop and register that idea to work it later).
6. You will see: Time will work for you .Your clientes will perceive the difference
of your state of mind and magically they will be more curious about you,
they will admire you and as a consequence you do not need to sell anything to him,
because they will buy naturally anything you sell; because you will be selling not a
product, nor a service, nor a project but joy!
7. Ah!. Smile sincerely all the time!
You need to compartmentalize your work day. I find that prospecting is best done first thing in your day because if it isn't then as you get involved in other activities it doesn't get done that day.
Anne, I don't even give any advice on this anymore after I found the folks at Priacta. Their method for Totally Relaxed Organization (TRO) is better than ANYTHING I've ever used and I've used them all! I stumbled upon them when looking for a software tool for David Allen's Getting Things Done. TRO actual allowed me to get my daily, weekly, and monthly planning down to minutes rather than hours that I didn't have. Their online training is very cost effective and they will help you find the right tools that fit your technology and planning style. Check them out at www.priacta.com .
By the way, I don't get anything from them for this pitch. I just believe in it that much!!! Hope this helps. - Dino
The simplest method is to make a list and note all your activities during the day and how much time you spend on doing each of them (as precise as possible). This will help you see where you waste time.
Another technique is to schedule the most unpleasant activities for the first part of the day and reschedule the rest of the day.
I hope this helps. :)
Allocate specific days of your week (as opposed to performing the same functions each day, which creates inefficiency and monotony) to your categorical tasks. By way of a simplified example: work on existing client assignments on Mondays and Wednesdays; perform client sales and prospecting on Tuesdays and Thursdays; initiate work on your newly-won assignments on Fridays. This type of rotational tasking will keep the flow and quality of your work optimal while keeping you fully focused on specific tasks for specific days. The best part of this approach is that it keeps you in control of your time and circumstances, and not the other way around. Put another way, it eliminates the feelings of "constantly shifting gears" and "organizational randomness" - being overwhelmed - out of your work week.
- Douglas E. Castle http://DouglasECastleBlog.com.
What would you do to change your working pattern if you knew that over 90% of what makes you effective is what is going on in your thoughts and emotions, That just over 5% was strategy and planning and the remainder is down to knowledge and skill?
I say the remainder is down to knowledge and skill because once you have the basics laid down those can be shifted to an autonomic process. You already have that foundation because you are getting clients.
I am sure that you have a pool and tried and tested strategies that work in various settings, so it is merely a matter of how you combine elements for the different scenarios.
You have had a lot of good information about planning your time, developing an understanding of the outcomes you want, and negotiating delivery with clients, so what is missing?
What seems to need cultivating is the 18 inches between heart and mind. The first thing is to get someone you can be accountable to, other than your client, as this is for you.
Second, get yourself into a Mastermind group, this will help you to think further, deeper and broader and consequently quantum leap your growth and productivity to the point that you can take on staff and refocus your attention to your strengths.
Third, find recreational time. This type of purposeful break allows you to disconnect from your thoughts. The impact when you reconnect is that you are more innovating and have greater creativity. Emotional Intelligence, the best way to know and place trust in yourself.
Dear Anne, you can start with considering saying 'NO' to whatever that is irrelevant, unrewarding or unproductive...in the WORK time, at least! If interested, I can provide you a detailed planning of 365 days which I recommend to all my clients seeking Work-Life Balance, Increasing Productivity or Time Management, for that matter. All the best...!
I am briefly explain it in my book "Time topology", but summarize answer of your question is make a daily routine chart with four vertical columns
2-Event; which is you perform that time
3-Physical stat; at that time when you perform above task
4-Psychological stat; at that time when you perform above task
then collecting the data of one month and on the behalf of those data we diagnosis and design best for you.
Hey Anne, some fantastic advise here. I'm a consultant and writer too and the only way I managed to create the efficiency I needed was to plan and block out my writing time verses client time in the diary.
The weekly planning tool I use is free on my site: ultimate business propellor dot com
Hope it helps!
Hi Anne, I have coached many people who have raised the same issue. There is a big difference between being efficient and being effective. First thing to accept is that to become more productive may require a shift in thinking around whats important and when. So here is my quick list of steps to take:
1. Define your high pay off activities - what are the top 6 things (behaviours) you do to drive results in your business (e.g. face to face sales, prospecting, goal setting & planning, client work etc)
2. Using a time picture (a simple blank calendar of a week), plot those HPA's (the big rocks) into the week at the time that would be the most ideal for you.
3. Then you can add anything into the blanks in order of priority that is not defined already as an HPA.
4. Start each day by goal setting and planning to ensure you have your day set up to be effective (the right things, at the right time, for the right length of time).
5. Seek to pursue the ideal daily. This is sometimes the hardest part, it takes discipline to execute the plan.
At least with a clear time picture in place of what you think a perfect productive week looks like you will be able to compare hats actually happening and engage the mind to make values based choices on the best use of your time.
Hope that helps a little.
There are two parts to this I have always found effective.
1. I drawn up what I call a Battleplan of the activities I need to do for the day. This is simply a 'to do' list but it would include everything i need to do This is not based on how much time I have but what needs to be done. And i KEEP AT IT UNTIL IT IS ALL COMPLETED no matter how long it takes. it might not take too long or it might run over into the evening. The point is I apply discipline to complete the To Do list.
The other point is to complete every task and not put it off for another time. If I pick up something. I do it. I don't pick up something look at it and put it down again. If I pick it up, it means I have to do something with it This frees up my attention and I am not thinking, 'Oh I have to finish so and so's project '. Once started i keep at it regardless of how long it takes.
Applying discipline, setting priorities and adhering to them makes for success in getting things done for me.