Transitioning to a work from home environment has been a big change for many of us, and has led to some big challenges. One of the keys to being productive while working from home, and consistently putting together good days, is the ability to manage your time effectively. The Sports Business Solutions team put together some tips that can help you now (during COVID-19 times), and these can also help you as you transition back into the office environment in the future. Hope they help, and feel free to let us know your favorite techniques and/or if there is anything we missed!
Plan your day in advance – Bob Hamer
Do you know why Steve Jobs wore the same outfit every day? It was said that he was of the belief that the human mind only had so much ‘decision making’ capability each day, and he wanted all of that brain power going into the products he was creating. He didn’t want any of it going into what he was going to wear that day. Whether or not that’s true the principle is good. If you plan your day in advance, then you can get into work and know exactly what you need to do. If you get into your day and try and “wing it” or try and figure it out on the fly, not only will it delay the start of your day, but it’ll hurt your overall productivity and it’ll be hard to catch back up if you start from behind.
Set a daily calendar reminder for prospecting – Kevin Klammer
Prospecting is like bathing, it’s recommended daily – and the more you do it, the less you stink. But why is it that so many sellers prospect in a haphazard fashion – missing days, weeks, and months in between sessions? It’s usually because they don’t have a system. They don’t have a plan. Yes, we all are typically busy, but being a good prospector takes commitment. Here are two tips: 1. Always Be Prospecting. When you drive, watch TV, listen to music, browse social media/the internet – pay attention to the ads. 2. Build a recurring 30 minute daily (M-F) appointment in your calendar for prospecting. I’d recommend early in the morning, just after lunch, or at the end of your day. While it’s ok to move your daily prospecting time to accommodate meetings and deadlines as they come up, don’t dismiss or delete your daily reminders. Have a prospecting plan, and stick to it.
Reward yourself after getting tasks done – Mike Rudner
Probably the biggest adjustment for me when I started working from home three years ago was the fact that your time is truly your time when you work from home. No longer do you need to get in to work at 8:30-9 and stay until 6 just because everyone else does. If you want to start the day early and finish early, then go for it. What you don’t want to lose sight of is sitting down, focusing and getting your actual work done. So, one thing I started to do was create daily lists of things I needed to complete and then I set aside time in my calendar to do them. Once I completed those tasks (i.e. reach out to 10 new prospects, complete my follow ups in CRM, send thank you e-mails, etc.), I’d reward myself by working out, grabbing lunch, going for a walk or maybe even taking a quick 20-30-minute power nap. For me personally, it’s difficult to sit in front of my computer nonstop for 2-3 hours at a time. So, I like to break up my day and cram as much stuff as I can get done in 60-90 minutes, knowing that once I get my work done, there’s a reward waiting for me.
Tackle the ‘big’ tasks first! – Jason Stein
I’d start by pointing out that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way in how you build out your daily and weekly schedule. There are a variety of factors that come into play (i.e. spouse, children, roommates, etc.) when crafting your schedule and so what works for one person may not work for another. That said, after working from home for over four years now, I’ve realized that I am at my best first thing in the morning when I sit at my desk. The specific time may vary, some days it may be 7am, other days it may be 9am, but whenever I get my day started is when I want to attack my biggest task of the day. For me, this is typically after I go for a run or hit the gym, take a shower and brew a pot of coffee, so my body is fresh, heart is pumping and my mind is clear by the time I get to my desk. Pulling from Newton’s First Law of keeping an ‘object in motion’, I’ve recognized how having a task I can focus on to start the day keeps the momentum going throughout the course of the day. Some days there may not be a large task on my plate such as crafting a proposal or drafting a new partnership agreement, so the biggest task of that day becomes completing a number of smaller tasks (cleaning up emails, sending thank you notes, etc.). If I stay focused and spend an hour tackling something to start the day, I may take a 5 minute break to refill my coffee mug afterwards, but as my mind is still moving, I’m ready to jump right back to work and knock out the next thing on my calendar!
Time blocking - Matt Clark
Staying disciplined on a specific project, especially if it's over a length of time, can be a real challenge. Time blocking is the exercise of actually plotting out a length of time on your calendar to complete a specific task. If you have a big project to complete, block off an hour. If you have an important email, block off 10 minutes. What’s most important is that whatever the amount of time plotted on your calendar, when it's time to work on that task... do it! Plot the most important tasks first, leaving yourself ample time to complete them, and then build the rest of your schedule around that. It is inevitable that throughout the course of your day something spontaneous will pop up! Don't panic or stress yourself out, just take that entire time block and move it to another time that works well for you. Do not delete time blocks, move then! For extra accountability try setting timers on your phone or watch, finding a time blocking video on YouTube for additional accountability, or actually purchase a physical time block that you can place on your desk if you need that little extra reminder.