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Sarah Erickson: Tips to Take Control of Your Day

It’s time to take back control of your day! Often, it’s so easy to let our daily "to do’s" take over our time and therefore lose sight of our goals. Here are a few tips to help you take control of the work week.
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Sarah Erickson

It’s time to take back control of your day. Often, it’s so easy to let our daily “to do’s” take over our time and therefore lose sight of our goals. Here are a few tips to help you take control of the work week.

Focus on the process and the results will follow. In sales, it is so easy to have one bad cold call and let it ruin your day; hence no more cold calls for that day, or even that week. It’s also easy to have a couple of good cold calls, set a few key meetings, and forget about the rest of the calls you pledged to make at the beginning of the week. Whether in sales or another line of business, I encourage you to focus on the process—not the results. That means if you set out to make 20 cold calls each day, make your 20 cold calls every day, regardless of your personal hit ratio or the number of fire drills that are sure to occur. By focusing on the process, results will follow, and you will be amazed at your success.

Set your daily goals the night before. Let’s face it, the first 45 minutes of most people’s work day can be a complete waste of time and may go something like this: Turn on your computer, grab a cup of coffee, read the paper, scroll through your email inbox, get interrupted by a colleague or an unexpected call, start making your to-do list, etc. Many people never even finish their to-do list, because once those first 45 minutes go by, the day is controlling them. People are responding to emails and phone calls rather than being the initiator of key communication.

Instead, you can control your day by taking 10 minutes each night before you go home to make your to-do list and note tasks that are easy to execute (e.g., an email, a phone call, etc.), as well as tasks that are key to accomplishing that day (e.g., submitting a proposal on time, preparing for a pitch, etc.).  By doing this, you will become proactive rather than reactive and accomplish much more in your work day.

Evaluate yourself at the end of every week. Now … about those goals! Rather than wait until the end of the year, evaluate yourself weekly. Take your goals sheet, a pen and paper and spend 30 minutes at the end of each week comparing your progress relative to your goals. Are you setting the meetings you need to in order to hit your sales quotas? Are you expanding that key relationship? Are you accomplishing key tasks within your organization for that promotion? With weekly evaluations, you will control the speed of your progress and meet key accomplishments more quickly.

Best wishes as you set out to achieve your goals in 2012!

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