Being productive is a major pain point in sales. I should know—I used to be lazy, procrastinate, and flake out all the time. But today I run a 7-figure sales training company, produce TONS of quality content, and still have time for coaching calls, hobbies, and a family life.
How? I’m tyrannical about how I plan and execute my days. Here’s how I do it.
1. “Does it Make the Boat Go Faster”
Only do “what makes the boat go faster.”
There was a rowing team in Great Britain that had a big audacious goal—they wanted to win the Olympics in two years. And to achieve that goal, they did something a bit unorthodox. They relentlessly asked themselves, “Does this make the boat go faster?”
It wasn’t just equipment they scrutinized. Though they tore that apart too. No, it was training, strategy, mentality, sleep schedules, nutrition, motivation. Everything that came into play was examined and evaluated. And if it didn’t make the boat go faster, guess what? They got rid of it.
At the end of two years, they had a completely redesigned team… and a gold medal.
If you want to be ultra productive and close more deals, you need to focus on what makes the boat go faster. Prospecting leads to sales. Gossipy emails don’t. Building your network makes the boat go faster. Facebook posts don’t.
Get relentless with it. Because if it doesn’t make the boat go faster, you shouldn’t be doing it.
2. Time Block
Organization is the heart of productivity. And when it comes to how you complete your mission-critical tasks, it should be no different. That’s where time blocking comes in.
Rather than getting to the real impactful tasks whenever you can, start scheduling them directly into your calendar.
But be deliberate here. Choose times and windows that you KNOW are realistic and that you can stick to. Because to maximize your productivity, you need to stick to those timelines like your life depended on it.
No handling other little tasks while you work on a big one. No spending an extra half an hour of unscheduled time on it. No fudging the numbers.
Work on the SINGLE task from start time to finish time. No more, no less.
Time blocking requires discipline. A hell of a lot of it. But when you get the system down, you’ll find yourself finishing big tasks faster and fitting more of them into your day.
3. Capture Tasks
We’ve all found ourselves realizing something important needs to be done only to forget about it completely by the end of the day. And by the time you realize it, it’s way too late to do anything about it.
That’s why it’s so important to have a task-capturing system.
Now we at the Selling Made Simple Academy actually have a whole system dedicated to this. It’s called the Bucket Productivity Framework. And if you’re interested in learning more about it, head over to the link in the notes.
But for now, here’s a quick overview.
You essentially want to capture tasks that come up throughout the day on a pad of paper you keep with you at all times.
Then once your day is almost through, take a minute or two to go through your list and define the next steps for each task. This will make it 20X easier to do later.
After that, you’re going to organize each task into one of four buckets: Urgent & Important, Not Urgent & Important, Urgent & Not Important, and Not Urgent & Not Important.
The Urgent & Important tasks you’ll handle yourself first thing tomorrow. The Not Urgent & Important ones can wait.
But for the Urgent & Not Important, you should delegate to someone else. And for the final bucket, Not Urgent & Not Important, just don’t do them. They don’t matter!
Again, there’s a lot more to be said about this system. So if you want to learn more, be sure to click over to the full explainer in the show notes.
4. Use the Power of “NO”
So much of your productivity losses are tied up in performing meaningless tasks you get assigned by others. A pointless meeting you agreed to attend, a 20-minute coffee break with a colleague when you should be on the phones, an hour-long video call when a simple email would do.
There’s so much time wasted on unnecessary engagements, especially when the information you need from it can be covered a simpler, faster way. Worst of all, a lot of the time you don’t even enjoy these engagements! So to recap, you’re:
- Barely getting anything out of it.
- Wasting time you could be spending on driving sales.
- Hating being there anyway.
Rather than put yourself through that, get more comfortable saying no. “No” might seem like it’s costing you something when you say it. But the opportunity cost of saying “yes” to something that doesn’t move the boat forward is far higher.
5. Sprint AND Marathon
And finally there’s understanding the concept of the sprint AND the marathon.
On the sprint side of things, you should always be moving relentlessly towards completing something. Sprint to finish this video. Sprint to create the best YouTube channel for B2B sales reps. Sprint to retire early.
Whatever it is you’re doing with your life, always have a goal. And always look for ways to achieve it faster.
On the other side of things, you need to understand your limits. That’s where the marathon comes in. If you burn the candle at both ends for too long, it’s going to lead to burnout, exhaustion, and other life priorities that don’t get the attention they need.
The solution here is what’s called The 20 Mile March. It’s a concept developed in the book Great by Choice by Jim Collins. It describes how enterprises that last the longest tend to self-impose a rigorous performance mark that they hit with amazing consistency.
In the book, Collins equates it to hiking across the United States by marching 20 miles a day, every day. No more, no less. You don’t go further on great days. And you don’t go less on terrible ones. And at the end, the 20 mile marcher will ALWAYS beat out the opportunist that does the opposite.
The march imposes order amidst disorder, discipline amidst chaos, and consistency amidst uncertainty.
So chase down your goals relentlessly. But keep things to a reasonable limit. And remember that consistency always drives the best results.