Not sure about you, but I am at a place in my life where I would choose more time over more money. The list of things to do grows longer and the time seems to pass more quickly. And while many marketing and sales managers wish for bigger budgets, sometimes what we really need is better allocation of our time. Here are a few characteristics about time you may not have thought about:
- You get exactly the same amount as the world’s richest and most powerful people. Although someone like Bill Gates can use his money to make his time more effective, he can’t buy an extra second more time.
- It is easier to waste time than maximize time.
- Given the same amount of time, Person A can accomplish multiples of what Person B accomplishes.
- It’s often easier to tell other people how to use their time effectively than doing it right yourself.
Some people are better at talking about doing things – while others are better at actually doing things. Yet marketing and sales – in fact all parts of business – reward the “doing” more than the “talking.” In marketing and sales, there is a time to plan and a time to act — and the extra time planning, pondering, and deliberating can often be better spent by taking smaller actions, learning from these actions, and then scaling activities based on results, not speculation. Or as Andy Warhol put it: “They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
I often write blog posts to address my own issues and remind myself about what is important. As a marketing and sales consultant, I am selling time and expertise. The only way I can scale my business (which we have done) is to build a team of gifted people who have something of value to offer clients, and to make our collective expertise increasingly more valuable to more clients. So how does this all impact what I do every day?
For one thing, I need to revisit a simple tool like the following (popularized by Stephen Covey) that organizes activity into four categories based on the degree of urgency and importance of a particular use of time.
When you perform this exercise, you will be amazed at the number of potential activities that fall into quadrants 3 and 4, which can be eliminated or delayed. This gives you/me more time to spend on the urgent and important items in quadrant 1 – and more important, those important items in quadrant 2 that so often get delayed due to seemingly urgent but unimportant tasks that divert attention. In my case, this means concentrating on activities that forward the goals of my clients, build our business, and help our team grow and prosper. Of course, focusing on the top priority items also leaves me more time for the other things that matter: family, friends and fun activities.
The bottom line is that, as a professional in the marketing and/or sales profession, you/I don’t want to be:
- A person who complains about how busy they are but accomplishes little.
- A person who wastes precious minutes/hours griping about people or situations that are not going to change.
- A person who talks a good game but doesn’t get onto the playing field.
- A person who wastes their company’s or their client’s money by not giving full effort for the compensation received.
Finally, we don’t want to be a person who is busy but not productive.
Seth Godin wrote about this in a short post titled Is productive the same as busy?
“No one complains of having spent an entire day doing ‘productive work’. Busywork, on the other hand, is mind numbing. It’s possible that if you have a job where your tasks (your busy-ness) is programmed by someone else, that being busy is your job.
For everyone else, though, busy might be precisely the opposite of productive. Maybe the best exhortation isn’t to “get busy.” Instead, perhaps it involves slowing down enough to feel the fear. The fear that we might only hear in the quiet moments, in the gaps between crises.”