Increasing Personal Productivity Part 2

Personal Effectiveness

The second chunk of personal productivity is determining your core skills and strengths.  When you go through the sales training and sales management personal effectiveness worksheet you will identify all the different tasks that you do on a daily/weekly basis. When you analyze your results you will find out that those skills, the things that you do typically fall into one of three categories:  the first one would be doing things that you are competent at, not necessarily good at or gifted or, but you’re competent at those things.  The second category would be doing things that you are good at.  And in the third category would be doing things that you are absolutely excellent or very gifted at doing.

When you look at the activities you are doing, you’ll find that you are only spending about 15-25% of your time doing things that you are really excellent at.  And the other 75-85% of the time you’re doing things you are either good at or competent at doing.

When you look at where your highest payoff is, the highest payoff per hour invested for you or me or anyone else is to do things that we are uniquely gifted at, that we are excellent at and that come easy, and natural to us and that just seems to flow for us.

When I first started my business, it was just me, and in the very early days when I did not know any better, I was the one sending our faxes to invite people to meetings, I was the one licking literally stamps and envelopes that went out of my office.  I’m a pretty good stamp licker, and it doesn’t require a lot of skill but it’s not my unique gift. It was a stupid use of time and did not make any sense at all.

Well, through the years I have continued to get rid of and delegate and farm out more and more of my tasks.  And, as I have gotten rid of those things and as I have farmed those things out, it has allowed me to really focus in on the three or four things I’m really good at, that I’m really beyond good, I’m excellent and I’m probably as good as anybody on the face of the planet at doing those things.  When I focus my time on doing those things the money comes.

As a sales professional, you only get paid to do 3 or 4 things and they all happen to do with being in front of people and talking to people who have the ability to give you money.  Sending out faxes, sending out emails, all of those kinds of things, checking email, surfing the web, looking for prospects, doing a day to day search, determining who the prospects are, all of those kinds of things while they may be necessary, they’re not money makers for you, and the smart salespeople are the ones that farm those things out and spend their time in front of people who give them money.

If you’re going to be a high performance person you must let go of the need to control things because at the end of the day there are only so many hours in the day and if you insist on doing everything yourself then you will either end up working 120 hours a week and suffering the casualty of that, or you will reach a plateau in which you cannot possibly make any more money because there are no more hours in a day to do stuff.

The antidote to that is to simply let go.  There are several ways that you can do this – one is to hire a personal assistant.  For me, hiring a personal assistant was the smartest thing I ever did.  I hired a personal assistant, by the way when I could not afford to hire a personal assistant.  I did it anyway.  That personal assistant allowed me to delegate and farm out all the stuff that I did not like to do, that wasn’t fun, that wasn’t productive for me, and that personal assistant’s job is to take as much off of my plate as is possible so that I can focus on doing the few things that I do really well.

When I hired my personal assistant I looked her in the eye and said to her, “Your job is to make me money, period.  Now, the more money I make, the more money I will be able to pay you.  But until you help me make more money by taking stuff off my plate to free me up to do stuff to get money from buyers, I cannot pay you anymore than I am paying you right now.”  So I brought her on, she’s been with me a year and a half, I have invested a huge sum of money in her for training and I continually push stuff to her, I continually push and push and push, and she’s doing more and more and more stuff for me every day.  She’s not the only one that I pay for doing stuff for me. I have at least three other people that do stuff for me that I pay.  All of my website stuff is done by a virtual assistant; my search engine optimization specialist is on retainer. And Cindi, my personal assistant does all the other stuff that I don’t want to do or that doesn’t really make me money, and that allows me to focus in and do what I really do best, which is teaching, coaching, selling, and writing,

You should be looking to get rid of the lowest payoff activity you are doing, spin it off, get it off your plate and get it away from you. Now, if you are foolish enough and if you’re too cheap to want to invest money to do that, just realize that your stress level is going to continue to build as you do all those low payoff, menial administrative tasks and at some point you’ll reach the wall, your burnout level will go up tremendously and you’ll wonder why you aren’t making more money.

The Four D’s

In our sales training and sales management training and coaching programs we teach the concept of the four D’s of personal productivity. Look at everything you do and it should fall into one of four categories: the first one is look at everything you’re doing and decide is this something I can DELEGATE or not.  If it is something you can delegate to someone else who can do it at least half as good as you or three quarters as good as you, then you should delegate it. The second D is DROP it, meaning you look at it and you decide ‘I am just not going to do this stuff anymore, period.’

The third D would be DEFER it, put it on the back burner, and don’t let it occupy prime position.  What you’ll find is when you move some things to the back burner you’ll come to the realization that they didn’t need to be done in the first place.

And then the fourth D obviously is DO it.

Delegate, Drop, Defer, Do

All of this requires tremendous self discipline, and it requires you to set boundaries on your behavior and become ruthless in the management of yourself.  If you’re going to become more effective you’re going to have to set boundaries and focus in and discipline yourself to only do those things that you’re uniquely gifted for and that have the highest payoff for the time invested.  Once you go through the sales training exercise you will find it easy to pick out the 3 or 4 things that really make you 80% of your money.

Learning to Say ‘No’

Part of disciplining yourself is learning to say ‘no’.  If you’re going to eliminate some activities and tasks you’re going to have to say ‘no’ to a lot of things.  The first one that you’re going to have to say no to is yourself.  You’re going to have to deny yourself the pleasures of doing things that are fun and easy, that may not make you any money. The things that make you money are not always fun and they’re not necessarily easy tasks to accomplish.  You may be good at them, but that doesn’t mean that they’re easy to do.  Setting up appointments, for instance, is a highly productive activity.  Making appointments with people is not necessarily easy or fun, but it certainly is a high payoff activity.

Another group that you’re going to have to learn to say ‘no’ to is others. You’re going to have to learn to say ‘no’ to other people. There are a lot of people that make demands on your time and make demands on you and will shift stuff off of their plate onto your plate because they don’t want to deal with it, they’re too lazy to deal with it, or it’s too much of a hassle.

Another thing you’re going to have to learn to say ‘no’ to is the telephone or email.  When the telephone rings, you’re going to have to learn not to salivate like Pavlov’s dog and jump over furniture to grab the phone before it quits ringing.  That’s what voicemail is for. That’s what answering machines are for.  If it’s an important call, I promise you, whoever is calling you will leave a message.  So you’re going to have to learn to get rid of that urgency and addiction you have about answering the telephone and checking and answering email.  Use the phone for scheduled appointments with people, not to incessantly run and grab it every time it rings.

You will also have to learn to say ‘no’ to all kinds of interruptions and things that go on around you.  If you’re going to become more productive, you’re going to have to work from a schedule and become disciplined. If you do these things you will make more money in less time and reduce the stress in your life.