Increasing Personal Productivity Part 4

In the three previous posts we looked at the importance of habits, determining your core talents and skills and clarity of focus on personal productivity. In this post we look at the fourth chunk – personal productivity/time management.

Time Management

Most people overestimate how much of their day is productive.  Lee Iacocca was interviewed when he was CEO of Chrysler and he admitted that he did not think he was productive more than about 45 minutes out of every day.  He said the rest of his day was spent putting out fires and dealing with all kinds of things that came up that were important but not necessarily productive.  He said, “I think that’s probably true of all Fortune 500 CEO’s.”

If you think that you’re different as a sales person, you need to think again. In a study that was done with 2000 life insurance producers at Columbia University it was determined that the average life insurance producers was only productive about a hour and a half each day.  The other 6.5 hours of an 8 hour day was spent doing stuff that was not necessarily productive.

One of the exercises that we teach in our sales training is to take your income level or whatever you want your income level to be and then take 220 hours times 8 which is 1760 hours, divide those 1760 hours into that number. When you do that you will come up with an hourly figure based on an 8 hour day.  The only problem with this is you’re not productive 8 hours a day. So take that number, whatever number you came up with and multiply that number, if it’s an 8 hour day and you think you’re productive 2 hours a day, take that number and multiply it times 4.

Let me give you an example of this. Let’s suppose your goal is to make $100,000 a year – so we got $100,000 a year divided by 1760 hours, that’s 8 hours a day for 220 days. That gives me $56.81 per hour based on an 8 hour workday.  Well, we all know that we are not productive all 8 of those hours.  Let’s suppose that I’m really stretching it and I’m productive 2 of those 8 hours.  So that gives me a multiple of 4 so I’ve got to multiply 4 times $56.81, that gives me my true productive hour, per day is $227.27.  I’m only productive 2 hours a day, so my entire income for the day is earned in those 2 hours so that makes each one of those 2 hours worth $227.00.  You do that exercise for yourself and come up with that number and look at that.  If you think that you are more productive than 2 hours a day, you are very naive and you live in a fairyland. You are not productive more than 2 hours a day. I am not productive more than 2 hours a day.  If I can get another 20 minutes of productivity in or another 30 minutes in, that’s huge.

How Productive Are You?

You may be thinking, if I’m only productive 2 hours out of a 8 hour day, then what else is going on with the rest of the day?  While the other things going on with the rest of your day may be important, they are not necessarily productive. I refer to those non-productive things as time vampires. You might recognize some of these – email, checking and responding to emails throughout the day, how many times a day do you check email and respond to email?  Add up the total number of minutes in a day, you would be surprised. How about checking your cell phone for email messages, your Blackberry, or as it’s more effectually known, your Crackberry because you’re so addicted to it.  Or texting, spending time texting, as some of you may be doing sitting on this call, you think you’re multi-tasking but really what you’re doing is not paying attention because you’re doing something else on your computer or cell phone, or perhaps even carrying on a conversation with someone in the background instead of paying attention to this particular session.  What about what I call office soap opera, engaging in office gossip and the whining and moaning that goes on at the water cooler, talking to other people who are mediocre performers about the ball game last night or about the Super Bowl or what have you, all of those kinds of chit-chat discussions.  What about instant messaging during the day, we’ve already covered this one about the phone, endlessly answering the phone, what about trivial pursuit, all the things you find yourself doing like rearranging the files on your desk, moving the pile from the left side of the desk and rearranging it and moving it to the right side of your desk or attending meetings of all sorts. This particular sales training session that you’re on right now is not a productive use of your time. You’re learning some stuff that hopefully will indirectly result in you making money but it is NOT a productive use of your time. Important? Yes. Productive? No.

Interruptions – just how many times a day are you interrupted? It’s estimated that the average business owner is interrupted every 8 minutes.  How in the world can you stay on track and get anything done of any significance if you’re interrupted every 8 minutes? The answer is you cannot.  So that’s the fourth chunk. In our next session we will cover the 5th and last chunk…..accountability.