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Are you feeling overwhelmed with the amount of sales calls to make, prospecting to do, admin to catch up on, proposals to complete? Join the club! There are many people out there who are in despair, not knowing what to do first, second or last.
Firstly, know it’s fine to have too much on your plate … as the saying goes, it happens! Think about it for a moment. Would you prefer to be sitting there with nothing to do? (Don’t answer that!) What you need to have is a process of dealing with the overwhelm. It’s not going to go away…having a focused plan of action to deal with it is the only way you will progress.
So what can you do when there’s simply too much to do and you don’t know where to start? Here are some suggestions:
1. Write a list. This may seem obvious, but the fact is that many things overwhelm us because they are in our minds, not on paper or on the screen. Write down or type up everything you need to do. If you work better with a pen in your hand, use a list on paper. If your outlook task manager helps you more, use that. This is critical, because a big part of overwhelm is the mental energy of constantly thinking of all the things you need to do. Once you’ve written it all down, it will release the need to remember, and the fear of forgetting, and a lot of the stress of dealing with things will melt away.
2. Analyse combinations. Are there any tasks that can be done simultaneously or more efficiently if they are grouped together? Maybe you can write all your emails and make all your phone calls at the same time. What about filing and mail? Make the first group by putting the number 1 next to each item that can be grouped together.
Then make the next group and put a number 2 next to each item in that group. Keep repeating until the entire grouping is down. Now put a number next to each remaining items. This will tell you how many real actions you need to take. This often gives you even more relief since there is less to do then when you first wrote everything down.
3. Recognise things that will make you money. Put the emphasis on ‘money-gaining’ items, things that will bring in profits for your business over the next month, quarter or campaign.
4. Emphasise things that are urgent. Some things will need to be done today, tomorrow or this week. Spend time on those things.
5. Prioritise based on results you will get. Some of those items may seem to be urgent, but most of them will be important too. De-emphasise the urgency if you can and work on the important.
Remember, overwhelm is really a state of mind. When you plan the order and significance of what you need to do and write it all down, you’ll find any overwhelm will start to dissipate and you’ll be more in control of what needs to be done.
MTD Sales Training
(Image by D Dpavumba at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)