Feb. 13, 2006 – Manage your time with these tips in mind

Keys to time management often sound simple, but can be difficult to follow up on.
Go through these points one-by-one in this ongoing series on time management. See how you can best use them to improve your time management skills so you can accomplish more with the time you have.
Develop the ability to concentrate well
Concentration is very important. It’s one of those skills that some people are fortunate enough to develop early in life. Others have to learn it later on. Because they have to break their bad habits first, it’s a lot more difficult.
Remember that the completion of any task is like a race. You have a finish line you want to get to in the least possible time. Any deviation from the path you select will increase the amount of time it takes to reach that point.
Keep pushing on winning projects
I had a salesman you could read like a book. He’d walk up to me with a deal and I could see how he felt about it in his eyes. If he wasn’t sure, his eyes were blank. But when he sensed he had a customer who was ready to buy, his eyes came alive with enthusiasm. His breathing became shorter and quicker. He sensed he had a winner and he was pumped!
When you have a project you can really get excited about, be persistent and stay with it. The longer you delay, the greater the chance of losing your enthusiasm.
Don’t pass up priority items
This is another reaffirmation. You’ve got to commit to doing things in a prioritized order. If some of those tasks are unpleasant or difficult, use the easier and more enjoyable tasks as a reward once you’re done with the unpleasant ones. This way you end your day on an upbeat note, doing something you like.
Find some creative time
For some it will be the morning. For others, the evening, after the hubbub of the day has died down. Whichever you choose, find a time to do your creative thinking. Make it a quiet time when you can think your ideas through and see which ones are worth pursuing and which aren’t.
Set deadlines
Deadlines give people focus. They clearly define a time frame within which certain things are to be accomplished. Set them for yourself and use them. Set them for others and expect them to be followed.
Listen actively
Here’s an area where virtually everyone could stand improvement. Life is hectic. The pace can be overwhelming. Often, we waste time because we only hear people, but we don’t stop to actually listen to what they’re saying.
There’s a big difference between hearing and listening. You can hear an old train go by and it’s just a train. But when you listen to an old train go by, you hear the steam, the pistons, the gears and wheels and the clickety-clack of the track. When you listen actively, you hear much more.
Don’t waste people’s time
Wasting other people’s time means you reduce their productivity. As the sales manager, you must make sure your sales operation moves swiftly.
The biggest complaint I hear from salespeople is how long it takes for management to get a deal through the sales office and the F&I Department. So make sure you and your people are up to speed and have the same sense of urgency for each deal that the salespeople have.
Next time: More ideas for improving time management
Author, speaker and educator, Gart Sutton has been retained by every major powersport manufacturer/distributor. He is a frequent keynote speaker for national motorcycle conventions and state Motorcycle Dealer Association events. Visit

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