April 3, 2006: A final glance at time management strategies

The value of planning and identifying times that should not be planned out are all part of successful time management strategies.
There are a number of self-help publications that deal with time management. I’ve distilled the essence of some of those books into the points we’ve covered in this series. This is the last such installment.
Set aside the trivial matters
Whatever it is, it’s not important enough to interrupt your day. It could be junk mail, magazine articles, low-priority mail, etc. These things will wait until you can find a pocket of time that you can devote to it. Then you can take care of everything at once.
Learn to relax on your off days
Most sales managers are type-A personalities. We are doers, achievers. We’re intense, always on the go. We have a difficult time relaxing. But you’ve got to learn how.
Use the same technique you learned about finding “pockets of time” to do the really important things. Relaxing is a really important thing. Find a pocket of time and try to just do nothing. It’s hard at first. But you will learn. And you won’t believe how good it feels when the tension starts to drain from your body.
Recognize that some of your time will be spent on activities outside your control
If you can’t control something, don’t let it get to you. If you are forced into an unproductive meeting, don’t fret about it. Live and let live. Don’t let it affect your attitude.
Continuously ask yourself, “What is the best use of my time right now?”
Have you ever found yourself standing there going to pieces? Whenever you catch yourself overwhelmed or overloaded, ask yourself, “What’s the best use of my time right now?” Ask that question throughout the day and see if it doesn’t give you some better direction.
Learn the value of planning
Let me tell you about my friend, Homer. Homer is rich. He planned it that way and he made it happen. He’s got a 13,000-square-foot house on nine acres just outside of San Francisco. Homer’s about my age, but he’s not any smarter than I am. Actually, that’s not true. He isn’t any more intelligent than I am. But he’s obviously a lot smarter.
Homer believed in planning everything out and putting it in writing. Every evening after work, he’d set aside a pocket of time, sit down and write out his plans.
Back in 1980, Homer came up with an idea for a smaller computer. He started a company called Fortune Systems right there on his kitchen table. Homer didn’t know that much about computers. But he had an idea. He knew what he wanted and he had his plans. So, he hired technical specialists to come in and design what he wanted. Just like he’d planned it.
Homer needed venture capital to get his company started. He planned and planned how to get it. Then, when the time came, he just followed his plans and the checks started coming in. He could see his company growing. He planned for it, and it happened. He could see the company going public, and it went public. He could see himself selling out and retiring. That’s exactly what happened.
So, what’s the difference between Homer and you or me? Homer used his time exactly as he saw best. There was a time to dream. He dreamed. When it came time to plan, he planned. And when it was time to do, he did.
Homer made good use of his time. And now he has more time on his hands than any of us.
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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