Do you think time management tips are ideas to help you cram more into your day? Are you stressed out, exhausted, and irritable because you’re working so hard? It’s time for a time out.

I hate to tell you this, but you’re focusing on the wrong things. If you think you just need to figure out how to cram more in your day you’ve taken a wrong approach. You’re focusing on efficiency.

Efficiency comes from doing things in the least amount of time. That’s a good thing, but it isn’t the only consideration. If you can develop ways of approaching important tasks in less time you definitely want to do that.

But the more important question for you to answer is whether you should even be doing the task. That’s where effectiveness comes into play. Effectiveness is about doing the right things. And the right things are those actions that produce the greatest results.

You have a finite amount of time just like everyone else and you have to get the most value from your time. That means that your main focus should be on taking the actions that produce the greatest results now. It’s very easy to get caught up thinking you have to take care of a bunch of mundane details that no one but you would ever care if they were done.

Should a sales person be most concerned about having neatly organized client files with meticulously organized notes, or should they be concerned about the next most valuable contact they should make? Sounds pretty obvious, but how often do you allow hours to get wasted away on insignificant tasks? Then there’s always the gray area where you get caught up on activities that appear to be productive, but they aren’t.

Should you spend an hour cold calling from a purchased list, or should you attend a breakfast where you’re prospects are likely to attend? The breakfast is the obvious choice for the most effective development of your time management skills. Yet frequently sales people will get caught up doing these low value activities when they could be involved in a high-value activity instead.

Effectiveness results from both focus and prioritization. You have to focus on the actions that produce the greatest results. And you have to prioritize your actions so you always have time for the actions with the highest value, and you never have time for low value activities.

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