- Create your to-do list the night before so you’re ready to go for the following day. If you wait until the beginning of the day to make an agenda, then you wind up wasting precious time thinking about your tasks instead of completing them. Some even find it helpful to create to-do lists for the entire week and then break them down day by day before the start of the work week. Do whatever works best for you, but preparing your list the night before will help you get a jump on those tasks and responsibilities right away.
- Organize and prepare necessary supplies for the next day. For example, if you have an opportunity meeting, gather your notes, any printed materials from the company, some sample products if applicable, business cards, etc. Pack everything up so you can simply grab it and go. Also, consider packing your lunch the night before and choosing your wardrobe before you go to sleep. This is another strategy that will reduce your stress and make you feel less rushed first thing in the morning.
- Get started earlier. Do you find that you are perpetually running 5-10 minutes behind schedule? Do yourself a favor and wake up a little bit earlier. Your energy level won’t be affected, as your body won’t notice waking up a mere 15 minutes earlier. However, you will be allowing yourself that extra time to decompress with that first cup of coffee or rehearse that sales pitch one more time before you begin your day. Give it a try for at least 2 weeks, taking mental note of how it positively affects your productivity.
- Make a schedule and stick to it. Scheduling your time is one thing, but adhering to it can prove to be quite difficult, especially with other personal and professional obligations thrown into the mix. Do your best to stick to your schedule, and even when something doesn’t go as planned, go back to your written schedule and rearrange it to make up for whatever time was lost. This way, you won’t always feel like you’re putting things off.
- Make quicker decisions. This mostly applies to more trivial decisions like what you will eat for lunch or which font to use for your blog. Deciding faster about minor things will help you build and maintain your daily momentum as well as increase productivity.
- Do the hardest task first. Tackling the most difficult task or project first prevents procrastination. Furthermore, if you save it for last, it’ll be on your mind the whole time you’re working on other things, which can take away your focus from where it needs to be. Get the hardest one out of the way, and when it’s done, take pleasure in knowing that it’s one less thing to worry about.
- Check email at the end of your to-do list. If you’re like most people, the accumulation of emails in your inbox can become overwhelming if you don’t stay on top of it. Make it a point to check your email and take action on pressing business after you’ve finished your daily to-do list. This allows you to start the day with a clean inbox (hopefully) and use your time sticking to your pre-set schedule.
- Reward yourself. Time management is hard work and requires self-discipline. This is not to be taken lightly, so when you’ve achieved your goals for the week or month, reward yourself as a motivator to continue your effective routine. Splurge on lunch by ordering a sandwich from your favorite deli, stop for a manicure on the way home at the end of the week, or see a movie with friends on the weekend. Anything that you will look forward to and won’t hinder your goals or progress will serve as a meaningful reward.
Dealing with the unexpected comes with the territory of being a direct seller, but in order to set yourself up for success, it is important to establish an effective routine. Routines allow you to be efficient, thorough, and comfortable with your job. Of course, any routine must be created with your personal work schedule and lifestyle in mind, but check out our list below to help you get started.