Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Time Wasted?

I sometimes wonder if the Internet is helping or hurting our productivity as salespeople.

The answer? All depends on how you use it.

Email is essential in my work world.

Social Media has opened doors that were previously locked tight.

But there are some dangers too as outlined in this piece from

Fighting the Time Bandits
by Michael Dalton Johnson
Work eight hours a day. That's it. The rest of the day is yours.

You can get a lot done in eight hours. In fact, eight hours is an eternity. If you don't believe this, fly coach for eight hours seated next to a crying infant. You'll get a keen understanding of just how long it is.

Consider the time you devote to productive work as your "Golden Eight." Golden because time is indeed money especially if you are in sales.

Working a solid, focused eight hours can be difficult. Every day time bandits knock on your door. Members of this mob include personal phone calls and texting, bull sessions with co-workers, checking personal email, looking for lost things, (Highly productive people have clean and well-organized desks.) personal errands, long breaks and longer lunches...the list goes on.

It all adds up. Research shows that, on average, salespeople waste two hours a day. This works out to be a startling three months a year! How much can you sell in three months?

By far the biggest time bandit is the Internet. While the web is an indispensable business, communication, education and research tool, it is also highly addictive. Like most addictions, it can devour your precious time, energy and productivity and, by extension, your income.

Take it from a recovering Internet addict, if you are serious about increasing your productivity you will avoid these Internet time bandits:

Social Networking. Sure it's fun to share photos and news with friends and family but it also diminishes your productivity. Do it after hours.

Online Videos. That hilarious video of the cute little kitten playing ping pong is a must see... but not during the Golden Eight you've devoted to work.

News and Blogs. Offering lively writing, lots of photos and tempting links to other sites and news items, these are powerfully addictive. Stay off them during work.

Shopping. The Internet is open 24 hours a day. Shop before or after work hours.

Surfing the web. There's a lot out there to see. It's interesting and entertaining but a pointless drain on your precious time.

All That Other Stuff. Online games, auctions, adult sites, chat rooms, job sites, dating sites, vacation and travel sites are all major workplace no-no’s.

Carpe Diem! Each morning take a few moments to write down what you want to accomplish that day. This does not have to be an hour-by-hour work plan. It can simply state the work activities that will give you the highest return on your time. Allow yourself a little flexibility, but follow your plan.

You'll be on your way to much greater productivity. You'll enjoy the feeling of knowing you've put in an honest and productive eight hours. You'll look forward with much greater appreciation to the 16 hours left for rest, relaxation, friends, family and maybe a little time on the Internet.

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