We all know we spend a lot of time answering email and chat messages from teammates. But did you know it can be as much as 28% of your day?
Then we spend another 23 hours per week on average in either scheduled or spur-of-the-moment meetings, usually on a video screen these days. That’s more than half of a 40-hour work week (as if anyone has those anymore).
Who has time to get work done?
Add to that a world where you’re under increased pressure to show results and drive growth, especially post-COVID. It’s no wonder more and more people are stressed and exhausted and looking for ways to save time and strike a better balance.
The good news is that it can be done. It just takes the right mix of good habits and good tools to help your team run like clockwork and thrive in this increasingly fast-paced new environment. Following these tips can help set you on the right path.
Block off time on your calendar
With all of those meetings, impromptu or otherwise, it can be beneficial to your success – and your sanity – to reserve time just for focus. In psychology, there’s a principle called “flow” that describes becoming completely immersed in an activity. Achieving a flow state can be rewarding, but it takes time and concentrated attention.
If you want to “get in the zone” or achieve flow, block off focus time on your calendar – time when you don’t schedule or accept meeting invites, and when you turn off email and message notifications for a while. Use that time for your sales prospecting or some other activity that requires your full attention. Let everything else wait for a little while.
Schedule time for email
It’s tempting to read and deal with emails as they come in, but that’s actually a time waster. For every break in your flow, it can take anywhere from 1 to 23 minutes to recover. That’s a lot of lost time. According to psychologists, what happens is that when you’re thinking about one task and another task interrupts, you reduce your ability to think about each of them.
Simply scheduling time every hour to read email instead of looking at it as it arrives in your inbox can be a time-saver – up to 21 minutes per day. However, balance that against the expectations of your role. If you’re receiving emails that require immediate response and that can’t sit, then turning off notifications may not be the right thing for you.
Make good use of your tools
Technology can be a sales team’s best friend. When your email program, CRM, and marketing automation platform all work together, you can save time and better reach your buyers.
As part of its mission to help businesses grow and thrive, Dun & Bradstreet just rolled out a new complimentary plugin for Microsoft Outlook called D&B Email IQ. The plugin brings company and contact data to a pane in your Outlook desktop app so that you don’t have to go outside of your email to hunt for prospects. You can get recommendations for additional contacts at a company and similar companies to contact, powered by machine learning and natural language processing.
The intent behind the plugin is to help sales leaders and their teams use email in their prospecting more efficiently to save time and drive growth.
Make efficient use of meetings
Make sure that meetings will be a good use of your time by having a clear agenda beforehand and sticking to it. Also set a time limit for meetings and stick to that. Don’t run over.
Both of these tactics communicate to meeting participants that their time is valuable and that you’re committed to using it as effectively as possible. Not only will you make your own day run more smoothly, but you’ll win respect and improve business relationships.
Another key aspect of a successful meeting is preparation. In addition to having your presentation ready and rehearsed, know who will be in the meeting and research a little about them ahead of time. With D&B Email IQ, you get a reminder 15 minutes ahead of time in your Microsoft Outlook that lists your meeting participants, with available information about them to help you avoid going into meetings cold.
Get the Complimentary Install
Why not give D&B Email IQ a try and see how it can smooth out some of the wrinkles in your day? Better time management – and account data – for your Microsoft Outlook is just a click away.
The information provided in articles are suggestions only and based on best practices. Dun & Bradstreet is not liable for the outcome or results of specific programs or tactics. Please contact an attorney or tax professional if you are in need of legal or tax advice.