Donna hated feeling like this. As hard as she tried, she couldn’t figure out what she was supposed to do when she got back to the office after being out for a couple of days making calls on new prospects and checking up on some existing clients. Her to do list had a bunch of things scribbled on it, but Donna didn’t know which items were most important or when the people she had been talking to were expecting her to follow up.
She had a nagging feeling, a frustrating fear that she was going to drop the ball and mess up the first step on what might become a lucrative sale. She couldn’t put her finger on just what was bothering her, and when her phone rang, the feeling went away, even if it was for just a little while. But Donna knew that everything on her list was now a top priority. That was the only way she could feel like she was not disappointing a prospect or a client.
Too many times people rely on the To Do List to capture follow-up actions and commitments, only to find that the list is missing some key ingredients necessary for it to really be an effective tool. First, most lists do not have dates and time on them for the tasks to be completed. Instead the list is just a compilation of necessary tasks that are more or else scheduled to get done whenever. Another ingredient that’s often missing is the mutual commitment by the other party to mirror the same expectation of time and participation. A To Do List might be fine for you, but does your prospect agree with the urgency that you are feeling? There is also the reality that people can start listing things on a tablet and then misplace the thing. When that happens, recovery is a real memory test, and frankly, one most people fail. Lastly, Donna seemed to work with the mindset that all things were of equal importance, meaning everything on her To Do List was a top priority. That can never be true.
A simple rule might have saved Donna from herself. It’s a rule many people resist, but after implementation, they find it provides relief from that sense of impending doom over missing or dropping an important ball. The rule, essentially, is to make a habit of scheduling everything into your calendar as an appointment. Don’t let the To Do List fool you into thinking you will get it done. Over the years, we’ve seen that when professionals make appointments for almost everything they do, they are much more effective and reliable than those who continue to trust the list, or worse yet, rely on their memory to keep things on track. Schedule return calls, sending materials as a follow up, next steps of the sales process, writing agreements, everything. If it is important enough to do, it is also important enough to put on a schedule.
As Donna needed to learn- the calendar is a tool that can be utilized for more than appointments between people. Is this something you are already doing or something that maybe you should be doing? Where can you start to use your calendar more to your advantage?
"The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities."
- Stephen Covey.
Your Top 3 Goals & Tactics for the Week
LAST WEEK: Update us on how things went last week with your stated Goals and GD Tactics.
THIS WEEK: Please share your Top 3 Goals for this week and the GD tactics you plan to deploy.