How to avoid those weapons of mass distraction

When you’re in sales, life sends you things to distract you and put you off your game. Here’s how to stay out of their way.

We all go to work from 9 till 5. OK, fair enough, 8 till 6, sometimes more. But how come some people seem to do more with those hours than others? How come some people float to the top while others run around stressed all the time. It’s likely those people who do well are better at focusing on what they have to do, avoiding the many distractions that office life throws at you. If you’re one of those salespeople that easily gets distracted, here are some ideas to think about.

Don’t be a slave to email

The number 1 disruptor of a productive day is email. Sure, you need it to do your job properly, but if you don’t manage it correctly you become a slave to it. How often are you about to make an important call, but then you hear that beep from your email? Suddenly you’ve lost half an hour and you haven’t made the call!

Try setting certain times of the day to answer emails. Outside of those times, turn off those notifications. Watch that call rate rise.

Package up your admin

Actually, while we’re there, plan a time to do other jobs. Some tasks, like following up on calls and meetings, or entering data into your CRM, should be done in batches. Rather than fill in your CRM straight after your call, do all the forms together at the end of the day. The best time to make a call is straight after you’ve just made one. You have momentum, don’t derail yourself.

Put your phone away

The other massive distraction to a productive day is that little black rectangle sitting on your desk, always within reach and always in your range of eyesight. While you’re supposed to be making calls and closing deals, your phone is flashing with all kinds of temptations. WhatsApp messages, your best mate publishing an Instagram story, an intriguing looking Twitter post from Donald Trump, they’re all waiting to put you off your game.

When you need to focus, turn off your notifications. Better yet, keep your phone in your pocket.

Avoid office gossip

I know you want to hear how Jo’s date last night went, but please, save it till lunchtime.

Getting caught up in long and pointless conversations with your team is one of the joys of office life, but it’s also a major timesuck. When it’s time to knuckle down, you have to ignore the latest piece of office gossip and get to work. A good way of showing people you’re not open for business is by putting on headphones. Otherwise, a polite ‘Sorry, I’m busy’ will suffice.

On the other hand, don’t be the one that causes distractions to others. Keep in mind that your colleagues have jobs to do too. Even if you want to have a ‘victory lap’ and shout about your latest closing success, save it till lunchtime.

Good Housekeeping

How much time and focus do you waste looking for a piece of paper with important information on it? Or a Word document you need before you make the next call? Or a pen?

Keep your workspace, desk and computer tidy and organised, and you’ll be more effective at keeping your focus.

Meetings

How many times have you sat in meetings thinking your time would be much better served elsewhere? How many times have you sat there wondering what you were doing there in the first place?

When they’re not managed well, meetings are a massive timewaster. Try to keep meetings to a minimum, and when you do have one, only invite the people that actually need to be there. Try to keep them as short as possible, and as effective as possible. Less talk, more action.

How about you?

All these things that derail your day can be avoided with a bit of planning and thought. Cut down on those distractions. Raise your focus. Reap the rewards.

How about you? What other distractions do you find in the office? What tips do you have to avoid them? Let us know in the comments below.

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