In Tuesday’s post we discussed the fact that “Left Laners” in traffic, as well as the “Left Laners” in sales can be very frustrating and impede your progress.

Today we will dig a little deeper into the third of our sales “Left Laners”: Poor Time Management.

I’ve often asked sales and sales leadership teams to list their top picks for areas in which they need the most coaching.  In every case, time management is among the top few.  It is a challenge that affects people across all industries.  I just looked on and found that there are currently 119,423 books listed on the subject of time management.  If the average book is around 60,000 words; there are probably 7,165,380,000 words on the subject – not including blogs.  I estimate that I read about 150 words per minute.  That means that I would have to read for about 90 years to read it all!

Not going to do it.  That would be bad time management.

But I will tell you the most common “Left Laners” when it comes to time management.

“Left Laner” Frustration: Scattered Thought Processes

Everyone has a certain amount of randomness in their thoughts.  Those who have too much thought randomness are quickly diagnosed by a physician as having ADHD.  My oldest daughter told me once that she does not have ADHD.  She has ADOS: Attention Deficit – Oooo Shiny!  My wife suffers from ADOS as well – but her malady is Attention Deficit – Oooo Shopping!

I have no such issues, and can truthfully say that rarely have – SQUIRREL!!!

Right Lane Passing Solution: End each day by making a list of 7 tasks you need to complete when you begin work again the next day.  Prioritize the list and forget about it until the morning.  You will sleep better because you will know that you already have things planned out for the next day.  On the next day, work the list in priority order. Close your office door and eliminate interruptions until your list has been completed.

“Left Laner” Frustration: Email alerts and social media

This is a big area that I have to watch out for personally.  If I open Outlook and try to work while it is running in the background it is almost impossible for me not to look at the emails when I hear the alert tone or see the pop up in the lower right hand corner of my screen.  Also, social media sites can be equally distracting to my work flow if I allow them to be.

However, I am proud that I really do have that particular situation under control now and – EMAIL!!!

Right Lane Passing Solution: Exercise the discipline to only check your email at certain times of the day.  Until that time, leave your email program closed.  Additionally there are some great email client programs out there that will do a great job of filtering your email separating the important from the unimportant.  There are even some email client programs in which you can forward an email to the future date on which you need to take action.  You may also have an administrative assistant who can check your email for you and make sure that you only deal with that which must be dealt with by you. Delegate – whether electronically or physically as much of your email as you can.

Reserve your business social media time to specific hours as well.  Always keep your personal social media time out of your most productive hours in your day.

“Left Laner” Frustration: Keeping too many items in your inbox.

Most of us have a very full inbox.  I have heard it estimated that 80 percent of what is there is not needed and will never be referred to again.

Right Lane Passing Solution: Use the TRAF system.

Throw it away.  Unless you need an item for record keeping purposes – get rid of it.

Relay it.  You should delegate all things unless they can or should be done only by you.  Make a list of those items – then give the rest away.  Share!

Action.  If it requires action – take that action immediately and be done with it.  Eliminating procrastination is one of the best ways to take back control of your time.

File it.  For those few items that you must keep for record purposes – file it.  The first choice, in my humble opinion, should always be an electronic copy.  Keep backup files.


What is your biggest time waster?  Mine is most – SQUIRREL!!!