Back in my days as VP of Sales, I used to say I could spend the entire day, every day, engaged in mail management. Every day I would get upwards of 30 voice mails, more than 50 emails, and a stack of paper that was responsible for the death of a small forest. But I quickly learned that spending too much time going through all of this “mail,” and reacting to events and tasks triggered by it, was not a very productive use of my time. My main job was to help my managers and sales associates to be as successful as possible. By spending my days consumed in mail management, I was busy, but I wasn’t being very productive.
The way I managed to be successful was to adopt the doctrine of SEDO – simplify, eliminate, delegate and outsource. There are certain tasks that we over complicate, making more work for ourselves. We need to find the simplest and most efficient way to accomplish certain job functions. We also need to eliminate or delegate certain tasks. So many of us are creatures of habit that we continue to do things that are either ineffective or no longer part of our job description, just because we’ve always done them. When I became a VP of Sales, I was certainly guilty of this at first, but I identified certain tasks to eliminate from my daily activities, and delegated others that needed to get done, but weren’t the best use of my time. Finally, when appropriate, you need to outsource certain functions. This is especially true for small business owners and one-man shops. There is only so much of us to go around, so we need to focus on the tasks that will help us grow our business, and hire competent third parties to do the rest.
These same rules apply to sales associates and non-selling professionals who are responsible for developing new business – the most important aspect of your job is filling the pipeline with good, qualified prospects. Any time spent not identifying or securing opportunities and appointments is time wasted. Unless you’re in front of clients or prospects, or trying to get in front of them, you are not focusing on your top priority. When you find you’re engaging in this type of self-destructive activity, just remember SEDO – simplify, eliminate, delegate and outsource.