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On Monday morning, you look at your calendar for the week, and there it is, with a big red circle around it - a reminder that your territory expansion plan is due on the sales manager's desk by Friday morning. You've completed much of the preliminary work; but you still have a dozen or so customers to contact, some figures to compile, and a spreadsheet analysis to prepare.

It would make sense to get the project finished, get it out of the way, and not have to worry about it all week; but Mondays are especially hectic. You have a weekend's-worth of e-mails to read and replies to compose; just as many phone messages to review and return calls to make. And besides, you have two pending deals to keep track of - deals you expect will close at any moment - and make sure they don't get bogged down.

Without question, there are too many distractions for you to give your undivided attention to completing the territory plan. Logic would suggest that tomorrow would be a better day to finish it.

What happens when Tuesday rolls around? Tuesdays aren't immune to phone calls and e-mails; and you're busy with other things. One of the deals you expected to close on Monday did indeed close. In order to ensure that the implementation of the sale goes smoothly, you have a number of follow-up activities to attend to. And the other sale you expected to close...you need to keep tabs on that, as well. It appears that there are as many distractions on Tuesday as there were on Monday. Perhaps Wednesday would be a better day to finish up the territory plan.

You know where this is going, don't you? Before you know it, it's Thursday and you still haven't finished the plan. Is Thursday a better day than Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday to complete it? No. In fact, it's a worse day because now you're under time pressure you didn't have earlier in the week. Additionally, you're frustrated and angry with yourself for putting the task off until the last minute.

The decision to postpone the completion of the territory plan from Monday to Tuesday, and from Tuesday to Wednesday was based on the perception that each subsequent day would be less busy and would allow you to devote undistracted attention to the plan-a strategy which, logic suggests, would enable you to work more productively. But, was it logic, or was it procrastination cloaked by a self-serving perception?

The way you perceive the things around you has a direct bearing on the activities in which you choose to engage, which in turn, impacts your productivity. When you're making decisions about where to invest your time and energy, make sure that your perception of the situation reflects things as they really are...and does not distort them to support, at the expense of long-term productivity, a course of action that in the moment would be considered to be more desirable.

- John Martin


Executive Workshop Join us for this two hour interactive workshop. You will discover strategies to effectively manage your salespeople past the barriers that have been holding them back and onto the success they want and the success your business deserves. Learn More >>

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