Anthony Iannarino is an international speaker, bestselling author, sales leader, and entrepreneur. He posts daily sales tips and insights to The Sales Blog.

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Don’t Allow Work to Get In the Way of Your Real Work

alt text image of breaking through an obstacle

Work often gets in the way of your real work. There is a never-ending stream of incoming requests for your time, your attention, your energy, and your labor. For most of us, scratching one item off a task list only causes the replacement by two or more additional tasks.

It is a race that one must run, even if there is no way to win. If there were a way to win, however, it would be to run the shorter, more important legs of the race. While the marathon cannot be completed, the sprints can be run to completion.

If you were to make a list of all the things you must do, some of the tasks would be essential, critical to your success. Other tasks, done or left undone, would go unnoticed. Many would be necessary, even though they would contribute almost nothing to the outcomes you need to produce, nor would they be instrumental in reaching your goals. This being true, your time, attention, energy, and labor needs to be employed in what is critical to your success.

If you are in sales, there are a million distractions available to you, many of them being necessary, even though the time spent and energy depleted would have been better invested in the few things that matter. The email from Human Resources explaining a new change to the self-service portal might be interesting, but it isn’t necessary that you read it unless and until you need to use it for some reason. The client request for a report is undoubtedly important, but owning the outcomes is not the same as owning the task, and could easily be delegated (and should be). Your expense report is due on Friday, and it’s Monday morning at 9:00 AM, which should prevent you from spending sales hours on an administrative task, even one that is necessary.

The work that is your real work in sales is creating new opportunities and pursuing those opportunities. While there are all kinds of tasks, you might do, and many that are necessary, your success is mostly going to be measured by how well you do producing these two outcomes, and predominately the second one.

You cannot allow work to prevent you from doing your work.

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