The Ultimate Reason You Need To Protect Your Days

Do you protect your days? If you give up days, you end up giving up weeks. It’s easy when you procrastinate one day, believing you have tomorrow, only to put off what you need to do when tomorrow suddenly arrives.

If you give up weeks, you end up giving up months. Giving up one-twelfth of a year with nothing to show for it is a much bigger mistake than giving up a week. Giving up a month means giving up one-third of a quarter, compressing the time available to turn in whatever result you are responsible for creating. Protect your days.

Giving up a quarter leaves you with a three-quarter year, depriving yourself of twenty-five percent of the time available to you. The odds are that if you give up days, you give up weeks, you give up months, and you wreck your year. In a fantasy movie, you would do well to name the dragon, “Procrastination: The Destroyer of Dreams.”

The Problem With Losing Time

The single problem with procrastinating and avoiding what you should be doing is that once you spend your time, you can no longer reclaim it. When you lose time, you shorten the amount of time you have left to do whatever it is you should have been doing. Reducing the time you have to accomplish something doesn’t feel threatening until your deadline closes in on you, and you recognize you no longer have the time you need.

If you want a recipe for stress and suffering, you can’t do much better than a looming deadline with too little time available to meet it, a uniquely human problem,  an unforced error, a problem you created for yourself.

A Little Closer, Closer

Selling is a unique role in the world of business. Outside of executive leadership, no other department or function has a financial goal and a deadline. No other role has a quota, and none is measured quarterly—or against their peers. While some areas of the business might have deadlines, they aren’t the same as creating and winning opportunities, something that salespeople tend to do alone. If operations fall behind, other people can help catch up. When you are behind on your quota, none of your peers can offer the assistance of selling for you.

The problem is that none of this feels like a problem now. There is rarely a day where procrastinating is a problem. So you didn’t create any new opportunities, and you didn’t move any deals forward, nor did you win an opportunity. You pay no penalty on any given day you spend in your inbox and on the web, which is not to say that you didn’t pay the price for that day. You paid twenty-percent of the time you had available for productivity for comfort, distraction, and novelty, none of which is going to help you in the future you are barreling headlong towards, gaining speed as you go.

Instead of being closer to your goals, you are one day further behind with fewer days available to you. You didn’t protect your days.

The Value of a Day

In life, you will be lucky to have about 30,000 days. You’ll have just under four thousand, three hundred Mondays, the day you complain about until you are down to your final one hundred and four. But that is perspective and one that may not compel you right now.

Hours make up days.

In a single day, you can dial one hundred and twenty phone numbers, leave a voicemail message for the hundred that didn’t answer, be rejected by ten of them, and have ten reasonably good conversations, two of which will turn into opportunities. You could also decide to make exactly ten calls, enough to say you made an effort, but one with no meaningful result.

One eight-hour day is enough time to develop a territory and account plan, outlining the work you need to do to effectively pursue your dream clients, creating new opportunities in a quarter. In half that time, you could research your dream client’s vertical, acquiring the data and a theory as to why your dream client needs to change, resulting in a slide deck worthy of being called an Executive Briefing.

Days make up weeks.

A full day provides enough time to do two hours of prospecting, an hour of nurturing your dream clients, an hour of research, two hours driving between meetings, and two one-hour client meetings. Repeating this day for five days would result in ten hours of prospecting, five hours of nurturing your dream clients, and five hours of research (enough time to plan to approach a vertical or prepare for sales calls), as well as ten sale meetings.

There is zero chance that the day or the week described above would be considered a “slow day” or a “bad day.”

Stringing Productive Days Together

How you build success is by consistently stringing together productive days to create a productive week. Cobbling together several productive weeks results in a productive month, which means good quarters and excellent years.

Of all the commodities on Earth, time is not one to trifle with. Unlike other commodities, like money, water, or pork bellies, once your time is gone, it is lost to you forever. You have as much as you have, but the amount is unknown to you. When you understand how little you have and how fast it dissolves, you do well to respect it. Don’t take it for granted. Time is a gift to those who appreciate it as such. Time is a problem for those who waste it.

Don’t give up any days, any weeks, any months, any quarters, or any years. Make them what you need them to be, and enjoy every minute of them. If you ever wanted more time, know that the time you have is all you’ve got. Protect your days.

Filed under: Productivity

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