Here is a question that I recently received from a reader of this newsletter:

I want to get your opinion on ‘distractions.’  I was having a nice dialing session Thursday morning but my phone kept ringing in the background.  Most of these calls were from existing customers and I ended up spending a lot of time on Account Management issues. I never finished my prospecting calls and instead spent a lot of time doing customer service.

In today’s world there are so many distractions. Phones ringing, email, texts, social media, you name it… So many things can get in the way. On top of that, there are only so many hours in the day. How do you allocate those hours when you have too much to do and not enough time to do it? How do you decide what to do first? And, if you’re like a lot of high achievers, everything on your list is marked “High Priority.” What then?

Here is my main tool for budgeting time successfully. (I can get a little overwhelmed too.) The tool is easy to use and does not require complicated instructions. Nor does it require that you whip out your charge card.  Here is the secret to managing and prioritizing time: “Follow the Money.”

Make a list of every single thing that you need to do. Then prioritize that list according to which “to do” is closest to putting money in your pocket. Which ever is closest to putting money in your pocket, do that first. Then, look at your list again and determine which next “to do” is closest to putting money in your pocket. Do that next. And so on.

Following up on a proposal for example, is closer to money in your pocket than making a cold call. Calling an existing customer to ask for an additional order is closer to money in your pocket than calling a referral to introduce yourself. Making a cold call is closer to the money than doing your administrative tasks or account management.

Once you start following the money it is immediately obvious what you need to do next, and then next, and then next…

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