Stretched. Hanging by a limb. Two phrases I seem to be using on a daily basis to describe my state of being. I don’t think I’m any different than any other working mom today. I have a 5 month old (who likes long late night chats) a two year old (who just lives for the mornings), a growing and thriving business, a husband who travels darn near every week of the year, a house to clean, dinner to make, yada yada. It’s a sob story really, and lately I’ve been sitting around feeling sorry for myself that I can’t get it all done as perfectly as I envision. I fully admit I have been challenged with time management. It may have to do with the fact that I didn’t just ease my way back into work after bringing home a new baby…I did a cannonball on the deep end. We hired 3 new sales reps and launched a brand new sales strategy, all the while starting a remodel of a new 5500 square foot office space. All of this means constant travel, meetings and evaluation of twice as many people. But I’m not complaining! Just stating the facts. Secretly I wouldn’t have it any other way. Nevertheless, as I was having another one of my meltdowns yesterday because I had no idea how I was going to get my 100 mile long to-do list accomplished, it hit me that I probably needed to stop trying to do it all myself! Wow…what a concept. delegate, outsource, maybe try to prioritize? They seem so simple and easy, but it takes time to do that and when you’re in a state of panic trying to hold your head above water and get things accomplished all reason tends to fly out the window.

So, I’m dedicating this first blog post that I’ve written in eons to time management (ironic as I clearly haven’t managed my time well enough to WRITE a blog post in ages, but there I go beating myself up again) as it pertains to hotel sales. Phew…big topic, so let’s jump in.

Have you ever had so much to accomplish in a day that you felt paralyzed by your “to-do” list? I’ve seen many hotel sales managers struggle with prioritizing and knowing where to begin. Or, how when you have something on your task list that you just absolutely dread?  Have you ever purposely avoided it by extending your task list, or conveniently having other pop-up tasks that needed to be done right now?  Don’t worry…you don’t have to answer that out loud.

I ran across an old notebook from my hotel sales manager days, and found an old to-do list (one example of many. I am such a “list” person):

Hotel Sales Time Management Task List

Hotel Sales Time Management Task List

I’m certain there were a laundry list of other things I did that day, and that is why I did not get to cross off “prospecting” on the list. I’m sure I had every intention of completing this task list when I wrote it (usually the night before), and then upon arrival to the hotel was pulled into other “things” throughout the day. This is so typical. Did you know that the average hotel sales manager spends less than 8 hours a week making sales prospecting calls? Wowza! I’m sure everyone reading this is an exception to that. That can’t be right, can it?! I actually think that is being gracious from what I’ve seen in the several hotel sales offices that I have been in over the past 7 years as a consultant. These aren’t terrible sales people…they just need help managing time appropriately.

A few tips for managing time in a hotel sales office environment that I try to take with me”
1. Schedule prospecting calls to be the first thing you do each morning – get the hard stuff out of the way first thing in the day when you’re fresh and on your “A” game.
2. Keep your task list reasonable – you will not get an award for the longest “to-do” list. You will get rewarded for setting priorities that align with your organization’s goals
3. When prioritizing your day make revenue generation activities #1 always – to simplify, one of our core values at Plan B is “always add value”. Know what adds value to your hotel and make those tasks priority each and every day.
4. Find a way to delegate or outsource the activities that are not productive – get ready for the shameless plug here. Maybe outsourcing the bulk of prospecting calls is best so you can focus on generating revenue by building relationships and connecting with the most viable leads for your hotel.
5. Eliminate the “time sucks” out of your day, or figure out a way to manage them more effectively. – Sorry, there is just no elegant way to put it.  Whether it’s a colleague that likes to chat your ear off, or the temptation of checking facebook every 15 minutes…identify where you spend those extra minutes that you could be putting to better use. Be honest with yourself, and make a concerted effort to change those bad habits.

I admit, writing about time management in sales is really my therapy. It allows me the chance to reflect and realize that I’m not so bad when it comes to my unsavory time management practices of late. I just need to regroup and pull myself together. We all have a million things to accomplish. If you’re having the same challenges as I am, let’s make a pact and get onboard together. If we do just one of the five tips listed above this week…we’ll be a step closer to accomplishing something big this year! Hey what do ya know…I already made it happen. I shut down email, blocked off these last two hours to write and the post is complete. Ahhhhh.