Manage Your Travel Time

By Renee Houston Zemanski

“The old saying, ‘Plan your work and work your plan,’ still applies in today’s world of professional selling,” says Brian Jeffrey, president of Toronto-based SalesForce Training & Consulting Inc. “Have a checklist of the things, both personal and business, that you want to take with you on the road. I use a checklist to make sure I’ve included everything I need to make the planned sales calls.

“The trick to managing your time is to not manage your time but to manage your activities. I keep a daily to-do list of what needs to be accomplished and use the list to make sure I’m moving the sale forward.

“A to-do list and an appointment book are almost all you need to stay organized on the road. I say ‘almost’ because you also need discipline and personal commitment.

“After I’ve completed my to-do list, I use the rest of the evening for personal recreation so I’m fresh for the next day.

“Remember, you can’t manage time. We need to be organized to fill that time with productive activities.”

Here are more travel time-management tips:

1. Plan. You can’t do everything on the road. Make a list of tasks and think about what you will need to accomplish those tasks.

2. Block your time. Look at your time as a 24-hour cycle of fragments, not an eight-hour block of time. Realize that you have to take care of business, health and personal life. Break up your time into segments.

3. Look at logistics. Book flights early to save money and avoid indirect flights. Does the hotel have what you need to do your job, i.e. modem lines?

4. Play catch-up. Do things that you don’t have time to do at the office – return emails and phone calls, write expense reports or complete paperwork.

5. Trip build. Tag another trip to your present trip to save time and money.

6. Get to know coworkers and customers. Take time to discuss things without interruptions. Use breakfast meetings or drive time to brainstorm.