A Progress Report on My Seller’s Challenge


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Having outlined my intention to “Balance my Wheel,” starting with my Professional segment, last month I declared I would limit my work week to 36 hours and keep track of weekly objectives to stay focused. I also invited you to comment on what I’m trying to do, and/or publicly declare what you would be taking on as a personal improvement/balancing goal.

How’d I do? Not that well. You may recall, I gave up on the idea of logging activities and elected to layout weekly goals/objectives to focus my time. The first week, I wrote down 6 objectives for the week. By Wednesday, I’d completed 2 of the 6 but also managed to lose the list itself! Grade for the week: C-/D+.

Week 2, I found my list, added to it and completed 2 more objectives, finishing 4 of 8, over the two-week period. Overall, staying on task in week 2 was pretty much a disaster in advance of Dreamforce, the Salesforce.com mega-expo/conference, then attending the show in San Francisco in Week 3. Overall grade for weeks 1-3: C-.

This may seem lenient, or generous, considering I only completed half of what I’d set out to do. But the goal was to limit total hours to 36 and, for the most part, I did this. I didn’t work evenings, or weekends. That’s the good news.

The bad news is I made little progress on my success metric of creating more digital content. Granted, Dreamforce is a bit of an anomaly, but there are always anomalies, special projects, or unforeseen/urgent tasks that crop up. However, this is now behind me and I have one more week to draft 2 blogs and 2 videos. And my public declaration is pressuring me to accomplish these next week, the exact positive (public) pressure I hypothesized when starting this mission!

Another plus, in addition to positive public pressure, I invited Jill Konrath to speak at the Dreamlounge we were hosting during Dreamforce. We agreed I’d interview Jill about her latest book (her 4th) More Sales in Less Time, so she sent me a copy in advance.

Though no readers of this column wrote to suggest any tools for tracking time, the first few chapters of MSLT explain why we become addicted to email, notifications, etc. (dopamine blasts), and are full of helpful apps I’d never heard of (SaneBox, Freedom, Pocket, and more). Jill has done a much more thoroughly researched exploration of why we busy ourselves, lose focus, and get frazzled. I wholeheartedly recommend it to you.

Gerhard Gshwandtner, publisher of “Selling Power,” also spoke at our Dreamlounge. One take-away, “The bigger the Why, the bigger the Try.” Simon Sinek says you need to start with the “why.” Gerhard and Jill both say you need to start with your why—your reason for wanting to balance your wheel. I’ve spent a fair amount of time pondering this for myself. Where I’ve gotten to so far, leaving things better than I found them, including myself. I’d say it’s a core value of mine, and a driver for wanting to attain balance.

Overall, by making a conscious and public declaration, I’ve given this time management goal more attention, and encountered a couple “gifts” along the way, that I find both encouraging and motivating. I’m looking forward to completing my tasks for the month next week (week 4) and getting on to my next segment: Family.

I’m an empty-nester, with kids and grandkids living several hours away. I generally see them once a quarter, or so. With some of the time I’m saving each week from my reduced work schedule, I’m going to dedicate 2 hours/week to doing something with them. Could be writing them letters, doing FaceTime sessions, planning our next get together, or something else. But scheduling it in each week is way more than I’ve been doing and 2 hours just doesn’t seem like that much.

Here’s my public declaration for the Family segment of my wheel:

Goal: 2 hours/week dedicated to connecting to my two daughters’ families.

Success looks like: Consistent outreach and determining what would be fun together.

Metrics: Tracking and recording actual time spent connecting with kids/grandkids each week.

Goal: I also have an older brother and other family members to connect with but, for starters, I want to “pump air” into this segment focusing on my girls and their families. When we get a pattern established, I’ll enlarge the my family outreach. For the record, I do this periodically, but it’s hit or miss. I could start here by more regularly following/participating with those on Facebook.

Success: Connecting on a regular basis with immediate family members. Increasing quantity as well as quality time. Note: Since we recently relocated to Palm Springs, as a couple (my primary relationship) has included plenty of together time. However, to be clear, you’ll want to begin your own assessment of your family segment at home and expand out from there.

Looking forward to hearing what progress and declarations you’re making! 

Barry Trailer
Barry has been involved in complex B2B sales for over 30 years and is intrigued with how it's changed/changing and what this means to Sales as a Profession (SaaP). Salesware, the analytics company he co-founded, was acquired by Goldmine Software in 2000 and his next company, CSO Insights with Jim Dickie, was acquired by Miller Heiman Group in 2015. He has twice been published by, and been a keynote for, Harvard Business Review, and is author of Sales Mastery, a novel.


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