How to Manage Your Time When Your Schedule is Unpredictable

time management for salespeople

Unpredictability is part of the beauty of sales. Rather than being cooped up behind a desk, you get to drive around town and meet a variety of people in the process. Each day is different because each day holds new interactions. It’s hard to get bored with a job when no two days look the same.

But what happens when that unpredictability turns into un-productivity?

Maybe you get a last minute request from management. Maybe a client has a problem they need solved. Maybe there’s an issue with paperwork you need to fix. Maybe heavy traffic just throws off your entire day. Once you get behind, it seems you’ll never catch up and finish the day you planned.

But you scheduled your day, right? How did it spiral out of control?

When Customers Start Managing Your Time

Even the best salespeople fall victim to the biggest time drain: Customers. You’ve been highly productive, booking appointments and selling each way you turn. In fact, you’ve sold so much that now you have a ton of customers who see you as their point person.

Related: 3 Ways Sales Reps Can Maximize Time Between Meetings

That means you get the calls fielding questions and troubleshooting. Now, instead of prospecting, you’re dealing with the customers you already have. You’ve become bogged down with the minutiae of servicing the product as opposed to selling the product.

Appointments are interrupted and your train of thought derailed. How do you get back on track with the sales pace you were keeping not so long ago?

Tips for Reclaiming Your Unpredictable Schedule

There’s something to be said for managing the unpredictability each day holds. No two days look alike, but your day needs parameters.

Designate Your Time

Start by sectioning your day into tasks. For example, block off 9:00am-11:00am as your sales call time each day. You obviously won’t call the same people each morning, but now you have a set time for prospecting via phone calls. The more you can designate times of day for particular tasks, the more you control your use of time.

Delegate Your Tasks

Interruptions challenge your ability to maintain these time blocks. The solution? Delegate the challenges. If you spend a lot of time providing customer support, hire an administrative assistant to field those calls. Just set up a call-forwarding service to the assistant, particularly during hours you’ve set aside for something else. In doing so, you’ve taken away a distraction for your sales call time each morning without missing any sales opportunities.

Related: Time is Money: 4 Ways to Reduce Costs for Your Salespeople

If an assistant isn’t an option, choose a service that filters which calls come through to your phone. If you have prospects you’re waiting to hear from, use an app that will allow only those calls to come through. If you have particularly draining clients, set those calls to go directly to voicemail.

Monitor Your Time

If you’re managing a sales team, use the CallProof app to help your sales team monitor their time. You may notice these same patterns. If their sales numbers have dropped, maybe they’re spending a too much time on the phone with current clients. See how you can help them implement these strategies to delegate their roadblocks to selling.

Planning Your Day

Distractions are the biggest obstacle to a productive day. Decide when you want to to deal with what. Then use these ways to channel the distractions to the right person, or at least the right time frame.

Whether you hire an assistant or just delay talking to high-maintenance clients until you have the head-space to deal with them, distractions will continue to come. You just have to learn how and when to handle them.

How do you manage the distractions in your day? Leave your best tips in the comments below.