If you’re not living up to your potential as a sales rep, a lack of time could be one of the root causes
of this problem. Salespeople who are adrenaline junkies pack their schedules with calls and presentations and have no time to consider ways to work more effectively. Other salespeople are so invested in the collaborative culture at work, they’re unable to step back and allow for “deep work” – as described by Cal Newport. If you’re suffering from an adrenaline addiction or losing too much time to collaboration, check out Laura Vanderkam’s tips on how to improve your productivity.

Regardless of how long your to-do list is or how overbooked you are with team projects, you still need solo time. These quiet periods allow you to step back and consider the bigger picture. If you want to escape the rat race your life has become, or if you simply want to be more effective as a salesperson, you need to schedule periods of uninterrupted work time.

Pull Back

You can start your improvement process by taking an honest look at your daily routine. Are you saying yes too frequently to clients in order to keep them happy? Are you participating in too many team meetings where your input is not crucial? Learn how to say no, politely, in order to take control of your schedule and free up blocks of time.

Set a Time Period

If you’re a lark, you’re up early anyway. You can’t make calls or schedule meetings with most of your prospects or clients at this time of day, but you can use this time for thinking, creating and discovering. Another potential source of “deep work” time is your commute. If you’re spending an hour or two on public transportation, resolve to use that time for strategizing. Allowing yourself uninterrupted time to write a detailed proposal a client is waiting for or to come up with a better way to manage your leads and prospects can generate big rewards.

Give Permission

Your deep thinking project may be all about a topic that’s important to you. For example, you might have identified a better way to communicate with prospects in your industry and you want to pitch the idea to the boss. Since this isn’t a project your boss assigned, it’s easy to let the idea slide. Don’t fall into that trap. Give your idea or project legitimacy by putting it on your schedule and devoting a specific time period to complete it. Don’t waste the time or allow yourself to be distracted by email or what your friends are doing on your social sites.

If you don’t take control of your schedule and set aside time to think critically about what you want to accomplish, nobody else will. The best way to make meaningful change and improvements to your work habits is to develop goals, give them the same kind of time and attention you give to your important projects, and stay focused.