How to Gain a Thirteenth Month This Year


Something lighter today, but nevertheless incredibly important!

Time is your most valuable resource and until you realize this you will continue to wonder where all your time goes.

If you consider those times in your life where you’ve experienced disappointments e.g. the lost sale, the breakdown of a relationship and ask yourself “If I’d had more time, (i.e. to prepare, to talk etc.) would the outcome have been different?” – the answer almost certainly will be YES!

Introducing the Ivy Lee System
There are many time management systems around; they usually involve attendance on training courses and the purchase of a vast amount of specially designed documentation, BUT – The Ivy Lee System, like all good ideas, is very simple and yet effective. It will  find you an extra hour a day, which is equivalent to an extra 20 hours a month – resulting in an extra month per year.

The Method
You must commit yourself to trying this system for a minimum of thirty days; thereafter I am confident you will never look back.

Week One: List out all the tasks you need to complete the next day  (rather like a” to do” list.)

It is advisable to do the next days at the end of each day.

Then prioritize those tasks – be careful not to give tasks a higher priority because you enjoy doing them (from experience it is often best to get those tasks you’re not that keen on, completed first – then you have the ‘most pleasant’ tasks left as an incentive.)

At the end of each day you may be left with tasks that you’ve not completed - the temptation (as with a to do list) is to automatically carry them over to the next day. A lot can happen in a day and tasks that are important today are not necessarily so tomorrow.

During any normal working day there will be an element of the unexpected – what you need to do in the first week is make a note of how much of your time was taken up with the unexpected.

Week Two: ‘Build in’ time for the unexpected

Continue as for week one, but also allocate time to handle the unexpected. How much time can be calculated from your first week’s activities?

In addition, during the day make a note of how long it took you to complete each task.

Week Three:  Make a habit of allocating time against each task

You will now have a fair indication of what you can achieve each day, including coping with the unexpected and how long it should take you; by allocating time to each task you will set yourself a target and as such will be more likely to complete all of your daily tasks.

Ask yourself three questions – When you have written your task list but before you prioritize them ask yourself:-

  • Do I need to do this? – If the answer is no – then delegate.
  • Do I need to do this today – (i.e. what will happen if I didn’t do it?) If the answer is no, why is it on your list?
  • Does doing this task add value to the company or me? If the answer is no then why are you even considering it?

By following the Ivy Lee System you now have 13 months to reach your annual target!

Finally, Ten Common Time Traps to be avoided

  • Desperately seeking what should not be lost – become more organized
  • Failure to do the job right the first the time -work to ‘Right First Time’ principles
  • Procrastination – get to the point
  • Unnecessary or unnecessarily long telephone calls – be succinct
  • Unnecessary or unnecessarily long meetings – be rigorous
  • Check lunches that last for two or more hours – be honest
  • Negative thinking – be positive
  • Driving time – plan
  • Unconfirmed appointments – be realistic
  • Laziness – be diligent. Productivity = results


The most important word in time and self-management is………NO!


News: February is going to be a very significant month over at Top Sales World and you will find all the details on Page 9 of this month’s magazine. (If you have already subscribed, then you will receive your copy later – if not, please register HERE)

Also inside, we offer you excellent articles from Jim Cathcart, Linda Richardson, Nancy Nardin and Dan McDade. Plus my “Uncut” column.

We interview globe-trotting David Yesford of Wilson Learning – “Enabling Sales Effectiveness in a Global Organization” – you will most definitely enjoy David’s words of wisdom if you are casting your eyes beyond your immediate commercial horizon.

We also announce the January Top Sales Article of the Month, and we offer you the opportunity to catch up with an absolute plethora of articles, tips, guides and interviews from January.

Finally, you can learn more about Greg Alexander of Sales Benchmark Index, who is our guest “In Focus”

Oh, and please don’t forget that we launch “Top 10 Blog Posts” over at TSW on Wednesday. Each week we are selecting the 10 best posts from around the sales space, and we will then announce a monthly winner.



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