Being a good salesperson isn’t simply boasting about the number of deals you closed in one week while simultaneously talking about how little sleep you got. In order to be successful in your career, you need to not only be good at your job—you need to be consistently good. The salespeople who regularly hit grand slams in the office are the ones who prioritize productivity tactics in order to be more effective at their jobs and decrease their stress levels.
But no need to go it alone: Productivity tools can help you become a better, more dynamic salesperson. In addition to getting enough sleep (at least seven hours), getting your fill of exercise and caffeine, and perhaps most importantly using a quality CRM to automate tasks and focus on more important things, your next solution may be a simple download away.
How often do you feel distracted? Research shows interruptions of just 2.8 seconds (perhaps the time it takes you to read a short text message) doubles the likelihood an employee will make an error, and a 4.4-second distraction triples the likelihood.
In the case of email, employees receive and send an average of 121 a day—and this number is supposed to increase up to 140 by 2018. The bigger problem: To recover from a single email takes an average of 64 seconds. That’s more than two hours of each workday wasted by distractions.
There are a few simple ways to decrease the likelihood of getting distracted. For starters, you can turn off email for specific time periods, or not look at email until you tick off morning tasks (the early bird really does get the worm). Or you can set specific times to check email—say from 12 to 1 p.m., or 4 to 5 p.m. A third option is to use technology to your advantage.
Consider using one or more of these distraction-blocking apps to better manage your time and decrease all the noise in the workplace.
Self-control doesn’t apply just to ice cream. With this free and open-source application for Mac OS X, users can block pretty much anything on the internet, from social media sites to mail servers and FiveThirtyEight. It’s super simple, too: Pick a time window, add the sites you don’t want to have access to, and you’re good to go. And until the timer expires, you won’t be able to see any of the sites you listed, even if you delete the app or shut off your computer.
This app, which is similar to SelfControl, blocks unwanted websites. But Focus works a little differently: Users can access Focus on the Mac menu-bar, which automatically blocks all non-compliant or malicious websites in one click. Additionally, once you block a specific site, an inspiring quote—which you can also personalize—pops up, adding a little fun to your focus. There are also a handful of keyboard shortcuts and drag-and-drops to really make that productivity soar. The app costs $19.99, which includes a free 14-day trial.
This app may unravel some uncomfortable realizations. RescueTime tracks and runs detailed reports on the amount of time you spend on every application you run and website you visit. (Not-so fun fact: The average person spends nearly an hour on Facebook every day.) The app also allows you to set alerts to get off a site. Similar to Focus and SelfControl, RescueTime can also block any website of your choice. There’s a free version as well as a paid one with a few more bells and whistles. This app works on Macs and PCs.
FocusBooster is a Mac- and PC-friendly app that’s inspired by the Pomodoro Technique, a popular theory that encourages people to focus on a specific task for 25 minutes straight, followed by a five-minute break. The app helps you do just that; write out your tasks for the day and let the timer roll. FocusBooster issues an alert once the 25 minutes is up and when your five-minute break is over.
Time Out is another Mac app with a bit more customization that gives your brain a break—and it’s also super simple. You can set intervals that work best for you; once the time is up, Time Out gently reminds you to take a break.
Get ready, get set, and get into that workflow. With one or a mix of these five distraction-blocking apps, you’ll become a better, happier, more productive salesperson.