Time Management Problem: Do You Overextend Yourself?

time management

Hospitality sales managers who practice time management often have a long to-do list, yet they often take on more.

Hospitality sales managers simply take on too many, in my humble opinion. It seems like on the whole, just about everyone I have ever met in hospitality sales is an alpha male or female. All of us are pedaling a million miles per hour. It’s like we all want to confirm our value to the hotel and to the sales team.

But one factor I continually teach to hospitality sales managers is to dial it back and be aware of what you’re doing.

For the purposes of good time management you need to ask yourself if you are trying to do too much. When your manager (or someone else, actually) comes into your workplace or office space and says, “I really need you to do this” or “Could you help me with this?” our first reaction is always to be beneficial to the cause and pitch in.

Our mind-set is “I would like to please you because that is just the type of person I am; of course I’ll help you with it. That’s why I went into the service industry.” And then that individual is going simply head on back to their workplace, take out their own to-do list, and they’re going to check off that task because they got you to do it. So you’re trapped and your time management efforts have gone out the window. The problem is, you said “Yes,” and you probably did not really mean it. You’re just trying to be a team player.

If the situation warrants, what you need to do is be able to say “Listen, I’ve got to be sincere with you. You know I am ferociously faithful and normally I’ll do anything you ask, but look at my to-do list sitting here. I’ve got lunchtime meeting that I have to prepare for plus and three site visits today.” That’s much better time management.

From there, much of your strategy relies on whether the other individual is your supervisor.

If so, you might say something like, “You’re the boss, of course, and I appreciate that you trust me with this task.  I don’t mean to be a wise guy, but I’ll need you to help me re-structure my to-do list. As it is, something on that list is not going to get done today.” Let your manager have the option.

The reaction will probably be something like, “Wow, I didn’t realize that you had all those things on your list for today. Let me get someone else help me with it; let’s do it after five o’clock; let’s see if we can’t get two or three individuals to pitch in; whatever.” But whatever it is, let your boss know that you’re fiercely committed to the team and just want to be doing what is most important for the hotel. Keeping your time management efforts on track support that.

If the demand comes from another division or person to whom you do not report, you still want to indicate that you’re in it for the hotel and want to do what will help the hotel most. But you generally make reference to your director of sales again, showing that you have other factors you have to consider or accomplish. But if that individual asking for your help truly feels that you are the only one who can help, encourage him or her to your boss and ask. And in those circumstances may I suggest that you go along with the requester because most supervisors will want to do what’s in the best interests of the hotel too. You might need to emphasize to your manager your time management goals for today.

Now what is the main cause of the problem both for those in hospitality sales?

A huge cause that individuals don’t achieve all the factors on their to-do list (and this pertains even if there are no outside requirements for their time) is that is that they are trying to fit too much into their day. If you can honestly plead guilty to this behavior, you actually don’t need more efficient time control. No measure of time management will allow you to do everything if your list of tasks to accomplish is as long as your arm. You need to recognize which chores on your to-do list are expendable.

The 1990 book from Stephen Covey “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” has become a business classic on time management.

One of the seven habits he lists is “First Things First”. In talking about the problem he says there are two factors that can be used to describe every project: importance and urgency.

In his book, Covey creates a 2×2 grid (see thumbnail at the top of this post) that allows us to see these two factors and how we should classify our record of projects on each of these dimensions.

Important and Urgent

This includes stuff that is essential to your goals over the long term, as well as time urgent. These are the most important, and show up in the upper right of the graph. Work on these whenever possible. They are the essence of good time management.

Important but not Urgent

Things are all the factors that you have properly listed as things you need to get done, but somehow never discover a chance to do because they are not time urgent. This is the place of biggest disappointment (for everyone — not just hospitality sales managers, but anyone who prefers to keep their future in mind). Things like studying that guide you’ve wanted to read, beginning a new workout routine, studying a new expertise, preparing a new sales technique, etc.

Urgent but Not Important

This is the significant place that needs cutting, but often the most challenging place to cut for hospitality sales managers. Immediate but insignificant projects are those that are essential to others but not you. These are characterized by the requests “Please contact me immediately!” and “I really need your help with this!”

It can be very challenging to say no to other individuals, as I mentioned above. Many discover it challenging to do so, but it is simply a technique you must master if you want to be proficient at time management. If not, you will end up with your efforts being sidetracked by the requests of others. Requests from other people and other departments can be limitless, so you have to set boundaries.

Not Important and Not Urgent

This group is pretty obvious but such activities sure do creep into our lives if we lack discipline, don’t they? Most of us would admit that we’d like to cut down on many of these, such as browsing the web, playing video games, viewing senseless TV, etc. The more of these you can cut, the more you’ll impress yourself and others with how much new-found time you have.

So keep in mind, if your time management commitment is not being fulfilled, and you’re not getting the factors on your to-do list done, it could be that there are too many items on it. Make a long-term plan with the necessary goals and objectives as determined along with your manager. Going ahead, each product on the to-do list will ideally contribute to the objectives you set forth. You’ll be investing your energy into the most productive things on your job.

Are your time management efforts suffering because you are  trying to do too much?

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