Stephen Pretorius
BDR Team Lead for EMEA at INFUSEmedia

If your LinkedIn feed is anything like mine, it’s probably transformed over time to become host to an overwhelming amount of sales narratives, tips, tricks, and hacks for maximizing productivity and sales.

Now, at this point you might be thinking, “well yes, Stephen but how exactly is this any different?

Well, here’s the rub: I think all these analogies, guides, and X-step processes are focusing on the wrong thing; sales only and not putting the self first. 

Let me elaborate. More often than not, our natural anchor as salespeople is the bottom line. 

 

[Productivity = sales = more profit = reaching targets = fulfillment] 

 

Sound familiar? 

Time to shape your perspective. The trick to productivity is not rooted in simply working longer hours but rather, starts with a healthy dose of introspection, alignment, and ultimately finding the right routine that resonates with you. 

 

Start with yourself

 

Working from home is both a curse and a blessing. Without the bane of the daily commute, the logical implication becomes an increase in your productivity, right?

Well, yes. But not in the way most imagine. 

Rather than beginning your day the same way you might if you were working from an office, take the opportunity that remote work provides you to secure a healthy mindset for the rest of the day.

Notice how I didn’t say; “winning mindset.” For me, this term has become soured by the “hustle” mentality and become synonymous with overworking. 

We do want to achieve great things in the day but without placing undue pressure on ourselves.

After all, if you start the day by imagining a mountain to climb, your morale is not going to be on top form and neither will you.

Okay, so first things first, don’t start by jumping straight on the phone. 

Think about it this way, if you roll out of bed and just start calling, are you going to position yourself as an expert, or are you just showing up?

Instead, take time for some reflection; center on your mood, your intent, and your goals for the day. 

This should look different for everyone – it could be as simple as getting inspired with motivational quotes, doing a quick workout, or getting energized with your favorite song.

The point is to set your perspective and focus on whatever gets you amped for the day ahead. 

It’s simple really. The energy you’re putting out, particularly on the phone, will correlate directly with the results you are able to achieve each day – and that starts with you.

 

Establish a routine that works for you

 

We’ve heard it all a thousand times before. Productivity comes from consistency and consistency comes from…you guessed it, a routine. 

While that is true, for me at least, there’s a huge asterisk sitting above this theory. 

*consistency should not equate to stagnant, inflexible routines that choke creativity.

So, what does a balanced routine look like? 

To get the creative juices flowing for creating your own routine, let’s start with an example of my routine that I’ve been developing over the past year or so: 

 

Hour 1:

 

Rather than diving straight into the rabbit hole that is emails and Teams messages, I like to begin my day by doing some non-work-related reading. 

This often includes spiritual readings, motivational texts, or expanding my self-knowledge with interesting fields of study. 

The idea for this first hour is to get into a mentally-healthy space to center myself and align with my intention for the day. Depending on the needs of the day, I also like to meditate and focus on the self.

I think about how this day contributes to the overall scheme of things and how it represents a new opportunity. These simple habits help me set my perspective and intentions for the rest of the day.

No focusing on the outside, just you

This is key – taking the time to take care of yourself at the beginning of the day is crucial for setting up a day of activity that leaves you satisfied. I once read that the first hour of your day is the most important one and I couldn’t agree more. 

 

Hour 2 to 3.5

 

Okay, crunch time. Now is when I get to work answering all of the emails and messages waiting for me that have arrived from colleagues working in different time zones.

This helps me to align with the high-priority tasks for the day and build a mental picture of the day ahead and build in some structure based on my calendar. 

 

The rest of the day

 

If you’re wondering, “wait, where is the rest of the routine?

That’s just the point, keep it simple. Get the first few hours right, and you’ll have a strong foundation set for the day ahead.

Next, my aim is always to get on the phone before midday. Not only is this prime time but it also helps me to get a few phone calls in to help get into my “mojo.” Too much time waiting and overthinking gets you nowhere and ultimately only helps your anxiety.

If you feel like you hit a mental wall, my advice is to attack it head-on with a change in perspective. Get up and get moving – even if only for 10 minutes.

 

3 reasons why these small workouts are a godsend:

  • Get rid of any pent-up energy: Working from home often means that you’ll likely be spending a lot of time sitting down – even standing desks have their drawbacks. A short workout can do wonders for helping you process all that energy that is left unused.
  • Expedite the ideation process: Find yourself staring at a blank document or empty email template for too long? Give your mind a break with exercise. In an almost cruel twist of irony, it’s often when we change focus onto something new that we come up with new ideas for the previous task.
  • Add onto your achievements: Sometimes when you’re bogged down with tasks or conflicting priorities, you can also lose the satisfaction that comes with completing something. Rather than switching tasks, a quick workout can help you get past stagnation and feel like you have achieved something with your day.

 

The rest of my daily routine normally becomes a sales “sandwich” of calls, other outbound strategies, admin, and small workouts.

 

Final thoughts

 

Working from home can also be incredibly isolating. 

Be sure to stay in regular contact with your team and have those dreaded “water cooler” conversations every now and then. We’re all human and need to connect on a basis outside of work. 

Getting to know your individual team members and building relationships will give you the sense of camaraderie and support that you need to succeed.

The main takeaway here is that there are huge benefits to adding spontaneous variety to each day. Not only for your productivity but also for your mental health. 

Too often, the emphasis is placed on achieving final results that are often reliant on a multitude of external factors, more than purely your own motivation.

Yes, working on your productivity is important but so is taking the time to care for your own mental wellbeing. 

Without the right perspective and mindset, those thousands of emails you send out and days full of calls will ultimately result in nothing short of burnout

 

About the Author:

Based in Cape Town, South Africa, Stephen’s drive and passion for the fast-paced B2B industry has seen him rise quickly through the ranks to EMEA lead for SDRs and BDRs. Stephen believes in adopting a “sponge-like” mentality and relishes the opportunity to discover trends and learn new insights. Stephen also loves sharing what works for him and uplifting others daily with mental health and wellbeing awareness and advice.

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