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To ensure that you don’t become a victim of lost time, sales expert Colleen Francis offers her top tips to keep you on track

In this world of distraction, it's easy to lose focus on the tasks that bring us sales success. When you're trying to manage multiple things at once, you may find it difficult to manage the hours in your day. So, to ensure that you don't become a victim of lost time, I've compiled a few tips to help keep you on track so you can stay ahead of the clock:

1. Manage your e-mail: Chances are you're losing the battle against your inbox. Get organized and keep your e-mails short and sweet. You can consider only checking e-mails at designated times throughout the day. Logging into your inbox and addressing each note that comes is a good way to waste your time.

2. Avoid the life suckers: Office gossip and chronic complainers will not help you make the sale. Your colleagues are not your customers. No matter how interesting their stories may be, wasting time chatting with colleagues will slowly but surely erode your sales.

Leave the chatter for after hours. I promise the gossip will still be there. These "life suckers" -- who seem to be able to discuss everything except sales -- should probably be avoided altogether.

Recently a client of mine fired the life sucker in his office. It's taken him two years to finally get over his fear of letting her go. After she was gone he went to visit his biggest customer who said, "Now that you have rid your office of that cancer I will afford you every business opportunity we have available." He had no idea that his clients though of her as a life sucker as well. Don't be fooled. They're poisoning your business inside the office and out.

3. Make time for marketing: This is a classic. Dedicate time each day for marketing, prospecting and connecting with new potential clients. This way your pipeline remains healthy even when things beyond your control shift your focus away from your tasks.

4. Respect time: Treat time as an irreplaceable commodity, because it is. The truth is, this moment will never come back. They say time is money, but the latter can be earned and multiplied. Your time is constantly evaporating, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute.

Start respecting time. Show up to meetings early, don't bite off more than you can chew, and if you ask for an hour someone else's time, don't take up the entire day. The more importance you place on your time, the less likely you are to waste it.

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