Small Rocks – How to Deal with Time Wasting Tasks


Photo by Oziel Gomez via Unsplash

This is my final post in my Big Rocks series.

A common question I get is “What am I supposed to do about all of the Small Rocks that  still need to get done?

The answer for all of them is the same. DON’T DO ANY ACTIVITY THAT DOESN’T MOVE YOU TOWARD YOUR 3 BIG ROCKS.


  • Small rocks  – Meetings, administrative work, generating reports,  all hands calls, analysis of data, customer support
  • Pebbles and Sand – “Mandatory” HR activity, compliance training, reading for business, reformatting excel sheets, duplicating analysis
  • Email – See my separate post for handling this.

Eliminate meetings by asking what is the purpose of the meeting, what is the agenda, and what are you expected to contribute? You’ll quickly be able to assess if it is critical for you to attend. If there’s not a clear purpose, agenda and organizer, then why have the meeting?  If you decide it’s not valuable for you to attend, be sure to let the organizer know why and that you will not be joining in the future.

Reduce data analysis and report generation. The first & most important question to ask yourself is “What is the purpose of this and is anyone even looking at it?”  Trust me, you’ll be able to drop a surprising amount of reporting completely without anybody noticing. For the remaining 25%, where reporting is actually valuable do the following:

  1. Automate the process as much as possible. If you are repeating steps manually, it can be automated.
  2. Document the process.
  3. Hand the process over to someone else. There is someone else in the company who is actually far more adept than you at generating reports. Check with your operations and finance teams. An excel wizard usually lurks there.

“Mandatory” Training, Compliance etc.  Use your sales acumen to back on these. Just because HR (or Legal) says it is required doesn’t make it true. Make a case to your boss that you (& your team) could be generating revenue instead of attending these trainings. If you make a compelling enough argument, you can win this battle. As an added bonus, your team will love you for it.

Unfortunately, you cannot always win this one – especially in larger corporations. When that’s the case, just suck it up and get it done.

There are hundreds of other small rocks but you get the idea.

Always Remember that you were hired to generate revenue. If an activity is not directly contributing to revenue generation it is a strong candidate for elimination.

Although my writing style is blunt about taking a strong stance on controlling your day, there’s a way to communicate with kindness and respect for your coworkers.   I emphatically believe as Inside Sales Managers that we have a responsibility to use our sales acumen internally as well as externally. Listen to their issues, solve their problems and you’ll find that they will support your efforts here.

I Ain’t Doing That. I was given this nickname by my fellow managers after I joined a new team.  They were shocked when I absolutely refused to spend 2-3 days week doing administrative work that they’d been doing for years. I explained that I’d spend my time on the sales floor coaching my reps to bring in revenues instead. I’ll leave it to you to guess which manager was promoted and which ones were fired or are still stuck in the same position 7 years later.  

If you want some help building your sales team or improving sales, contact me here. I’d love to hear from you. 

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