Time and Workflow Management

An alarm clock next to a potted plant


As an SDR, time and workflow management is an incredibly valuable skill to develop. The BEST way to consistently hit quota is to have a solid day-to-day schedule.

Morgan Ingram said it best in our first video series: “If an SDR’s schedule is organized, they’re going to have organized results. If their schedule is sporadic or unsupported, reps will struggle to consistently produce results.”

But how do you organize your schedule? The concept of “organization” seems easy in theory, but it can be hard to actually implement and follow.

We asked a handful of SDRev, Sales Hacker, and LinkedIn community members about their thoughts on managing your day-to-day schedule and how to structure your day as an SDR.

Use Your Calendar

By far the most common answer we got was to have SDRs use their calendar to block off chunks of time. Damian Thompson said it best – “If it’s important, it MUST live in your calendar.” This means physically going into your calendar and blocking off time for things like prospecting, account mapping, checking LinkedIn, etc.

Check out Damian’s example of an SDR’s day broken up hour-by-hour:

Time Of Day Activity
8 – 9AM Email / Call / LinkedIn Replies + Discovery Research
9 – 10AM Prospecting Outreach for Eastern Time
10 – 11AM Prospecting Outreach for Central Time
11 – 11:30AM Self-Education (read sales blogs, listen to a podcast, watch a webinar, etc.)
11:30AM – Noon Email / Call / LinkedIn Replies
Noon – 1PM Lunch
1 – 2PM Prospecting Outreach for Mountain + Pacific Time
2 – 5PM Calendar open for Discovery Meetings, demos, scheduled calls, etc.
5 – 6PM Email / Call / LinkedIn Replies + Prep tomorrow’s calendar

Obviously every day won’t look exactly the same, but solidifying a general structure for your calendar will help you focus on the task at hand.

Joe Latchaw took a similar approach when discussing how he helps his team stay on task. Taking Damian’s approach and blocking off chunks of his calendar for specific tasks (like prospecting, research, and self-education) helps keep his team focused.

“If you provide your team groundwork, they can learn to become diligent.”

-Joe Latchaw

Austin Fuller agrees with the calendaring of your tasks and adds the idea of categorizing your time blocks. 

“I’ll ‘categorize’ my blocks and put tasks related to those blocks inside ‘Outlook Events’ the night before. So if I come to a “LinkedIn Engagement” block, it will have a list of individuals that I look for new content they’ve posted and engage with it, etc. If my ADHD doesn’t feel inspired by a certain task/block, I trade it for another.”

-Austin Fuller

This gives reps a bit more freedom in their day-to-day. I know I’m not the only one who’s come up to a “cold calling” block on my calendar and felt inspired to do…pretty much anything else. Or had a more important activity come across my desk that requires my immediate attention, forcing me to shun the task at hand. 

By having blocks that you can swap in/out, it gives you the structure you need for consistent results PLUS the flexibility of getting higher priority tasks done.

Batch Activities By Type

Brendan Short noted a slightly different approach that focuses less on the rigidity of your calendar but more on the time you allot to activity types. He breaks his day up into three buckets, and gives each of them a time limit:

Activity Allotted Time
Inbox (lowest hanging fruit) 30min. to 2 Hours
Tasks (calls, manual emails, videos, social — within Outreach/SalesLoft/etc.) 1 to 4 Hours
Prospect (go find accounts/contacts, add to sequences, do research) 1 to 4 Hours

Taking this approach gives you a bit more flexibility back in your day. Some days might be full of scheduled calls and follow-up activities, while other days are less structured and provide more of an opportunity to add new accounts. 

Because no two days are the same for an SDR, this gives you the chance to keep a majority of your days structured while leaving some wiggle room for any outliers.

To make sure the strategy above works out, take the advice of Nick Birlingmair and grab yourself a physical time of some kind. It’s easy to get lost in account mapping or prospecting, so having a physical reminder that you need to switch tasks or re-focus is helpful. 

Authors Note: I just found out about Timeular the other day – obviously this takes activity management to a new level, but it looks pretty cool!

Greyson Fullbright also notes the importance of making the switch from task to task effective and efficient.  effective task switching.

“My tip is to start each new thing on a to-do without hesitation. If it’s cold call time, close everything else and pull up your list/phone. Even if it’s just planning or a 1st call. At home, it’s easy for the procrastination monster to take 10 – 15 minutes between each time block you set.”

-Greyson Fullbright

And he’s right, the procrastination monster is very much a real thing that I fight daily (especially since the WFH shift). It’s important to not get caught up in anything else that might derail your current focus, like having LinkedIn, Email, and Slack notifications pull you away from making cold calls (or writing a blog 😂). 

When you’re in the middle of a scheduled time block, only do the thing that you scheduled that time block for. It’s harder than you might think, but really focusing on that one task will help increase your efficiency and start culling down your to-do list.

Define Your Golden & Platinum Hours

Jake Bernstein draws directly from Jeb Blount’s Fanatical Prospecting in his suggestion of using Golden and Platinum hours to structure your day.

“Divide your time up into the Golden Hours and the Platinum Hours to ensure you balance the right amount of time prospecting & selling and non-selling stuff.

Golden Hours: prime prospecting activities filled with CALLS, CALLS, CALLS. Social touches and emails can occur, but this block should largely be focused on calls.

Platinum Hours: top-earning sales pros set aside time early each morning or late each afternoon to attack important non-selling activities before the demands of the sales day kick in or after they’ve been addressed.”

Jake (and Jeb) look at the role of the SDR and focus on its strengths – the ability to generate high levels of outbound prospecting, getting in front of as many people as possible, and being that first POC a buyer has with your brand.

Noting that, it makes those Golden Hours so very important. You want the most productive part of your day filled with the most productive type of activity – prospecting. What time of day that is depends on the SDR. 

🌎 Are your accounts located in a particular region? 

🌇 Do you function better in the morning or afternoon?

📊 Do you have data that shows when you’re most likely going to get a prospect live on the phone?

It’s up to you to define those Golden Hours and stick with them. Then fill in the rest of your day with Platinum Hour activities. That includes things like:

  • Research & Pre-Call Planning
  • Social Selling Activities
  • Responding to Emails & LinkedIn Notifications
  • CRM Management
  • Administrative Tasks and Reports
  • Self-Education (Reading blogs, listening to podcasts, watching videos, etc.)

Essentially, the objective of the Platinum Hours is to set up your sales day so that all your focus can be spent on high-value selling activities. 

There you have it – advice on how to structure your day as an SDR to help you consistently hit quota month over month.

Did we miss anything? Feel free to send your own time and workflow management tips our way to keep the conversation going! We’re always open to new ideas on how to better structure the day of an SDR and help them Level Up.

Interested in participating in one of our Round-Ups? Shoot us an email and we’ll get you an invite to our Slack Community!