Key learning outcomes:

  • Identify the “dollar-productive tasks” in your business or workplace.
  • Complete our template to measure your dollar productivity.
  • Create a benchmark or acceptable dollar-productivity rate for your business.
  • Determine activities and tasks that negatively impact dollar productivity in your business.


It is important for any income producer in a business to be very aware of how dollar- productive they are. Often salespeople are judged purely on their results; if they do well everyone assumes that they are efficient and good at what they do. On the other hand, if they fall short of the target, the opposite tends to occur. Of course there are many metrics that need to be measured and investigated when someone is under-performing. However, one of the first things we like to look at is where a person’s time is being spent. We look at what they are doing day to day to determine what portion of their week is being spent on dollar-productive tasks.[wlm_ismember]

What are dollar-productive tasks?

Dollar-productive tasks and activities are things that are directly related to a customer or are carried out in the pursuit of generating business. A face-to-face meeting with a customer is a dollar- productive activity, as are customer phone calls and nurture activities. Follow-up calls to potential customers after a prospecting activity is dollar-productive, but sitting down for hours determining who we should call is not. Administration tasks, travel time and surfing the internet are all non-dollar productive activities.

How many hours should be dollar-productive?

Very few people can be 100% dollar-productive in their week; in fact we would suggest it is impossible – everyone needs to eat and drink during the day and there will always be some administration tasks to complete no matter how efficiently you delegate. The key is to maximise the time that is dollar-productive and minimise the hours spent on tasks that should or could be done by someone who does not directly generate income for the business.

How do I know how dollar-productive I am?

At Absolute Best we have come up with a simple template to allow you to monitor your dollar productivity week by week. Our simple template will allow you to determine if you are dollar-productive, on an hourly basis. We don’t recommend breaking the worksheet down into smaller time periods, otherwise time is wasted filling out long and complicated forms. Simply place a $ in the box for any hour where the majority of the time was spent on dollar-productive activities, and a dash for the hours where it was not. At the end of the week calculate the number of hours you were dollar-productive and divide by the total of available hours to get a dollar-productive percentage.

Our case study example 

This is the dollar-productive log for Sam Smith, a sales executive for a car dealership.

Sam engaged in dollar-productive activities if he was, for example, talking to a client, test driving a car, completing paperwork for a sale, delivering a car or making follow-up calls to prospective clients.


In this example we can see that Sam has blocked out his days off, as well as the hours before and after work. For the remainder of the week, $ can be seen in any hour where Sam was dollar-productive for the majority of the hour. Using our quick calculation, we can determine Sam’s dollar productivity percentage for the week as shown here:

19 (dollar-productive hours)/49 (available hours) = 39% (dollar-productivity rate)

What to do next?

The next step is to determine if this rate is acceptable. In Sam’s case, only about one-third of his week was spent on dollar-productive activities. There is no hard and fast ideal rate as it depends on the industry; however, for a front-line income producer, we believe that anything less that 75% suggests that time is either being wasted or being directed at the wrong activities.

We suggest that Sam repeats the exercise for one or two more weeks to get a more reliable baseline to work from. It would also be useful if he keeps some brief notes on how those non-dollar productive hours are being spent. More analysis can then be performed and some conclusions reached.

Some of the things to look out for 

Is time being spent doing tasks that should be done by someone else? This usually happens for two reasons: either the company is under-resourced and there is no one else to do the work, or the salesperson does not like or is not good at delegating and maintains control of work that should be done by someone else.

Is time being wasted on travel? Often salespeople who have to present to clients outside of the office spend an inordinate amount of time travelling. If this is the case, the use of an ideal week where appointments are made in blocks can increase dollar-productivity levels very quickly.

Are there any trends? You might find that some people are less productive in the morning or in the afternoon. In the case of Sam, he seems much more productive in the afternoon. This may be because he is coming into work unprepared and is spending the morning getting organised, or it may be that he is not actively generating business and is relying on walk-in traffic which may be heavier in the afternoon.

Are there double-up activities? Often you will see that someone is spending time performing a task with a team member which could effectively be done by just one person. Remember when two people are spending time on a non-dollar productive task, the hours wasted are doubled.

How long do I have to complete the log for?

We find that many people use the log for a few weeks to analyse how they are spending their time. Once back on track they are able to work without it. Others find they like to complete the log once a month to ensure they are staying focused on their dollar productivity. Remember, work expands to the time that we give it; therefore, it is important to keep ourselves in check every now and again. This simple tool is designed to increase your self-awareness and to ensure that you are maximising your dollar-productive time.[/wlm_ismember]

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