It’s no secret that insurance can be an overwhelming business — but by following these simple hacks, you can optimize your work and personal life for success.
Seasoned insurance agents know that one of the most essential skills to a successful, long-term career in the industry is simple time management. From marketing and promoting the agency, selling insurance, quoting policies, handling endorsement and policy changes, and dealing with customers and underwriters, there is a lot that can go into one’s day-to-day. Time management, or the process of planning and exercising conscious control of the amount of time you spend on specific activities, is a crucial skill that turns mere busy work into results.
Luckily, time management is a skill anyone can learn; it just takes a bit of time and practice. Here are six tips that new and practiced insurance agents can follow to better their time management.
Before You Make Changes, Analyze Your Current Routine
If you’re reading this, odds are you already have concerns when it comes to managing your time. Before you drastically change your current routine, it’s best to figure out how you are currently allotting the hours of your workweek. Set a phone timer each time you have a task and keep track of how long you’re spending on recurring tasks like client calls, emails, other administrative work, internal meetings, and more.
You may be surprised at the end of the week to see just how much time your daily emails and Slacks are taking out of your day! Plus, there may be areas you simply won’t be able to cut back on — when you’ll have to talk to a manager or figure out how to decrease your workload to accommodate the time spent.
Come Up with a Plan of Attack
Once you know what your current task breakdown is, you can figure out how to re-prioritize. Refer to the company mission to set your own major goals, and then broadly plan out your week and days to correspond to meeting those goals. If you’re trying to sign a certain number of new clients, for example, you’ll want to spend a high number of hours on client calls, so update your tasks appropriately.
It helps to plan out your time on a wide scale — i.e., quarterly, or even yearly — and then zoom in, focusing on monthly, weekly, and daily to-do lists. This will help you keep the bigger picture in mind as you set out on your daily work.
Insist on Your Priorities
Of course, there will always be new tasks that come your way on a daily basis — which is why keeping your overarching goals in mind is so important. Learn the power of “no” and make sure you continue to prioritize what you initially set out to focus on each day, rather than submitting to random emails or last-minute calls. If anything, set aside intentional time each week to respond to anything that falls outside your top priorities.
Limit Any Distractions
Whether you’re working from home or in an office, there are no ends to potential distractions you may face when trying to accomplish your daily goals. From social media to personal text messages, phones can be a major source of distraction during the workday. Use an app or “Focus” setting on your phone to keep it unused when you can, or simply put it in another room. Similarly, make sure you do allot time for breaks, whether it’s a walk outside or a coffee with a colleague — this will make it easier to focus on work when you do return!
Stay Organized & On Task
Perhaps you’re used to having multiple tabs open on your computer at once or trying to multitask throughout the day. This will only hurt you in the long run, as many studies have proved that multitasking never truly works well. Stick to the schedule you set for your day and dive wholeheartedly into one task at a time! This will pay off, especially in client interactions.
The best way to ensure you’re fully focused on one task is to prep your to-do list in advance, so you can feel confident that you can accomplish all of your goals in a given timeframe. If old-school calendars and notebooks aren’t your thing, consider checking out time management software such Time Doctor, RescueTime, Remember The Milk, or Clara. Google Suite also has a variety of options to help you stay organized alongside your Google Calendar.
Finally, make sure your physical workspace is up to par. Do refresh your space and eliminate any distractions, like old paperwork, and make sure your chair, desk, and computer are comfortable for long stretches of typing and reading.
Make Meetings Intentional
Oftentimes, setting a meeting can feel productive, even if, in reality, not much is getting done. Eliminate any recurring meetings that have become unhelpful to your overall goals. Any new meetings should have clear agendas and desired outcomes. Client calls, similarly, should be focused and intentional. Respect time limits, and don’t be afraid to use email or other modes of communication if it would be more beneficial for everyone involved.
At the end of the day, you and your clients will suffer from poor time management. Advocate for yourself and your key goals and take small steps to reclaim your time and productivity — before you know it, the results will speak for themselves.