It’s almost that time of year where we all thank our fathers or father figures for all they do.
We have a lot of insurance dads out there, so we’d like to honor this special time of year by giving you 5 tips to make sure you’re still getting awarded Best Dad of the Year when 2018 rolls around.
1. Make a priority box
Time can slip out from under our fingers, and before we know it, it’s dark out, everyone’s eaten dinner, and — shoot! — the kids are already in bed.
Your life is the sum total of your time, so make sure you’re not spending all of your time working.
In this industry, everyone and everything is demanding your time — from clients to carriers to research and beyond. You are a hot commodity.
Before you became a dad, it’s probably safe to say that work was a huge priority for you. However, as times change, so do our priorities.
How can you be successful with your work if your family is your main priority? Well, we suggest creating a priority box. In a simplified version, it looks something like this:
|Must Do Now||Must Do Soon||Would Like to Do|
|Meet with Jones couple||Go through short-term care training kit||Send birthday card to Janice|
|Get 3 rates ready for prospect||Policy review with Smith family||Check in on Ray - wife died last year|
This can help you to visualize what absolutely must be done, what you need to do soon, and what you’d like to do, but may not have time to get done.
2. Take a hard look at what you’re actually doing
You need to maximize the time you have so that you can spend more of your time doing things that build your family up.
As you go through your day, consciously think about how your time is being spent. How much time are you spending in the “must do now” zone? What about the “must do soon” zone? Are you spending time… just wasting time?
Here are some workplace statistics that will blow your mind:
- 31% of workers waste roughly 30 minutes daily
- 31% waste roughly 1 hour daily
- 16% waste roughly 2 hours daily
- 6% waste roughly 3 hours daily
- 2% waste roughly 4 hours daily
- 2% waste 5 or more hours daily
And what are we wasting it on?
- Talking on the cell phone and texting – 50%
- Gossiping – 42%
- On the internet – 39%
- On social media – 38%
- Taking snack breaks or smoke breaks – 27%
- Distracted by noisy co-workers – 24%
- In meetings – 23%
- On email – 23%
- Distracted by co-worker drop bys – 23%
- Distracted by co-worker calls on speakerphone – 10%
Be conscious about time spent. Those 30 minutes you spent watching the YouTube highlights from last night’s Tonight Show could have been saved for decorating cookies with your daughter or throwing a baseball with your son.
3. Look to the future
Take some time to look ahead in your calendar. What’s coming up soon? What can you plan ahead for?
For example, when open enrollment comes around, you’re going to be extremely busy (especially if you have a large book of business). Late nights might have to be in your lineup, but what can you plan ahead for?
Well, one tip would be to schedule any and all annual policy reviews during the other part of the year. You’re crunched for time, and your clients are likely to pick up on this as well.
Do yourself (and your family!) a favor, and plan ahead. If a client is about to be due for a policy review, schedule it in advance. Not only will this save you time that you can then spend building family relationships, but it’ll lower your stress level. We promise your family will appreciate that.
Some of us live by color-coded planners and others of us live by piles of paperwork that never stop growing.
If “piles of paperwork” sounds like you (and you’re proud of it), check out these disheartening stats:
- 12 days per year = how long the average American spends looking for things at home
- 6 weeks per year = how long the average employee spends looking for things at work
- 150 hours per year = how long the typical executive wastes searching for lost information
Organization might not be your thing, but with this much time on the table, it’s worthwhile to at least consider giving it a try.
Here are a few of our suggestions:
Organize your e-mail
E-mail is an awful creature for many of us who rely on it for work communication. While inbox zero may be a nice pipe dream, there are some things we can do to help organize the monster.
First is unsubscribing to any newsletter or publication that you no longer value or find integral to your work process. Get rid of the clutter once and for all, and you should feel the stress dissipate around you.
Second is scheduling the time you plan to actively spend going through emails. Many swear by this, and there are a number of ways to go about it. Fitness guru Ben Greenfield likes to spend at least 1-2 hours in the morning working on something important. Once that time has been spent, he allows himself to go through email.
Third is using a filing system for your incoming emails. Leo Babauta of ZenHabits.net suggests creating a few different folders. One is an “actions” folder where you’ll store emails you need to take action on (rather than just simply replying). Another is an “urgent” folder where you’ll store emails you need to respond to quickly. Another is called a “temp” folder where you file whatever is left from your inbox.
Get the rest of the noise out of the way to give yourself some breathing room. You can check out the rest of his email advice here.
Organize your files/paperwork
You work in an industry where there’s a lot of information, and with that information comes… sigh… paperwork. Create a system where you know exactly where to find certain files.
Our biggest piece of advice is to never create a file that’s too specific. Start big, and whittle it down from there. For example, instead of having a folder for “John Hancock with LTC rider,” you might have a “Life insurance” folder that houses your different carriers, their brochures, rate cards, and so on.
We also recommend DropBox or Google Drive for file storing. Your files are easy to share if needed, and they’re automatically backed up, so you don’t have to worry about your computer crashing and losing everything.
5. Structure your day
Everyone has their own way of doing things. Some agents spend the morning on the phones and the afternoon in client’s homes. (Yes, we know that sort of rhymes and we’re really proud of it.)
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you structure your day; it matters that you structure your day.
- Get your 7-9 hours of sleep,
- dedicate certain periods of time to email checking,
- spend some time working an important task,
- drink your coffee, and
- knock out some good business.
Studies show that adults do their best, most focused work between 9 a.m. and noon, and after lunchtime, the concentration, memory boost, and alertness drops.
Keep this in mind as you plan your priorities throughout your day, and work to stick to that schedule.
Your family wants reliability — they want to know when you’ll be home, and you want peace of mind that they’ll be taken care of.
Set your schedule, and make sure that your “Must Do Now” tasks are things that are generating revenue and solidifying existing client relationships.
Who knows? Maybe you can have a fun craft day with your kids where you can write thank you notes to your clients.
Thank you to all of the fathers out there, and enjoy basking in your fatherly glory!