How to Effectively Manage Your To-Do List

Tips for Managing Your Task List

Task Management for Insurance Agents & Advisors

It’s Monday again, and your task list and schedule are jam-packed this week. It can be daunting to head in the office knowing you are swamped. Not to mention, outside of work you have personal tasks like getting Jimmy to his swim lessons twice this week, getting groceries, and then finding time to bake cookies for a fundraiser on Thursday at the school. That’s not even including time to yourself, trying to get a workout in, or just grab some extra sleep. Life gets busy, and it can get even worse if you are meeting clients outside of the typical 8-5 business hours. 

So, how can you fit it all in without feeling overwhelmed or too stressed to know where to start? Well, I don’t have an actual answer for you, because if I did, I’d be rich from selling that answer. But I do have a few tips that have helped me balance my work and life tasks.

Tips for Tracking Your To-Do List

First, create a list of tasks you need to get done each week at home. I personally use a sheet of paper that has every day listed, and I assign a few tasks to each day. This helps spread out the amount of work through the week.

Next, make an achievable list of work tasks to accomplish each day. I've heard six tasks is a good number where you can get them all done in a day, and it’s not completely daunting. Sometimes, seeing the entire list of tasks makes it hard to focus, but creating a short list every day is achievable and satisfying when you complete them. I personally try to make sure I handwrite the top 6 tasks for myself that day because, a) then they are fresh in your mind and b) they are fun to check off! 

To keep your task list organized, you'll want to use a task management tool. Examples of generic task management software include:

However, the best scenario for insurance agents and advisors is using a task management tool built into your agency management system. 

Having your to-do list and activity tracking within the same system where you manage your prospects, clients, and policies is ideal because most of your tasks often have to do with these items. Plus, everything is stored in one area so all communication and activity is kept on record.

Not to mention, having a task manager that accounts for team tasks, not just individual ones, is best for insurance agencies with different teams like sales, quoting, client servicing, commissions processing, and more.

That team's tasks are available for the whole team to see without having to be duplicated to each person, allowing for true task progress visibility and team collaboration.

AgencyBloc has an Activity List and Calendar that help you create and assign tasks to yourself and team members. 

AgencyBloc Activity List

AgencyBloc Activity List

AgencyBloc Activity Calendar

AgencyBloc Calendar View of Activities

When creating or updating an activity, you can add relevant information like:

  • Subject
  • Notes
  • Attachments
  • Date the activity was created
  • Activity due date
  • Priority (low, medium, high, urgent)
  • Related policy (of the individual or group)
  • Status 
  • Type 
  • Method (email, phone call, mail, visit, etc.)
  • Follow-up user
  • Follow-up team

Activity notes

AgencyBloc Team Activity with Notes

Whoever opens this activity and works on it will know the whole history, who's done what, and what still needs to be done. Once the activity is completed, it still remains in the relevant record so you can go back and look at the history. They can also be reopened if needed.

Using task management tools that are built-in to an agency management system are incredibly helpful for keeping your entire agency on the same page, regardless of what team they're on.

Now that we've covered what to use to track your to-dos and activities, let's talk about tactics for actually getting things done.

Tips for Getting Things Done on Your To-Do List

Finding a good way to track tasks is only half the battle. The next thing is figuring out how to actually get those things done by the end of the day. While you definitely need to have prioritization and time management skills, there are also a couple smaller techniques you can try.

Block Your Schedule

Set a time specifically for checking your email and responding. Likewise, schedule a time specifically for phone call follow-ups. During your scheduled times, all other things are put away and other notifications are turned off, to allow you to fully focus on the tasks on hand.

Try hard to make a schedule and stick to it. Atlassian reported that, on average, we spend 2 hours a day refocusing ourselves back to our to-do list after interruptions. Of course, things come up and you'll inevitably be pulled in different directions, but try your best to make a plan for your day and stick to it. The goal is to be agile, yet remain intent on getting through your task list.

Take Breaks!

Do not make yourself stay in one place for too long. Every once in awhile, you need to get up, walk a little, grab a coffee or a snack, etc. If you are being productive, keep going; if you are losing focus, take that as a sign that you need to get up and move a bit.

Find a Good Playlist

For tasks where you need to focus and be in the zone, try listening to music! Not only does listening to music make work more fun, but there are statistics to back up its effects on productivity. WebFX says that "90% of workers perform better when listening to music", and "88% of employees produce more accurate work when listening to music".

The key here is to find the right music that helps you focus and doesn't distract you. Try these focus playlists from Spotify

Use Automation Strategically

Use automation to your advantage. Being able to automate some of my tasks or reminders helps a lot. When you have a lot going on, the automated reminders make sure you don't let things fall through the cracks. 

AgencyBloc's Automated Workflow helps agencies automate task assignments, reminders, and even emails. When you think about the recurring tasks that come up day-to-day, where could you utilize automation? 

Workflow examples

Examples of Automated Workflows

The classic scenario is with policy renewal communication. When a policy renewal date is approaching, have automated reminders pop up on your activity list. Plus, send an email to the policyholder X months out letting them know you'll be reaching out. 

This is a small example of areas you could utilize automation. To get the full picture of Automated Workflow, check out our eBook: Automation for Life & Health Insurance Agencies: Using automated workflow to create efficiency & consistency.

Find an Accountability Partner

Got an office mate? I sometimes shoot a message over to a coworker that says "please make sure I do this this week", especially if it is an especially important task or if it's something I’m not looking forward to doing. Having someone hold you accountable helps. 

Research shows that when employees interact regularly it can "increase performance by 20%".

The key to managing both personal and work-related task lists and being more productive is finding a style that works for you. Make it achievable, then reward yourself with a trip to the coffeeshop, a longer break, or maybe even a nap!

Ready to take a look at an agency management system with task management tools built-in?

Watch this overview video of AgencyBloc to get an idea of how we can help you manage your and your team's to-do lists, plus much, much more!

Watch Overview Video

Sara O'Brien

By Sara O'Brien on February 18, 2020 in Productivity

Sara is the Marketing Campaign Specialist at AgencyBloc. She plans and creates marketing campaigns to provide relevant and timely education and product information to our BlocTalk community. Favorite quote: "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams, live the life you have imagined." -Henry David Throreau More articles

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