It’s a new year. It’s time for resolutions (or attempted resolutions)! I’m sure we can say we have at least 1 of the typical resolutions: to improve your health, eliminate bad habits, like procrastination, and spend less time focused on work. And since it’s the 3rd week of the year, over half of us have probably broken some of those resolutions.
One of my resolutions is to use my time more efficiently, because, as a mom, time is limited. So, I need to be as productive as possible when I have time to get things done. Same can be said in my work life: I need to use my time more wisely. And I am sure many of you can relate.
Let’s approach improving productivity in 2 ways: self & technology.
For prime productivity, it is key to know how you work best and then use that to maximize your time.
For me to be my most productive, I need to be focused. Working in an open concept office where co-workers are on the phones a lot can sometimes make this difficult. But finding the best way to focus is key. Some days I plug in my headphones and can focus; other days, I have to find a place, typically a conference room, with more silence. The key is recognizing how you work best.
Block Your Time
The next part is knowing when you typically can be the most productive. I am way better in the morning, so trying to keep my meetings to a minimum during this time is critical because then I can focus on desk and administrative type work. My suggestion would be to block off your known productive time on your calendar to focus on the tasks that need to be done. Use the other time for client meetings, travel and out of office time.
Take a Break
Take a short break during your focused time. You don’t want to stress your mind out too much, but you don’t want to lose that groove. Sometimes standing up, grabbing another coffee, or walking a lap around the building will give you enough of a break to sit down and get after it again. Know when you have reached your limit and take the break! I know personally, if I take a 15 minute break to do something unrelated to the work, I can get back at it with better focus and productivity.
Technology, oh, technology! It was created to make us more efficient and improve productivity. And that’s great! But the efficiency and productivity can only be found if you are willing to embrace the technology and jump in!
If I have a list of tasks I need to get done or reminders on my calendar, it helps me prioritize what I need to do based on due date. I have always been a list-maker, but the bad thing about pen and paper is it doesn’t clear out done tasks or reorder based on due dates. I know, I could just write a new list, but that takes extra time. On our marketing team, we use Asana, so we can put projects together and assign tasks with due dates. Each person can then see their individual tasks, add notes and check them off when done. For insurance agencies, an agency management system (AMS) with automated workflows allows you to do the same thing and even have some of the tasks automated for you.
Less is More
Here’s something to consider: do you use too much technology? I know what you’re thinking, “you just said technology helps!”. It does, hear me out.
By less technology, I mean less programs to use. I feel like with all the new technology that comes out, we can get “shiny object syndrome” and feel we need to adopt it all. Next thing we know, we have 10 different places that we have client info stored and 10 different passwords we don’t remember (maybe I’m the only one resetting at least 1 password a week). The point I am trying to make is that less, more focused technology is what you need.
You want to use technology that works with the industry you work in, that meets your everyday needs, and that serves to improve your efficiency and productivity. Again, looking at an industry-specific AMS, like AgencyBloc, will help you create efficiencies and increase productivity.
Honestly, I am typically a little hesitant to new technology. I like to have others try it first and hear their reviews before I jump in. Once I do adopt a new technology, I typically ask myself why it took me so long to do it. So, I challenge you to first take the personal steps of finding out how you work best and setting up your office and day that way. Then don’t be among the 96% of insurance agencies that said they were worried that “the world is changing faster than their agency”, and look into getting your agency an AMS!
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