“I so desperately want to be more productive, manage my time more wisely, set goals, etc.”
We hear it all of the time from agency owners, brokers, account managers, you name it. Here’s the common responses we get when we give tangible, actionable items for them to become all of those things:
- You want me to do what?
- I don’t have time for that!
- I don’t want to micromanage (or feel micro managed), it’s just not going to work!
If you’re one of these common responses then I’m #sorrynotsorry to tell you that it’s time for a deep dive into REALITY.
If you want to make a SHIFT, you want to be productive, you want to get out of the time suck of everyday fires, tasks, etc. you’ve GOT to be able to hold yourself (and in some cases, others) accountable. Here are five easy shifts you can make starting TODAY.
You’ve got to COMMIT to yourself – and others – that something needs to change. To be super clear here, knowing you want to change or saying you want to change is not considered a valid form of commitment. Actually taking steps to make a change is commitment. As simple as it seems, this get confused a lot.
I can say I know I need to go to the gym, I know I need to lose weight, but until I actually get my butt in there, no change happens. It’s no different in prospecting, building processes, creating an agency plan, etc.
We all have dreams. We all have goals. But day after day it’s common to get caught up in the immediate needs versus long-term initiatives. Before you know it, it’s 4th quarter and those dreams and goals are a distant thought.
So, what do you do? Write down those BIG goals and focus on them. Write out your major initiatives, post that number in your office, print out that picture of the vacation home you want – make sure it’s visible to you.
The key is looking at those goals and breaking them down by what needs to be accomplished each quarter, then month, then week, then day in order to get you to the big picture.
EVERYTHING can’t be a priority. Start with your big list, and then whittle it down to three priorities per quarter that you’d like to focus on.
Write it Down
This is easily the best, yet hardest to accomplish out of all of these tips.
Take time one week to write down everything you do each day. Everything?? Yes, everything. Write down what you’re doing from the time you get up until the time you go to bed.
Also make note what you enjoy doing versus what you wish you didn’t have to do on that list.
Be honest with yourself. Did you spend an hour online searching social media? Spend time online shopping? Talking on the phone? Write it down, all of it.
Why? Because when you’re done writing out that week you can sit down with those goals and determine how your daily activities are either keeping you on track, or getting you off track. Chances are, there are quite a few that are more distracting you from your goals rather than moving you toward them.
Feeling really committed? Try charting two weeks, you’ll be amazed at what you see!
STOP. If you didn’t do the above step, don’t even try to go to this one. Remember you’ve got to truly to commit to make a SHIFT in your work.
Once you did accomplish writing down your week(s), now it’s time to evaluate. Take a long, hard look at those daily activities. I highly recommend having someone take a look at it with you. Someone that can honestly call you out on areas that you could be doing better.
Evaluate what activities are keeping you on track and which are not. Check to see if there are tasks that you could delegate, create a process for, or eliminate all together.
Listen, it’s not all bad if you need a mental break to read your favorite book, scroll through LinkedIn or Facebook, pick out a great restaurant for date night, but it is counterproductive if it’s taking up half of your day.
Once you’ve gotten through the details, sit back down with those goals to ensure that they are realistic. Keeping those long-term goals in your sight increases your focus on them and increases your chances of achieving them. Breaking down what’s realistically going to get you there and the likelihood of meeting those goals is even better.
Once you re-visit your goals, break them down into quarterly and monthly projects and then it will be a lot easier to align your weeks and days into activities that will keep you in line with reaching those coveted goals.
Remember, no more than three priorities at a time. You can always have a mile-long list of priorities, but picking out those three per year and quarter will help your focus tremendously.
So, if you’re ready to walk the walk instead of just blowing hot air, take these steps and run with them.
Need help? Check out our Agency Planning Guide.
If you’re a broker, check out our Producer Planning Guide.
Photo Credit: solerf