The more checkmarks I make, the more ‘work’ I’m doing.
Ever thought this way? Ever been the one at the end of the day/week/year scratching your head saying, “What did I actually accomplish?” Even if you did hit your numbers, did you have a plan based around those goals? Or did you just stay active and pray for the best?
You’re not alone. We are ALL guilty. Unfortunately, many of us have been ingrained with the thought process of the more I do (regardless of what it is), as long as it’s under the umbrella of my job responsibilities, then I’m good.
We run around doing activities that have potentially proven successful in the past, or someone has told us are the pathway to success, but we never really assess those activities, or plan, or create a goal around them.
- We attend networking events that end up with a pile of cards, but no follow up.
- We create marketing campaigns that have several steps and we get through two of them and give up.
- We meet with referral partners, get all excited about everything they are going to do for us, then let it fizzle out due to lack of follow through and planning.
- We make a list of clients we want to ask for referrals, ask once and then never follow up again.
The cycle is endless.
Moving from activity to productivity
An activity-based mindset can be crippling, but you don’t have to let it be a roadblock anymore. I’ve personally seen it with producers I’ve worked with and been there more times than I can count. Ending my days with “What just happened?” and feeling bad about myself, thinking I didn’t do anything meaningful.
So, how do I make the SHIFT and move past it or help others to? See below for some of my most meaningful tips. You can use these in succession or how they work best for you.
1. COMMIT. Stop reading here if you’re okay with the status quo. If not, and you’re ready to get into a productive mindset, then commit now. Commit to knowing it’s not going to go perfectly. There are going to be days that you fall off the wagon. That’s okay. Pick yourself up, remind yourself of your why, and move forward.
2. FOCUS. Seems pretty simple, but it takes a lot more than you think. Get out of your normal spot, go to a park, Starbucks, library, wherever. Somewhere you can take some time to focus on your goals. Create simple questions to ask yourself. “What is working right now? Where do I want to go? What’s keeping me from getting there?” Write it all down.
3. PLAN. If you fail to plan you plan to fail. We’ve all heard this one. Bring your answers from your focus time and create a plan… let me re-word that… create a REALISTIC plan that you can feel confident committing to. Rome wasn’t built in a day; changing your mindset won’t happen quickly either.
Many times, we’ll see brokers want to conquer the world, which is great for long term goals, but you don’t want to risk losing momentum by focusing on too many of those at once. By creating a plan with the top priorities (three at most) that’s feasible for you, it will be a smoother transition.
- Pick your easier-to-accomplish goals up front (Posting to LinkedIn twice per week, setting up 3 lunches and 3 breakfasts with COI, Referral, or Prospect each week, etc.).
- Then set a stretch goal that’s going to be tougher for you to accomplish, but not out of reach. (Plan 4 lunch and learns with top 10 clients and prospects, decrease bottom book of business by ‘x’ percent while increasing top book of business by ‘x’ percent)
You’ll pick up momentum by accomplishing those simpler goals and it will give you the confidence to achieve the stretch goals.
4. IMPLEMENT. Pretty self-explanatory, but by FAR the hardest part of the process. Don’t create an amazing plan and then let it collect dust. Create it and live by it, change it if you need to, but by all means make sure you’re seeing your plan through. Otherwise it’s just a piece of paper.
5. EVALUATE. Set a time each day or week to ensure you’re working towards your goals and the activities that you are doing. Set an alarm, have someone hold you accountable, do what you need to do, but make sure you’re actively looking at the success and challenges of what you’re doing.
6. REPEAT. Never stop the process. Most say it takes 30 days to create a habit. I say, regardless of days, ensuring that you’re consistently repeating this process will allow for much more success than running around aimlessly.
Regardless of your process, it never hurts to evaluate your day-to-day activities to see if it’s getting you where you want to be.
Getting your SHIFT together
Just remember, similar to those New Year’s resolutions, change is never easy. Pronouncing to the world and saying you want to make a SHIFT or want to change is, simply put, NOT ENOUGH. You’ve spent years conditioning your mind to be activity based, so switching to productivity overnight (regardless of how bad you want it to) will not happen.
Get uncomfortable, push yourself, and don’t give up just because you have one off day or week. As I mentioned before, Rome wasn’t built in a day... so don’t feel like you have to change everything in an instant. Getting your SHIFT together takes time.
If you’re a producer and need some guidance, download our Producer Planning Guide.
Are you an agency owner that needs some help? Check out our Agency Planning Guide to get you going.
Photo Credit: inesbazdar