Are you making the most of your work hours? Whether you’ve been selling insurance for decades or are brand new to the field, being intentional with your schedule can actually make you more successful by helping you determine where to focus your efforts and minimize wasted time. It’s a worthwhile exercise to periodically think through and adjust how you’re spending your time.
Step 1 – Tracking
The first step, if you’re not already doing it, is to track your hours for a few weeks. To get the most complete understanding, tracking in 15-minute increments is ideal. (Also, choose a period that doesn’t include more than a day or two lost to holidays, vacations, etc.)
One way to do it is to create a spreadsheet or take a piece of paper and write down everything you do in chronological order like this:
- New leads – 8:00 -9:45AM
- Cross-Selling – 9:45 – 11:00AM
- Break – 11:00 – 11:30AM
- And so on!
Another option is to keep a list of general categories (Calling New Leads, Client Meetings, Admin, etc.) and add a hash mark for each 15 minutes (or 30, or whatever interval you deem appropriate) spent working on that activity.
Be honest and realistic. Do you ever spend half an hour online scrolling through the news or find yourself doing laundry instead of staying holed up in your home office? This isn’t about judging yourself, so include it all.
Step 2 – Craft Your “Ideal Schedule”
Concurrent with this tracking process, start jotting down a list of all the things you’d get done if you were a perfect insurance agent in a perfect world! Things like:
- Lead Prioritization (track selling percentages based on type of lead, track length of time spent selling on phone versus in person; track cross-selling effectiveness based on type of lead)
- Education (reading blogs, taking a class, reviewing updated compliance materials)
- Technology (learning new software, updating your website, investigating or learning a CRM system)
- Marketing (posting on social media, developing an ad campaign, sending an email to current clients)
- Accounting (maintaining receipts, scheduling bills to be paid, processing payments)
- Taxes (gathering materials for your accountant, reviewing your returns, doing taxes yourself)
What else? This is your ideal list, so don’t be afraid to think big. If you had all the time in the world, what would it take to grow your business or make it run more effectively?
Once you’ve got your dream list, look at each activity separately and estimate how much time it will take you to accomplish. Be sure to note whether it’s a one-time job or an ongoing task and write that down, too.
Step 3 – Prioritization
At this point, it should be obvious that it’s impossible for one person to do everything you’ve listed. This is why it’s imperative to prioritize. What absolutely has to get done? What brings money in the door? Which activities must be done soon and which can wait? Which can you easily handle yourself and which would be better delegated to someone else? Move the important things to the top of the list or highlight them in some way. You’ll start to see order come from chaos.
Step 4 – Compare & Contrast
Continue to hone and refine this list over the period that you’re tracking your current time. Then, after three or four weeks of doing both, block a few hours some morning and compare reality with your ideal. Look for mismatches. For instance, if you’ve identified that cross-selling has been profitable and doesn’t take much time, but you don’t currently do it very often, flag that. If you realize you had a burst of new customers after your last ad campaign, but that was two years ago, maybe it makes sense to take the time to put together a new one.
You’re looking to answer questions like these: how can I do all necessary tasks and make the best use of my time? What can I pay someone else to do so that I can focus on the tasks that most need my attention? And don’t forget this one – what tasks am I good at and do I enjoy doing? That should be a factor in your prioritization, too.
In our next post here on Hometown University, we’ll share ideas about how to move from prioritization to action. A plan is only effective if it can be translated into scheduled activities that will grow your agency and build your book.
Hometown Quotes provides high-quality insurance leads from consumers who are currently shopping for insurance and have been qualified in minutes. Give us a call at 800-820-2981 to learn more or get started with a fresh batch of leads.