Managing Your Time To Be A Successful American Income Life Manager/Agent
American Income Life Regional Sales Director Jeff Gessner shares a message that reminds us how important it is to inspect our usage of time.
How often do you find yourself running out of time? Weekly, daily, hourly? For most American Income Life Agents, it seems that there’s just never enough time in the day to get everything done. Maybe you feel overloaded and you often have to work late to get everything done. Or maybe your days seem to go from one crisis to another, and this is stressful and demoralizing.
How well do you manage your time? If you’re like many American Income Life Agents, your answer may not be positive! Time management is one of those skills no one teaches you in school but you have to learn. It doesn’t matter how smart you are if you can’t organize information well enough to take it in. And it doesn’t matter how skilled you are if procrastination keeps you from getting your work done.
When we learn to manage our time well, we’re exceptionally productive at work, and our stress levels drop. We can devote time to the interesting, high-reward projects that can make a real difference to a career. In short, we have more balance and we are happier! When you know how to manage your time you gain control. Rather than working here, there, and everywhere (and not getting much done anywhere), effective time management helps you to choose what to work on and when. This is essential if you’re to achieve anything of any real worth; either in life or at American Income Life Insurance Company.
Many of us know that we could be managing our time more effectively; but it can be difficult to identify the mistakes that we’re making, and to know how we could improve. Below are 12 steps that you can do to get back your time, and be more productive.
- 1. SPEND TIME PLANNING AND ORGANIZING.
- Using time to think and plan is time well-spent. In fact, if you fail to take time for planning, you are planning to fail. Organize in a way that makes sense to you. If you need color and pictures, use a lot on your calendar or planning book.
- 2. SET GOALS.
- Goals give your life, and the way you spend your time, direction. When asked the secret to amassing such a fortune, it has been said “First you’ve got to decide what you want.” Set goals which are specific, measurable, realistic and achievable.
- 3. PRIORITIZE.
- Use the 80-20 Rule originally stated by the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto who noted that 80 percent of the reward comes from 20 percent of the effort. The trick though is to identify and isolate that valuable 20 percent. Once identified, prioritize time to concentrate your work on those items with the greatest reward. Prioritize by color, number or letter — whichever method makes the most sense to you.
- 4. USE A TO DO LIST.
- Some people thrive using a daily To Do list which they construct either the last thing the previous day or first thing in the morning. Many people combine a To Do list with a calendar or schedule. Others prefer a “running” To Do list which is continuously being updated. Or, you can choose a combination of the two. Whatever method works is best for you, get a system and stick to it!
- 5. BE FLEXIBLE.
- Allow time for interruptions and distractions. Time management experts often suggest planning for just 50 percent or less of one’s time. With only 50 percent of your time planned, you will have the flexibility to handle interruptions and the unplanned “emergency.” When you expect to be interrupted, schedule routine tasks. Save or make larger blocks of time for your priorities. When interrupted, ask this question, “What is the most important thing I can be doing with my time right now?” to help you get back on track fast.
- 6. CONSIDER YOUR PRIME TIME.
- That’s the time of day when you are at your best. Are you a “morning person,” a “night owl,” or a late afternoon “whiz?” Knowing when your best time is and planning to use that time of day for your priorities (if possible) is effective time management.
- 7. DO THE RIGHT THING RIGHT.
- Doing the right thing is more important than doing things right. Doing the right thing is effectiveness; doing things right is efficiency. Focus first on effectiveness (identifying what is the right thing to do), then concentrate on efficiency (doing it right).
- 8. ELIMINATE THE URGENT.
- Urgent tasks have short-term consequences while important tasks are those with long-term, goal-related implications. Work towards reducing the urgent things you must do so you’ll have time for your important priorities. Flagging or highlighting items on your To Do list or attaching a deadline to each item may help keep important items from becoming urgent emergencies.
- 9. AVOID BEING A PERFECTIONIST.
- Yes, some things need to be closer to perfect than others. But perfectionism, paying unnecessary attention to detail, can be a form of procrastination.
- 10. CONQUER PROCRASTINATION.
- When you are avoiding something, break it into smaller tasks and do just one of the smaller tasks or set a timer and work on the big task for just 15 minutes. By doing a little at a time, eventually you’ll reach a point where you’ll want to finish.
- 11. LEARN TO SAY “NO.”
- “NO” is such a small word — but sometimes can be so hard to say. Focusing on your goals may help. Blocking time for important, but often not scheduled, priorities such as family and friends can also help. But first you must be convinced that you and your priorities are important — that seems to be the hardest part in learning to say “no.” Once convinced of their importance, saying “no” to the unimportant in life gets easier.
- 12. REWARD YOURSELF.
- Even for small successes, celebrate achievement of goals. Promise yourself a reward for completing each task, or finishing the total job. Then keep your promise to yourself and indulge in your reward. Doing so will help you maintain the necessary balance in life between work and play. If we learn to balance work, family, fun, and relaxation, our lives become happier, healthier, and a great deal more creative.
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