How can you get better at your job? This is the perennial question of employees everywhere who struggle to get through a mountain of daily tasks effectively and efficiently. Is there a secret to working smarter at insurance jobs? Focus is one of the answers.
The Problem of Focus
According to Fast Company, "the brain is always seeking out what’s new and what’s next." While this can be a helpful trait if you're scanning the savanna for potential predators, when you need to focus at work, it's not so helpful. Combine this with the influence of technology and you'll find that humans today have about an eight-second attention span: shorter than that of a goldfish. The phone is ringing, texts are coming in, clients need your attention, and there are a million and one short- and long-term projects that are flooding into your head right now. It's a wonder we can focus at all.
Create a Pleasant Working Environment
If you want to be able to focus on work, you need to connect with your body first. That means that you should eat regularly, use the bathroom, and work in an environment where the sound, scents, and temperature are optimal for you. For instance, Fast Company states that "workers are most productive and make fewer errors in an environment that is somewhere between 68 and 77 degrees." Before you start work, take some deep breaths, stretch and prepare your brain to work on the next task. This gets your brain and your body in sync and ready to work.
Make Time For Focused Activity
To do this, you need to choose a focus. Know what your priorities are in each part of the year, and plan how you will strive to achieve them. Plan out parts of your workday so that you have those blocks of time available, and ensure that you can't be bothered unless it's a true emergency. For some, this could involve coming in a little early to the office to get focused work done before the workday begins and taking off a little earlier in the day when productivity dips.
Ignore Minor Emergencies
It's much easier to focus if your brain isn't moving from topic to topic. While your brain might enjoy the distraction, your ability to get work done really diminishes. Batch your email and log out of your email when you are completing other tasks so you don't get distracted by the new and suddenly extremely important notes in your inbox. Keep a notepad nearby so that you can jot down items that come to mind that you should deal with later.
Many people work better with a strong deadline. Neil Patel suggests that you trick your brain into thinking that you must complete a task in a certain period of time. He recommends setting a timer for an hour and focusing on your task: "by timing yourself, you will add a sense of urgency that will help you stay focused." He recommends revisiting your goals every hour to ensure that you stay on track.
Take Care of Yourself
While you can't mandate this for your insurance employees, you can do this yourself. Exercise regularly and sleep at least seven hours a night, and you'll have a far better ability to focus the next day.
At American Agents Alliance, we offer products that will allow you to focus your energy on what matters: your clients. Contact us today about products such as E&O insurance, hiring, marketing, and legal tools, and much more.