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Why take time to plan your day?


For many brokers, trying to keep on top of all the daily tasks and multiple customers vying for attention feels like one endless juggling act. There are emails to answer, phone calls to return, invitations to accept, meetings to attend, customer service-related tasks to tackle – the list goes on. So how do you survive and thrive in a world that seems like a circus? The answer is time management – the process of planning and controlling the time you spend on specific activities, in order to remain efficient and productive. Here are some tips for planning your day to help you keep your act together!

Don’t let emails dominate

It’s important to eliminate things from your day that waste your precious time. Emails are a huge time-waster, to the point where they are impacting employee productivity globally.

According to a recent Canadian study by Carleton University, people are spending 17 hours a week reading, responding and sending work emails both at work and at home. And 30% of the time, the emails are not even important[1]. The motto of this story is not to become a slave to your email inbox. Allocate time to de-cluttering, and create a strategy for managing email actions (leaving them unread is not the solution). There are all sorts of tricks and tools you can use to help manage your emails, from grouping them into certain folders, to applying filters to your inbox. Check with your IT manager if you want to know more about managing your inbox.

Use tools to actively plan

Electronic tools can help you organise your workload and use your time wisely. Outlook’s calendar allows you to create appointments and events, colour-code items, and request a sound or message reminder. You can use it to set up meetings and create group schedules so everyone on your team is working to the same deadline and objective.

Using this system, you can block-out time for important tasks that require more concentration. You can even organise your Outlook to open on the calendar, rather than your emails so you are not distracted by them. Outlook is just one example of a tool that most people have already, however there are others that may work better for you – Lotus Notes and Google Calendar are great scheduling tools that can help you plan your day by scheduling time-sensitive activities and discretionary tasks. Take some time to explore personal time management tools and phone apps that work with your particular way of doing business.

Get your ratios right

When planning your day, it’s a good idea to remember to divide your time according to your role. So, for example, if you’re a loan writer in a sales and meeting driven role, you may choose to split your time 70:30. That means you’ll spend 70% of your day with clients, and 30% on other important activities. Work out the appropriate ratio for your particular role, and then use it as a guide when planning your day.

Reserve time for big-impact actions

When it comes to creating a task list for the day, the trick is to prioritise in order of impact, importance and urgency. Productive people are the ones who filter out time-wasting tasks and tackle those that are genuinely a good use of their time. They schedule their time carefully, creating a sequence to execute the most important, big-impact priorities first. The key is to make all the pieces of the puzzle fit together in the right order, at the right time.

If you’re working on complex tasks, block-out time in your calendar so you can avoid interruptions such as emails, phones and people whilst you do them. If there’s a task that you’re not keen on completing or you’re inclined to put off, do it first! By planning to commit yourself and completely focus on getting the unpleasant task out of your way, you’ll be more productive and feel less overwhelmed by what’s ahead.

Don’t forget the small stuff

When you have multiple deadlines to meet, it’s easy to overlook the smaller day-to-day tasks which still require your attention. Planning your day will help you avoid getting stressed

Don’t forget to schedule time for the important small things, like returning phone calls. If you allow time to return phone calls twice a day, you’ll find that you do so more efficiently. It’s also important to spend a little time every morning updating your calendar so you’ll be prepared for what’s coming up during the day. Allow time for short breaks and remember to schedule in lunch – you can always share your lunch hour with a client or colleague if necessary, but it’s important that you keep yourself fuelled up so you have the energy to perform at your best.

We hope you’ve found these time management tips handy. Remember, planning your day will pay dividends in terms of your productivity levels and ability to keep on top of multiple tasks at once. Effective time management will also help you to be proactive and avoid being reactive in the workplace.

If you want to find more ways to make your life easier, ask your local Broker Support Manager about tailoring Mercury to maximise process efficiencies in your particular business. Mercury works with Outlook and gives you multiple time and business management options. For example, Mercury’s CRM has a very effective tasking system which helps you and your staff work together more productively and to provide consistent customer service. You have full workflow management capabilities at your fingertips with ready-made tasking system templates, plus a great management overview of staff workloads. To find out more, visit Connective Wiki or contact your local Broker Support Manager today.