“If I’m in my office I don’t feel like I am working.”
This was a quote from one of our Wholesaler Masterminds Coaching clients.
As a result, he took no office days and the administrative part of his business was a mess.
Upon further discussion it became apparent that his office day had no plan.
Aside from the company mandated conference call, he was adrift – allowing the day to take him anywhere (nowhere?) that it chose.
Here’s seven ways to insure that your next office day is far more productive than your last.
Make a list: Yes, you have heard this before.
But do you do it? Religiously?
We use Evernote and a feature called Stacks to keep our notes and to dos.
The benefit of keeping our lists in the cloud is that we can add to it from any device (smartphone, tablet, PC) and add/delete on the fly.
Not fan of the digital list? Keep a good old fashioned paper list instead.
Main point: you can’t just sit down at your desk on your office day and be directionless.
In addition, a percentage of the stuff you thought about doing, without writing down, will be long gone from your memory when your office day rolls around.
Do the most unpleasant task first: Whatever you hate doing most on your office day we advise doing first.
Expense reports, CRM input, conversation with the boss you hate – get them done ASAP.
Those less savory tasks will rattle around your head and clog up both your brain and your energy (they are called ‘tolerations‘) and they’ll derail your day if you are not careful.
Turn off distractions: Yes, having CNBC on in the background will keep you informed during the day.
It also has the ability to send you straight down a rabbit hole of distraction.
In addition, we strongly suggest that you disable ALL bells, buzzes, alarms, and notifications from all tablets, smartphones and computers – except for those that remind you about what’s coming up next in your calendar.
We’ve all become a bit Pavlovian about our devices; the device dings and so I must look.
Lastly, make certain your in home (that’s where 99% of wholesaler office are, right?) office is set apart from the main traffic flow of the home.
Living rooms and space right next to main traffic areas of the house just aren’t conducive to keeping well intention spouses, kids, pets, neighbors, relatives, etc. at bay.
Email only at designated times: Few things will blow up your office day faster than the email from hell.
The pissed off advisor.
The request from home office.
The (fill your own in here).
You can protect your day, or at the very least try to, by scheduling your time to check email and appropriately handle issues/replies.
Time block your day: Start at the beginning of your office day and time block your entire day.
This includes entering these blocks of time in your calendar.
An example might be:
7:30 – 8:00 Email session #1
8:00 – 8:30 Divisional call
8:30 – 9:00 Wrap up weekly expenses
9:00 – 10:00 Advisor calls (thank you, big ticket, first ticket, outstanding issues, etc.)
10:00 – 10:30 Email session #2
10:30 – 10:45 Break (yes, a scheduled break!)
10:45 – 11:30 Advisor calls (thank you, big ticket, first ticket, outstanding issues, etc.)
11:30 – 12:30 Scheduling for future appointments
12:30 – 1:00 Go eat, stretch, walk, drink a glass of water…get up!
1:00 – 1:30 Email session #3
1:30 – 3:30 Prep work for the week(s) ahead (includes material orders, advisor recon, travel plans, etc.)
3:30 – 3:45 Break
3:45 – 4:15 Weekly team meeting with internal, scheduler, admin, etc.
4:15 – 4:45 Email session #4
4:45 – 5:00 Clean up last minute items
5:00 Get up and leave the office – no, really, get up and walk out.
Set expectations with family/friends: The good news is that you have a network of folks that are glad you are home and want to spend time with you.
The bad news for your office day is that they are glad you are home and want to spend time with you.
The best defense for this is to have a conversation with the loved ones and let them know that office days are not a whole lot different than you going to an office.
Admittedly your significant other, kid, and pets may not quite understand – which, in extreme circumstances, may call for you to…
Move to an offsite location: There are times that, no matter the conversation, you will never get a proper work environment at home.
That’s when you need to seriously investigate offsite space.
Think executive suites where you can access a small office and the necessary office equipment for a reasonable monthly fee.
We have clients who are able to expense the office space against their T&E.
While some leaders are fundamentally opposed to wholesalers taking office days, whose experience might be borne out of wholesalers using ‘office day’ as a euphemism for ‘not really a day of work at all’, we believe strongly that office days, when done right, are as much a part of the great wholesaler’s skill set as product knowledge and presentation skills.
What’s your view on office days?
What keys to office day success did we miss?