As an agent, time management skills have a direct impact on your performance and sales. It goes unsaid that they are necessary to excel in your industry. However, even though everyone has the same amount of hours in a day, some people are able to accomplish so much more than others. Wondering how to maximize your productivity like some others do?
Perfectly organized planners and spreadsheets could explain smoothly handling a flood of tasks. But there are other solutions for the rest of us to navigate a variety of commitments and optimize our time effortlessly.
We have an answer to this dilemma – in a career where missing deadlines is not an option, the Covey time management grid is guaranteed to help you to manage your available time more efficiently.
Covey’s 4 Quadrant Theory offers a simple format to organize your tasks. Covey, an American keynote speaker and author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People , uses four quadrants that allow you to prioritize tasks in relation to their importance and urgency. This helps you to decide whether you need to address a task immediately or if you can postpone it.
Responsibilities are grouped into four categories: Important, Urgent, Not Important, and Not Urgent.
Quadrant I – Urgent and Important
In this section, we find tasks that have skipped out of the non-urgent category and have a significant time sensitivity associated with their completion. Urgent responsibilities require immediate attention. These activities are often tightly linked to the accomplishment of someone else’s goal. Not dealing with these issues will cause immediate consequences. While careful planning can help avoid tasks entering this quadrant, tasks will pop up or increase in urgency to land themselves here.
The real skill is to commit time to processes that enable you to work on tasks more quickly and with ease. It also ensures that they get done more efficiently.
Examples: Crises, deadline-driven work, medical/other emergencies, last-minute preparations.
Quadrant II – Not Urgent but Important
Covey’s time management system proposes creating time to focus on important tasks before they become urgent. Quadrant II activities are not urgent, but they are important.
These tasks are your long-term strategies and goals. Staying on top of these in a consistent manner will ensure that you are always one step ahead of where you need to be. This prevents you from ending up in Quadrant I on a frequent basis.
In addition, there are important activities that fall in this category including relationship building and recreation. We often read about organizing our professional lives, but personal lives need to be weighed into the equation as well. To avoid burnout, we need to focus on ourselves, family and friends as part of the equation rather than an afterthought, and Covey realizes this as part of his structure.
Examples: Preparation and planning, relationship-building, exercise, nutrition, and regular doctor checkups to prevent urgent health emergencies.
Quadrant III – Urgent but Not Important
The third quadrant is reserved for tasks that are urgent, without being important. Covey recommends minimizing or even eliminating these tasks as they do not contribute to your output. Delegation is also an option here. At best, these are distractions with high urgency.
Tasks that land in this quadrant often come from sources that regard the task as urgent and important (Quadrant I). Because of emotion, they fail to delineate between the two. When approached with tasks in this quadrant, it is best to delegate, as previously stated, but do so in a way to subside the crisis-level emotion and guide the task into its true “not-important” category.
Examples: Emails, calls, meeting other people’s priorities instead of completing one’s own tasks.
Quadrant IV – Not Urgent and Not Important
The fourth and last quadrant focuses on tasks and responsibilities that do not yield any value—items that are unimportant and not urgent. These time wasters should be eliminated in designated work time as they have little to no value. However, this quadrant can be used as a reward.
While you want to remain out of this quadrant while trying to drive results, some tasks in this quadrant do have there time and place. An effective use of your time would help you operate in this quadrant by choice rather than venturing into it as part of a by-product of aimlessly wandering through your day.
Examples: Busywork, mindlessly watching tv, scrolling through social media, procrastinating important responsibilities.
How Does This Apply To My Career?
If you’re like most people, you probably spend most of your time on activities that either fall into Quadrant 1 or Quadrant 3 because they’re urgent. And, as an insurance agent, you cannot afford to be scrambling to complete a never-ending list of urgent tasks because they weren’t addressed when they fell into the second quadrant – important, but not urgent.
You must manage promoting and selling insurance products and services to your customers above all. But you also have to balance doing your own research on the plans so you can give sound financial advisory services and customer support to your clients. Marketing strategies must be drawn and redrawn from time to time, keeping in mind your customers’ preferences.
If you sell a variety of insurances, such as health, life, commercial, or medicare – you must complete these objectives for each vertical. Long story short, you have your work cut out for you. But through implementing this model, your load will become significantly less daunting.