There’s a good chance a majority of your insurance career has depended on you leaving your house to find success.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a short commute to the office or a string of networking events shaking hands and kissing babies.
Handshaking might take months to recover as a socially accepted greeting. The kissing babies thing was always weird anyway.
Now the big question becomes how can you recalibrate your productivity in a domestically confined work environment?
Don’t worry, I’ve spent my entire decade-plus insurance career working in such ways. So let’s breakdown some of the most important areas for success and pivotal traps to avoid.
1. Make Your Bed
Listen, I know this sounds like adolescence parental guidance instead of grown-up business talk... But you have to win the morning to win the day, at least according to best-selling author Tim Ferriss.
While this is a good habit to keep regardless of where you’re working for the day, everything is magnified when you’re home 24/7.
I’m pretty sure there’s some fancy science that supports the psychological benefit of achieving your first task of the day.
You’ll notice a majority of this list is about limiting distractions and building positive momentum by accumulating easy wins. If you pop back into your bedroom, even for a minute, your eyes cannot unsee that unsightly mess that instantly becomes a sub-conscience internal distraction.
Again, this is a fantastic habit outside of extended periods of isolation.
But, I don’t care how big your house is, you’re activity level is nowhere close to what it is when you’re “hustling” out in the real world.
Not only will this prepare your body for a long day of physical stagnation, but it will also help jump-start your brain activity.
Also, you don’t need a professional level home gym to get in a solid workout. Simply crawl around with your kids and move faster than normal for 20-30 minutes to get your blood moving.
If you need something a little more advanced to help you get started, here’s one of my favorite equipment-free workouts you can do anywhere.
3. Get Dressed
Listen, if you think I’m kidding, I am most definitely not.
But, you are avoiding the outside world so it’s possible the whole tree falling in the forest rule applies. If no one is around to see you, does it really matter?
In all seriousness, if you ignored the first two steps in this all-knowing and powerful guide, it’s easy to roll out of bed right to your laptop.
Believe me, we wouldn’t be talking about this if it wasn’t a very easy trap countless agents have fallen victim to.
Before you know it, your pajamas have become your new definition of “business casual” and a pair of jeans feels like formal attire.
It’s important to create a physical distinction when it’s time to get down to business. Remember the whole psychology thing…
4. Create a Dedicated Workspace
This might be more commonly referred to as a home office, however, I know extra walls and a door are hard to come by.
Again, creating a space that tells your brain it’s time to work when you sit down is so important.
The kitchen table is a popular destination for most amateur work from home enthusiasts.
However, this is a rookie mistake because there is way too much traffic through this area.
It takes around 25 minutes after each disruption before you regain your full attention on the task at hand. The fancy word for this is flow state.
You want to do everything you can to protect your flow state and maintain your focus.
Of course, you can check email and firm up your schedule over a cup of coffee, but you’ll want to wait to tackle the big things.
Find a spot away from all the normal and in this case abnormal household activity.
5. Rethink Your Schedule
Speaking of that schedule you just checked, because we’re creatures of habit, there’s an overwhelming temptation to follow the same structure as if you were still in the office.
This is another novice level error and one you should approach properly with your newfound freedom and flexibility.
Your goal should be to coordinate the natural state of your house with the most appropriate work tasks.
Meaning, if the decibel level tends to be higher in the morning maybe it’s better to save your client calls until the afternoon.
However, sometimes the chaos is unavoidable. Lean into it, take a break and wait for it to pass. When it does you have the flexibility to stay on task until it’s completed.
6. Answer the Phone
There’s a good chance I could throw a rock in any direction and hit an agency with a phone system that hasn’t been updated in over a decade.
That means there’s a good chance your extended impromptu remote work is being done on your personal cell phone.
Some agents like making their clients feel special by providing them with this direct access, it really depends on how much after-hours punishment you enjoy.
There’s an easier way to create the same feeling while still maintaining a healthy level of communication distance from your clients.
Set up a Google Voice number.
It’s free and easy to use.
You’ll have separate texting, voicemail and call log for all your clients. Not to mention it works in your browser if you want to save your phone battery.
Because be honest, you always forget to charge it even when it’s just sitting on your desk.
7. Video Conferencing is Your Friend
Even the most experienced remote workers need to see other people sometimes.
Don’t be afraid of the camera, have a corner of your house presentable for your co-workers to see.
Its unlikely most clients will be prepared for a video call, however, your colleagues are usually good for a few of these a week.
But pay attention to what’s in the background. (How chaotic does your bookshelf look?)
8. Stop Working
The best part about working from home is that you’re always working and never working all at the same time.
It’s really easy to get lost in what you’re doing and forget to close the laptop. You don’t have to worry about rush hour and before you know it you’ve worked right through dinner.
Just like when you’re at the office, set a time when you’re done for the day and go explore other parts of your house.
You can always jump back in for a round of emails later after everything settles down.
The Bottom Line
There’s a good chance you’ve been working in some capacity from home for years.
If you’re not used to long stretches of isolated work you can easily start taking liberties that infringe on your productivity.
Of course, there’s no official way to work from home, the biggest thing is creating your own routine, limiting your distractions and sticking to it.