Hit Reset to Give Your Agency a Head Start
Every so often when you’re sitting at your computer typing a report or looking up information on the Internet, the screen will all of a sudden freeze and your keyboard will stop working. You push down the return key a few times and hit escape, but nothing changes. Before long you come to the realization that the report you just spent all day working on is about to be lost because you hadn’t saved the document as you worked on it. It’s time to do a restart.
Just like our computers sometimes need to reboot when they are overwhelmed with information, the same is true for people. We are all constantly on the go while we’re at work, and there’s myriad distractions which make quality “thinking” time nearly impossible.
Whether you’re the owner of your insurance business, CEO, regional manager, or hold some other leadership role in the organization, it’s critical that you schedule downtime for yourself and your employees every so often. Quality downtime is important for a number of reasons.
- It enables us to view things from a holistic perspective, not tainted by the task we’ve just completed or the one we’re about to undertake. Employees who can view business challenges from afar can result in suggestions for improvement.
- When we stop being “connected” for a day (no email/Internet/ phone/meetings), our minds calm down, intuition starts to come back to the forefront, we start to see things through a more creative lens and new ideas start to emerge. Encourage office employees to unplug every once in a while, and then schedule a creative meeting to discover these new ideas. You'll find that people really get creative when they are allowed time to remove themselves from work.
- It allows us to develop a refreshed, comprehensive view of how we are spending our time – not just at work, but personal activities as well - and to recalibrate and adjust our goals and priorities. At the office, this can bolster energy, resulting in more efficient work days.
These are all benefits which are valuable benefits often lost in the rush from task to task, engagement to engagement, both in and outside of work. In order to be successful yourself, and in your company, you need to make downtime part of the equation. Here are some ideas for hitting reset to grow.
- Schedule downtime every so often and actually block it out on your calendar. Think about how much you need as opposed to how much you can get by with, and mark that time as downtime in black and white. Use alarms and reminders to make sure you actually take the time away from work.
- Set rules for your downtime. The goal is to relax and recover from your workday, so maybe one of the rules needs to be no answering the phone or email, or jumping on the computer. Another rule may be that you engage in some kind of activity that requires you to leave the office, like going for a run or sitting in the park.
- Reflect on your downtime. Before heading back into the office, start planning what you will do on your next out-of-office adventure. Having something to look forward to will help you focus on the task at hand - that being work - because you know a reward is coming when you finish what needs to get done.
While enjoying your downtime, take the time to write down goals. A Virginia Tech study found people who regularly write down their goals earn nine times as much over their lifetime as those who don’t. A study out of the Dominican University of California takes this concept a step further in the discovery of goals being shared with a friend. Of the study subjects, those who articulated their goals were 33-percent more successful in accomplishing their goals than those who merely wrote them down.