Dreading the onslaught of busy season insanity? Here are some tips to help keep your zen alive.
This time of the year can be bone-chilling, and I’m not talking about the weather. Just the thought of Medicare, individual, and the majority of small group medical plans renewing within the next few months can cause even the most experienced benefits professional to want to hide under a nice warm blanket, maybe with a cup of tea. With a little planning, you may be able to enjoy the holiday season amidst the renewals. Here’s my laundry list of things that might help keep you sane.
Share your calendar
If another staff member schedules all (or some) of your meetings, be sure to set them up for success. If your online calendar allows, add permissions so that your staff can add/change meetings. If you aren’t high-tech, then go old fashioned and keep a calendar on that staff member’s desk. If you are setting meetings “on the fly,” get two or three days/times your client can meet, then loop in your staff member to finalize the meeting time with your client. Be sure that the calendar meeting includes the client’s name, their phone number, the location of the meeting, and possibly the coverage(s) they want to discuss. That can make coordinating and confirming meetings much easier later on.
If traveling to your clients
When meeting people outside your office, you can end up spending most of your day in your car. While ideally you would set certain days, or even weeks, to visit clients in a geographic area, how many of us really stick to that? But, it’s important to try and here’s a tip, outline a possible schedule now – and add those locations/city names to the top of every day on your calendar. When setting meetings, you and your staff can then try to coordinate locations if at all possible.
Block off your calendar
How long do most of your meetings take? If an hour, then block off your calendar to have 60-minute blocks of time. If you’ll be the one traveling, add in travel time blocks. And remember, you’ll need some “transition” time between your meetings, so set at least 30 minute “blackout” blocks of time between every meeting. This will allow you to act on any urgent items from the meeting, pass tasks off to a staff member, and maybe even grab a bite to eat.
Speaking of eating, even if you will be meeting clients in your office, put together a grab-bag of items that you can access throughout the day. While the smaller sized Cheez-Its, carrot packets, and almond bags are more expensive, you’ll be less likely to eat through a family sized version in one sitting. Other ideas include cheese sticks, crackers, jerky, trail mix, apples, protein bars - you get the idea! Oh, and water. Lots and lots of water. Be sure some of your snacks are your favorite “comfort” foods, too! Some days you just need some extra pampering.
Hire temporary help
A person without an insurance license can complete many tasks within your agency. Of course, we’ve already talked about setting meetings and keeping your calendar. Here’s a bevy of other projects you can assign to a helper. Your goal here is to train on just a few specific tasks – your helper doesn’t need to know the entire process of insurance from soup to nuts – they just need to be the expert in the few tasks you need to get off your plate.
There are a number of tools on the market to help you with tasks. While some can add to your workload, there are others that can shave significant time off the clock. Many of these are included in my company’s free Vetted Vendor Library (sign up required).
You will get through this! Here’s wishing you a happy and healthy Q4!
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I love numbers. I'm a math geek. I read benefits industry articles and periodicals for relaxation (but, honestly, I'm still a fun gal). I also like to share what I've learned and you'll find it all here.