Life as an insurance sales agent can be draining. For many, the bulk of your work happens outside of the office.

Here’s some advice to keep you focused and driven while you’re on the road.

Listen to this article:

Planning & Organization

Start off your preparations by setting proper expectations and being realistic about what you can accomplish with the time you have available. On a busy day, you won’t have time to work on a lengthy proposal. However, you can accomplish smaller tasks when you have a few minutes between appointments.

Next, consider how accessible you’ll be. Will you use text messaging to stay in touch? Maybe email is more realistic during a day filled with calls. Either way, clearly detail when and how you’ll be available, and stay consistent.

Try to downsize your devices and go digital where you can, but be prepared to work offline. You can plan for limited internet by sending important PDFs to your mobile devices so they’re available anywhere.

Try to downsize your devices and go digital where you can, but be prepared to work offline.

If data cost isn’t an issue for your business, you can combat spotty Wi-Fi by investing in a mobile hotspot. Available from each of the major wireless carriers, a mobile hotspot creates a small area of Wi-Fi coverage, linking nearby Wi-Fi devices with your cellular data network. You can also activate your phone’s mobile hotspot to connect to your devices on the go.

Before you hit the road each morning, make sure your devices are fully charged and properly synced. That way, you’ll be able to access the same data on your phone as your tablet and vice versa. Syncing can also come in handy when you run into a client with a question armed solely with your smartphone.

Lists: Any.do, Google Keep, Wunderlist

Create a Schedule

When your day is packed with appointments and meetings, it’s easy to forget things. Instead, record your events into an agenda that travels with you and include notes! If your calendar is digital, you can also set reminder alerts.

Next, make travel time more efficient by zoning your appointment book. Break the geographical area you cover down into days of the week. Schedule your meetings and appointments for corresponding zones only on those days. Effective zoning will cut down on your mileage and time in traffic. In turn, you’ll stay calm and focused on selling rather than worrying about how you’re going to make it across town during rush hour.

Zone your appointment book geographically so you can stay calm and focused on selling.

Similarly, always include a buffer when you’re scheduling your appointments. You’ll be thankful that you gave yourself the extra cushion when a meeting runs late or traffic gets re-routed.

Calendars: CloudCal, Google Calendar, Wave

Pack the Right Tools

Odds are, you know what you need in order to work effectively. Pack those tools and know where to find them. The majority of your tools should fit into the bag you take along to each appointment. We recommend:

  • Tablet
  • Smartphone
    • Charging cables
    • Charging block
  • Pen and paper
    • Battery-free items will never fail
    • Need to print forms or guides on the road? Most shipping services with a storefront also provide professional printing services.

If you need more than you can comfortably fit into your bag, consider a car or trunk office, but don’t go overboard. Your mobile office should be a pared down version of your main office, not an exact copy. For your vehicle, we suggest:

  • Front-seat organizer
  • Storage crate for hanging folders
  • Car clothes hanger bar
  • Phone charging cords for your car

Cloud-based storage: DropBox, Google Drive, OneDrive

Productivity

Always have a backup plan. A day should never be considered wasted or ruined if something drastic changes. Use the extra time to fire off a few emails or tend to busywork. Create an “anywhere” task list with items that won’t take long to complete and cross items off as you complete them. You can also use your smartphone to attach locations to tasks so you’ll be reminded to tend to them at certain places, like the office of that client who’s always late.

Do. Not. Multitask. Only 2% of people can successfully multitask. Most of us think we’re multitasking, but we’re actually performing something called task switching. If you’re bouncing back and forth between projects, then your concentration is too. Experts say that task switchers suffer a 40% loss in productivity. It’s far more effective to work on one task at a time with laser focus.

Only 2% of people can multitask. The rest of us are just task switching, and it’s costing us a 40% loss in productivity.

If you find you really need to get work done during a long trip or slow afternoon, disconnecting from Wi-Fi can be a great way to boost productivity. Online distractions are real, and sometimes the only way to get away from them is to get rid of them. You can disable your ability to connect through your operating system or software designed specifically for productivity.

Additionally, keep your email in check. Too often, important emails get lost in the shuffle. If the sheer volume of your inbox has you overwhelmed, take the time to organize it. Create an “end of day” folder to help you sort daily tasks. Remember to move your email to the folder throughout the day as you receive it. Then make sure you address the contents of the folder before the end of each day. An “end of week” folder works the same way to cut down on email clutter.

Note-taking: Evernote, Notebook, OneNote, SimpleNote

Try some (or all!) of these tips to improve your efficiency on the road. Whether it’s planning ahead, packing the essentials, or staying on task, we know this advice will make you a true road warrior.