To: Fellow NAIFA-Central Florida Member
From: Michael Aun, President, NAIFA-Central Florida
Re: NAIFA-CF Florida Meeting, Thursday, January 28, 2021, 11:30 am- 1 pm
Note: CHANGE OF VENUE
I have the privilege of serving as your incoming President of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA).
We have changed our venue from Dubsdread Country Club to our exciting new location at Hannibal’s On the Square in lovely Winter Park, Florida. They are located at 511 West New England Avenue, Winter Park, FL. Phone: (407)-599-2929.
Our first meeting of the year takes place on Thursday, January 28, 2021 from 11:30 a.m.- 1 p.m. We have a terrific speaker for our hybrid meeting, which can be taken in live or via Zoom. A more appropriate announcement including your menu options will be forthcoming under separate email.
NAIFA-Central Florida promises you the best in programing and ideas this year, starting with today’s email which includes some tips on making this your best year ever! Take a few minutes to look at the first edition of NAIAF-Central Florida television. The interview covers a fraction of the data in the article, so the full article appears below the link.
All the best,
Michael Aun, FIC, LUTCF, CSP, CPAE <> District Agent (02864) serving since 1974
Mail: 610 Ponderosa Drive, Saint Cloud, Florida 34769-1660
1978: Competed for and Won the Toastmasters International® World Championship of Public Speaking
1983: Earned Certified Speaking Professional, National Speakers Association®
2000: Chosen by Peers – Hall of Fame Speaker, NSA®
2001: Honored with George Morrisey Lifetime Achievement Award – NSA®
2008: NAIFA® Central Florida Member of the Year
2009: Selected To The Legends of the Speaking Profession®
2011: Named Recipient of the Phil Hosche Distinguished Service Award – NAIFA®
2021: President, NAIFA® – Central Florida Chapter
Here’s the link for our video “How to Make the New Year Your Most Productive Ever”
BELOW IS THE TEXT OF THE FULL ARTICLE
HOW TO MAKE 2021 YOUR MOST PRODUCTIVE YEAR EVER!
Time Management: “Winning the Time Wars”
RULES, MYTHS, TIPS
If you were given $86,400 every day and told to invest it wisely or lose it, you would treat the process very seriously, would you not?
If you were rewarded $31,536,000 tax-free this year and told, “Use it or lose it,” hopefully, you would become a good steward of those funds in the truest sense of the word.
Each of us begins our day with an identical number of minutes – 1,440. We are each awarded 86,400 seconds when the clock hits 12:00 a.m. Why is it that some of us spend that judiciously and others waste it? I suspect there are hundreds of reasons.
In my nearly five decades in the insurance industry, I have concluded that there are scores of time robbers that attack us daily. They range from uninvited drop-ins to unwelcome e-mails. They vary from junk mail to the piles of regulatory rubbish that has inundated our industry (a consequence of unethical practices that seem to permeate their way into every profession).
This flak is what we must navigate through to win the time wars every day. It’s not easy but the purpose of this article is to help you address some of the most common ones.
We all get our share of snail mail every day. The post office has changed their rates so often that they created the “forever” stamp. You pay one price and it is good “forever,” or until they change the rules again. Only NASCAR changes the rules more often than the post office.
It is taking a week for us to get Priority Mail from New Haven, CT to Kissimmee, Florida. One wonders whether you are paying for postage or storage.
What do you do with all the stuff that comes across your desk every day? Sometimes I think home offices everywhere are killing at least one forest per week.
When I first got into the insurance business, our application was a mere two pages. Now, we have a booklet that is literally 26-pages long and it does not even include HIPPA forms or special beneficiary designation forms, just to mention a couple. Somebody invented a cruel joke when they coined the term “paperless office.” We have since gone paperless on most things, though not all.
We cannot do much about those things that are thrust on us by our home office and other powers that be (such as the IRS and City Hall). We can do something about how we handle them when the forest hits our desk. Here are the four rules to use as guidelines:
Rule Number One: Handle the paper only once.
Rule Number Two: If you pick it up to review it and still fail to decide, simply fold a corner. If you pick it up again, fold another corner. If you pick it up again, fold another corner. Four corners ought to give you a clue about what to do with the document.
Rule Number Three: Decide! Carnegie said, “If you are right 51% of the time, you will be a winner.” The number one problem facing middle management today is to get people to make decisions.
Rule Number Four: “Ready, Fire, Aim.” So, what if you screw up? Adjust your sites and fire again… but DECIDE!
Ben Franklin did something in his day, which I find interesting, even by today’s standards. He would not open his mail for weeks at a time. By the time he got around to opening it, most of the problems had solved themselves.
Get a good spam-blocker on your computer to keep unsolicited or unwanted e-mail from taking over your life. If we have multiple web sites, we get about a thousand-plus such e-mails daily, but most are now caught by my spam-blocker system.
Do not waste your time trying to set up blocking mechanisms. For each one you establish, there are dozens of ways around them. If someone wants to communicate badly enough with you, they can request admittance into your phone book. You at least get to review their e-mail in your suspect spam folder before having to admit them.
UNSOLICITED SALES CALLS THAT DROP-IN ON YOU
Everybody needs rules. Otherwise you will not survive in business. I will only see salespeople and vendors in my office from 5:00 a.m. – 7:00 a.m. on Friday mornings.
If you want to sell me something, that is when I buy. My office… my rules. I am very attentive and most times I will buy from someone who is selling something I want.
However, at 7:00 a.m., the pitch is over, because I leave for Toastmasters every Friday morning (when I am in town) at 7:00 a.m. If they are not done, they must come back next Friday. It helps move the meeting along.
HAVE YOU GOT A MINUTE?
I wish I had a quarter for every time someone said, “Have you got a minute?” I would be wealthy. These are the four rules that I observe:
Rule Number 1: I always answer… “If it will only take a minute.”
Rule Number 2: Always stand; never sit. It’s uncomfortable for people to rob you from a standing position.
Rule Number 3: I take off my watch and look at it with one eye and them with the other.
Rule Number 4: When the minute is up, I move on. No exceptions.
MYTHS ABOUT “MAKING” MORE TIME
In a survey for an training system we produced titled “Winning the Time Wars,” we found that 40% of the people we surveyed say they need about 25% more time.
Some 50% of the people in the survey said they “needed 50% more time.” There are multiple myths in time management.
MYTH # 1: The first is the myth of activity. We confuse activity with achievement. Research shows active people get more done. There are two kinds of “active” people- “proactive” and “reactive.” You want to be “proactive.”
MYTH # 2: Next comes the myth of the decision level, i.e. the higher the level a decision is made, the better the decision. Not necessarily. We need to make better decisions quicker.
MYTH # 3: People who are paid more must make smarter decisions. Since when does income dictate good decision making-skills?
MYTH # 4: The fourth is the myth of the delayed decision. Delay improves the quality of a decision. Not necessarily so, in fact, sometimes it can create a bigger problem than it solves. “Paralysis by analysis” is an accepted fact of life. Yes, get the facts, but then decide. However, there is an old axiom that deserves to be noted: “It is not surgery that kills, it is delayed surgery.”
MYTH # 5: The fifth is the myth of delegation. Delegation saves time, worry and responsibility. Maybe so… maybe not. Ask yourself this question: “Is this delegation or abdication?”
MYTH # 6: Myth number six is the fable of efficiency. The most efficient person is not necessarily the most effective. Do not try to do more cheaply that which should not be done at all. Effectiveness is doing the right things right.
MYTH # 7: And then there is the myth of hard work. Activity does not always mean achievement. Are you successful because of your actions or despite them?
MYTH # 8: The myth of omnipotence, i.e. by doing it myself, the tasks are achieved faster and better. Do not do that which you can give away to others to do, or that which should not be done at all. Not only will they probably do it better, but also you can invest your time more wisely.
MYTH # 9: Next is the fabrication of overworked executives. Clarence Randall once wrote, “Pity the overworked, disorganized martyrs.” Many times, we hide behind our workload as the reasons for our failures.
MYTH # 10: The tenth myth is the illusion of the open door. Some managers believe the “open door policy” improves the effectiveness with his or her team. Not so. Open door becomes open season. You go from being part of the solution to part of the problem. Effective managers are virtually unanimous in their desire for a quiet hour. I am in my office by 5:00 a.m. every day because I want three hours of quiet time before the phone starts to ring.
Some executives specify in their voice mail that they will return all their calls between specific hours, i.e. 10-11 a.m. If you state that on your message, do it. Nothing makes people angrier than not doing what you say you are going to do.
MYTH # 11: Next is the myth of problem identification. Identifying the problem is the easy part of problem solving. Avoid becoming a symptom of the problem.
MYTH # 12: Twelfth on our list is the myth of time saving. Many shortcuts are time savers, but many shortcuts can also produce bigger problems. Remember the age-old adage: “There is no shortcut to success.”
No one can elect not to spend time or to spend it at a different rate. We must expect the unexpected.
The late, great coach Vince Lombardi always set his clock 15-minutes ahead to always be on time. And if you showed up for a team meeting at five till the hour, you were already late in Lombardi’s eyes.
Remember two things: Do not shortcut important conversations and do not hasten a decision without critical facts. If you do not have time to do something right the first time, when will you find the time to fix it?
MYTH # 13: The myth of time shortage, i.e., no one has enough time. No one has enough time, yet everyone has all there is. Time is not the problem. It is how we use the limited supply of time that is the problem. Learn to just say no. Confusing priorities cause problems, the most typical of which are working on “second things” first.
MYTH # 14: Time flies. Time marches on. Time is a constant. It is ever present, even timeless. It is very definitive. Time is not against us. How we use time is the problem.
The great philosopher, Pogo, once remarked, “We have met the enemy and it is us!” Time is our scarcest resource and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed. Manage it or it will manage you. Time is just like real estate- the most limited thing in existence.
The question to ask is not where does your time go? As Yogi Berra would say, “You’ve asked a wrong question.” The correct question is “Where should your time go?” Here are some other “Yogisms” I like:
- “The trouble with the future is it ain’t what it used to be.”
- “How can you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been?”
- “When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
- “What time is it Yogi? Do you mean now?”
- “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?”
- “Our excuses can’t become our reasons.”
- “It ain’t over until it’s over.”
SIX QUICK TIPS TO MAXIMIZE YOUR TIME
There is precious little we can do to put a stop to the things went cannot control in our lives, but there is much we can do about how we react to them.
TIP 1: Turn your driving time into learning time. Turn Howard Stern off for a while and listen to some motivational speakers.
TIP 2: Turn your hold time into learning time. Set up a 3-ring binder on your desk with all those handouts that you collect at the conferences you attend and thumb through them as you are on hold waiting for the home office to pick up. I have found I can review all my CE materials and other notes about four times a year simply on hold on the phone.
TIP 3: In the insurance industry, everybody gets “porched” from time to time. When it happens and you are too far from your office to return before the next appointment, pull out your data base and search your client list by zip code and do some “drop-in” visits. At best, it may generate more business on the spot. At worst, it should help you secure an appointment to return another time.
TIP 4: Start a daily journal. Take it everywhere you go. When you are in traffic, take notes if you are at a standstill. Take it on your appointments. You have a daily resource bin in which to park your thoughts. I even take notes in church, which drives my Priest nuts. Every now and then he even says something worth writing down.
TIP 5: Start folders with labels that reflect what information you wish to retain. I buy my books for this very reason. If I see something in a book or magazine I like, I tear out the pages and then file it under a category I want to retain. It is then available to me by topic anytime I want additional information. Mind you, some of these habits precede the days of the computer, Google and Bing.
TIP 6: Become a Google goony. Learn to search both ideas and graphics on search engines such as Google, which is my favorite. You can find terrific information under the Web topic. I often use images from the image button, giving credit of course. You can get maps, news, video and more.
LEARN TO PRIORTIZE
We cannot deflect all the “junk” that comes our way daily, but we can make some decisions on how to process it. The social scientists say we can accomplish about 14 things over the course of a workday- be they appointments, phone calls, letters and other daily business tasks.
We must learn to prioritize. I use a simple A-B-C-D system that works well for me. As I am building my calendar for the day to determine the 14 things I can get done, I must therefore make decisions on what must be done.
Appointments that I have made are “A” priorities. Some important phone calls may also fall into that category as well as critical e-mail and snail-mail correspondence.
“B” priorities are important but not urgent and I will do them if time permits today.
“C” priorities can be done sometime this week, as they are neither urgent nor important.
“D” priorities are the ones of which we are not quite sure. We do not always know how critical they are. I use the “Four D” system. Do it, Dump it, Delay it or Delegate it. The goal is to get it off your radar screen as soon as possible. Below is a simple matrix I use.
|LEVEL A||URGENT||IMPORTANT||MUST BE DONE TODAY|
|LEVEL B||URGENT||NOT IMPORTANT||COULD BE DONE TODAY|
|LEVEL C||IMPORTANT||NOT URGENT||COULD BE DONE, TIME PERMITTING|
|LEVEL D||NOT URGENT||NOT IMPORTANT||DO IT, DUMP IT, DELAY IT, DELEGATE IT|
ANALYZING YOUR CALENDAR
One of the best things you can do is set your goals annually but to modify them quarterly. This gives you a terrific opportunity to fix what is broke. If something is not working, for Pete’s sake, quit doing it. If the horse is dead, get off it.
I begin my yearly planning for next year in my agency in September of each year. I also begin my own planning at that same time. I use a color code system that seems to work well for me.
Green days are go-days or workdays. I want to be in front of clients on those days. As an agent, I wanted four of those days per week with a minimum of four people per day on the calendar.
MDRT level agents are in front of no fewer than a dozen people per week. Top of the Table level agents are in front of as many as twenty-five people per week. Where do you want to be?
Yellow days are the days I use for file preparation, paperwork, phone calling, marketing, Continuing Education, seminars, conventions and other work related, non-selling activity.
Red days are “play days” or days off. Many of these are chosen for you by custom and by choice. Typically, all the holidays are red days. Family events, birthdays, anniversaries, vacations are all in this category. I have never missed Halloween with my kids. It is a red day for me. For you, it might be a workday. You decide.
Below is a simple matrix to follow:
|COLOR CODE||TYPE OF WORKDAY|
|GREEN DAYS||GO-DAYS; AS AN AGENT TRY FOR FOUR APPOINTMENTS PER DAY FOUR DAYS PER WEEK|
|YELLOW DAYS||FILE PREPARATION, PHONE CALLING PAPERWORK MARKETING, CONTINUING EDUCATION, SEMINARS, CONVENTIONS, NON-SELLING WORK RELATED ACTIVITY|
|RED DAYS||PLAY DAYS OR DAYS OFF SUCH AS HOLIDAYS, FAMILY EVENTS, BIRTHDAYS, ANNIVERSARIES, VACATIONS|
Good luck on building a 26-hour day. It is not going to happen. You only get 24, so choose to use them wisely. Remember, you can never go back and regain yesterday’s lost time. It is gone forever.