Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to go solo as an independent insurance adjuster. Self-employment is a dream many wish to achieve, but the autonomy has as many challenges as benefits. How will you structure your workflow so that you maintain a healthy balance between productivity and your free time? Here are a few ideas for staying focused while self-employed:
Staying Focused While Self-Employed
Manage Family obligations and Expectations
When we’re self-employed, we’re physically more accessible to our families, especially when we’re working from home. While you may have taken the leap to self-employment for this very reason, lack of time management and boundaries can blur the lines between family and work time. Sit down with your family and determine, ahead of time, what you expect of them and what they can expect of you during working hours.
Set ground rules, such as “when the office door is closed, don’t disturb unless it’s an emergency.” Make sure everyone is on the same page.
When your pre-determined business hours are over, put away the phone and the laptop. Be truly present for your family. Running a business takes a lot of time. You’re likely driven to succeed and, especially at the beginning you have a lot of work to do. But if you don’t maintain boundaries you’ll add stress to both your personal and your professional life.
Set Up a Dedicated Work Area
If you don’t have a room for a home office, set up a workstation that’s off-limits to other family members. Likewise, respect your home environment by not letting your work take over every surface of the home.
If you do have a home office, make sure it’s appointed with furniture, storage solutions and equipment and that mesh with your intended workflow. Your most important investment as an independent adjuster is a well-organized environment that reflects your unique work habits.
Be Realistic About Your Work Habits When Staying Focused
How self-disciplined are you when staying focused?
This is where some articles might go on about limiting social media time or locking your Playstation in your spouse’s car trunk before they go to work each day to eliminate temptation. The hard truth is that only you know the hazards that can derail your focus.
- Set specific times for checking e-mails and voicemails.
- Use time management applications or software, or basic checklists for daily tasks and client management schedules.
- Avoid internet rabbit-holes by setting goals and time deadlines for specific online tasks and research.
- Build in time for breaks, and take them. Clear your head with a few minutes of fresh air, exercise, or even a round or two of Battlefront if it helps you return to work with a fresh perspective.
- Use a kitchen timer to help you set up time limits for various tasks when staying focused.
- Keep a journal of your daily activities, and be honest about your entries. Include everything from phone calls to trips to the fridge. Looking back, you can measure milestones, identify areas on which to improve and plan adjustments to your workflow and environment.
Review, Assess, and Ask for Feedback
When you’re evaluating your business’ progress, you’ll obviously want to pursue feedback from your clients—especially those who followed you across your bridge to independence. Don’t forget to take time to check in with your household members to see how your new home-based business enmeshes with your personal life.
Keep an open mind, and listen carefully for cues that you might be tempted to ignore. If there are issues, you want to work them out before they reach crisis level. Even though you are self-employed, your family and friends are your support network. When you work from home, your loved ones are part of your company culture, so respect their input on your success in maintaining work/family boundaries.
Self-employment is a balancing act, but as an independent adjuster you’re no stranger to risk management and objective observation. You’ve got this!