Summer is halfway over.

Sorry for the sobering reminder, folks!

For the past 15-16 years, my ‘structure clock’ has been put out of whack by the summer months…June through August…when my kids have been out of school.

I love organization…and, I relish getting up at 5:30 in the morning to walk the dog, feed the dog…wake the kids, feed the kids…get the kids off to school…watch the morning news with my cup of coffee…and, get myself ready and off to work.

For most of us, school ended on or around June 1st…and, school returns back to form on or about the end of August.

This blog is posting around the 12th of July…so, yeah, we’re at the halfway point of our summertime fun.

I apologize for the bad news.

Soon enough, there will be clogged roadways, lines of school busses, flashing yellow lights, speed zones and speed traps…crossing guards with those blinding yellow vests…and, backpacks bigger than most of my suitcases bouncing across the road…with kids attached.

The stores are already getting filled with ‘Back to School ‘stuff…banners, signs hung high and aisles cleared for the new merchandise. Even the summer patio furniture sale is over!!! YIKES!

You know it’s true. You walk into a Target or a Wal-Mart and the inflatable raft and grill accessary shelves have been cleared…and, are starting to scream with red, blue, orange, yellow and green binders. Rows and rows and rows…of pencils, sharpeners, calculators and Superman and Monster High lunch boxes.

It’s only the first week of JULY. And, you all say the same thing…“ALREADY?”

I can hear it now.

You know it’s coming…but, you’re reluctant to truly get ready.

And, as the start of school approaches, you all get a teensy bit antsy. You know the day is coming and for most of us, you shrug our shoulders and do little to knuckle down and organize your daily activities better. I mean, why should you prepare? It’s just a few extra lights and slower traffic getting to point A and point B…right?

You’ll start getting up for work thirty minutes earlier than our summer mornings.

You’ll grab that coffee in a to-go cup and pick up a granola bar for the ride.

You’ll clock it just right so you get out of the driveway just seconds before the neighborhood bus comes strolling by…and, if you happen to get caught behind that bus, well…you will express loudly your displeasure and frustration…to your dashboard.

You know what I’m talking about.

You’ll stock up on quick-to-fix dinners…because, after school is: football practice, cheerleading practice, school club meetings, a trip to the cleaners and picking the family pet up from the vet. Not to mention there’s the washing of school uniforms, bath time, dinner time, homework time and bed time.

And, you will get in a rare ‘me time’ which amounts to slumping on the couch for 10 minutes to catch up on your favorite sitcom…just in time to fall asleep halfway through.

You know what I’m talking about…don’t you!

During these first days of school, we all try and figure out just how we are going to organize our day just a little bit better…sun up to sun down.

But that’s the problem! We WAIT until the days are upon us to figure it all out.

Our kids…bless their little hearts. They don’t know the frustration we feel. Someday, however, as fate will have it…they will have children of their own and learn to bob and weave through life’s daily organizational struggles.

(insert malicious laugh here)

If you only did the same for your agency…organize and prepare.

So, what are these changes?

It could be anything, from how you communicate to your clients via social media to hiring new staff to take on the throngs of new business to expanding your agency to other markets.

You have to question yourself: If I know a change is coming over the horizon, how can I get better prepared so I’m not behind that ‘proverbial bus?’

Every agent is after the same thing…it’s getting there that makes the difference between you and the other guy. How you get yourself, your agency, your staff and your clients all prepared is what will separate you from the rest of the pack.

It’s understandable…you don’t always adhere to creating a plan or taking precautions necessary for the inevitable. You have loads of challenges on your plate each and every day. But, if you’d just take 10 minutes out of each day to write down an idea, a thought, or merely a sentence that goes towards creating that plan of action, it would make a world of difference down the road.

All three of my kids are off to college now. No longer do I need to be at my kid’s school to pick them up after a game, drive them to after school birthday parties, and run to Publix to plan out their weekly lunch box schedule…or, wash the dirty soccer uniforms and smelly socks. They are on their own.

Wonderful lessons learned, and preparation was the key to their success…and, ultimately to my professional success as well.

Preparation kept me on task and helped mold and shape my organizational skills.

Oh…and, I had my fair share of maneuvering my way through clogged roadways, got behind a few busses, watched for the warning lights, slowed down when I needed to, listened to the directions of a ‘crossing guard’ here and there…and, took the weight of that backpack on my own personal shoulders to lead my kids…my team…down the right path to success.

You, your agency, your staff and your clients will all have ultimate accomplishment from better preparation.

Why not formulate a plan of action that addresses the changes before the change is upon you. Take just ten minutes a day to address these encounters:

  • Clogged roadways = how do you differentiate yourself from other agents competing for the same business?
  • Lines of school busses = how do you create a world of patience (“…my young padawan”)?
  • Flashing yellow lights = how will you recognize the warning signs of the many obstacles ahead?
  • Speed zones and speed traps = how will you slow down and contemplate about the road in front of you?
  • Crossing guards = how will you proactively lead the direction of your agency?
  • Backpacks bigger than most of my suitcases = how will you carry the load that sometimes might seem unbearable?

Summer is almost over, and the anticipation for the start of school is starting to rise. Be hands-on….prepare for a month from now…six months from now…a year…five years.

Your success will come from how you bob and weave through your daily challenges with a little help from an organizational plan.

Think about it…what does your structure clock look like?

 

Steve Shepherd

About Steve Shepherd


Steve’s entire career has been focused on helping companies to increase sales. He has sold, managed, trained and coached sales and sales management with noteworthy results. Steve’s results-oriented, highly interactive style has the ability to increase sales for many companies statewide. He makes sure the workshops are productive, interactive, and, above all, fun.