The job of a freight broker typically requires the ability to effectively multitask. Brokers, in most cases handle both the sales and operational component of the transaction so it can be challenging to improve productivity particularly in the heat of the battle so to speak. My next two posts are designed to help freight brokers, truck brokers, logistic brokers and shipping brokers to improve their productivity by sharing ideas and concepts that I have found to be incredibly valuable during my career as both a freight broker and entrepreneur.
1. Make a plan everyday!
This may sound like a cliche but failing to plan is the same as planning to fail. I am a big believer in planning my day in advance and for years now I have gotten in the habit of starting my plan the night before. How? Before I leave everyday I make a list of things I want to accomplish tomorrow, including follow up calls, meetings, research, etc. When I come in the next morning the first thing I do is to review and revise the list my adding or deleting items before I move onto the next key component which is Prioritizing!
2. Prioritize as if your life depends on it…because it does!
Bottom line, not all activities are created equal. So it is critical to remember and utilize the 80/20 principle also known as the “Pareto Principle” which states that roughly 80% of the effect comes from 20% of the causes. In sales that means 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers. As it relates to being more productive it means that 20% of your daily activities gives you 80% of your results. When prioritizing my plan I rank each thing on my list A through D based upon priority with A’s being the highest ranking. After ranking your list the key is to focus and complete all the A’s before moving onto the B’s and the B’s before moving on the C’s and so on. This focuses you on the most important activities first which should significantly increase your impact.
3. Break larger projects down into smaller more management pieces
Remember the old adage, “How do you eat an elephant? Answer: One bite at a time” When you break your tasks down into more manageable pieces and focus on tackling one pieces at a time. This makes it easier to prioritize which pieces come first and can prevent people from becoming overwhelmed by the size and scope of a large project.
4. Learn how to block out distractions
This may sound easy it is getting increasingly difficult to focus! Three of the biggest distractions I see today are email, text messaging and instant message. While they can enhance communications and be used effectively you need to learn to shut off your email, IM and cell phone when a task requires concentration and focus. For example while I am writing this article both my cell phone and email are off. Why? Because writing requires creativity and concentration and if I were bouncing back and forth from my email and cell phone it could take me 10 times as long to finish this article. It is difficult, I know me but you can do it and once you embrace blocking out distractions I think you will agree that email, IM and text messaging can both positively and negatively affect your productivity.
Improving productivity is not as difficult as it might seems. Regardless if you are freight broker, freight agent, truck broker, logistics broker or a stock broker for that matter by trying 1 or more of the 4 tips listed above…I am confident you will see the benefit.
This is the first part of a two part series on increasing/enhancing “Productivity” for freight brokers. Check out part 2 at http://www.freightbrokerbootcamp.com/blog/freight-broker-training-increase-productivity-part-2/
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