As all Independent Freight Agents know, there’s a multitude of daily challenges you have to face. Whether it’s transit delays, changing regulations, customer service demands, or carrier capacity, it doesn’t take much to feel overwhelmed.
For us, and many of the Independent Freight Agents we work with, staying organized is key to a successful business and eliminating unnecessary stress. Below are 4 tips to help you stay organized and efficient.
Use a CRM
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software can be a one-stop-shop for communication between your current and potential clients. A CRM allows you to organize, automate, and synchronize every aspect of your client relationships.
A CRM tool can help you manage all of your client’s contact information, projects, budgets, invoices, and timelines. Some CRMs are equipped with email marketing tools. This function enables you to send email blasts to all your current and potential clients, eliminating the manual process of reaching out to them one at a time.
For example, If you have a company update or information that needs to be distributed to everyone in your email list, some CRMs have a function that automatically inserts the coinciding name into the email greeting. This allows you to automate your process while still keeping a personal relationship with your client base.
A CRM not only keeps your client base organized, but can also help grow your business, and save you a lot of time.
Your day may send you in a million directions, but within the safe confines of your CRM software, everything is exactly where it needs to be.
Create a Daily To-Do List
Have you ever made a list that’s a mile long and includes tasks you know you won’t be able to get to until at least the next week? Then you start adding to the same list and pushing your tasks further and further out and day after day your list keeps getting longer and your sense of accomplishment and productivity slowly diminishes. Does any of this sound familiar? Same.
That’s why we’ve found it helpful to create a daily list and finish the list daily as well. Everything on that list should only include tasks you know you’ll be able to accomplish that day. If you’re able to get through everything on the list, you can add more tasks. Bonus points for being extra productive.
Trying to tackle all your tasks at once can feel overwhelming and often leads to several tasks being unfinished and forgotten. By breaking up your tasks daily, you’ll be better able to keep track of what you’ve accomplished and what you still need to accomplish.
It’s helpful to begin with your most difficult tasks at the start of the day and save your simpler tasks for last to end your day on a positive note. It’s a simple activity that can make a world of difference in eliminating stress, increasing productivity, and most importantly, staying organized.
- Make a daily list
- Complete your list every day
Although we’ve all wished for this from time to time, freezing time is, unfortunately, impossible. We can, however, manage it. Time management goes hand and hand with a daily to-do list. At the beginning of the day, split up your time into brackets. Be aware of what you can control and what you can’t.
For example, when you’re at a standstill because you’re waiting on a response from a client or third party, that is out of your control. While it would be nice, no amount of staring at your computer or phone willing them to answer is going to make the response come any faster. This is when your time management brackets will come in handy.
Begin your day by reaching out to anyone who is stalling you from completing a project or task. Once you’ve completed those, don’t sit and stare or anxiously pace waiting for a response. Set a reminder to reach back out at a specified time and then move on to a task you can complete on your own. Once you’ve finished a task, check for responses. If there are none, move on to your next task. Then recheck, complete a task, recheck, complete a task, and so on.
Waiting for others to respond is a major time sucker and can significantly decrease productivity. However, organizing a process for yourself allows you to get ahead on other responsibilities and eliminate future stress.
Let it Go
Someone reading this blog really needs this right now. Ready? Read closely. Let. It. Go. In this line of work, there will be multiple pieces of the puzzle that won’t always fit together. For example, transit delays, damaged or lost cargo, mechanical problems, and a multitude of other issues that are completely out of your control. It’s easy to stress, pace the floor, or start pointing fingers but when things like this happen, you have to be able to let it go.
Don’t get us wrong, you can’t just say “not my fault” and walk away. You may have to accept some blame, communicate with your client, and devise a new plan but after that, let it go. Don’t worry, you’ll have a whole new set of issues tomorrow that will need your attention. A key to staying organized is learning from the past, and keeping up with the present. So, for the sake of organization, let it go.
If you were the person who needed to hear that, take a deep breath, let it go, and power on to your next task!