One of the benefits of being a Freight Agent is setting your own schedule. At Kopf, we recognize each agent is different. So, we’re sharing three helpful ways to structure your day for Freight Agent productivity. Keep in mind there isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” technique. It takes experimentation to find what works for you.
Use this guide to stop feeling overwhelmed, find your unique scheduling method, and increase your efficiency.
Method #1 – Time Blocking
This popular scheduling method takes preparation. Essentially, you are telling yourself how to spend your time before the day begins. You define blocks (or hours) of your day for specific tasks. Your blocks could be as simple as morning, afternoon, and evening. Or, they could be as detailed as every hour. Use a digital calendar or paper planner to create your schedule.
Here is how a basic time-blocked schedule could look:
- Early Morning: Load status updates
- Morning: Find trucks and fill loads
- Mid-day: Lunch and self-care
- Early afternoon: Check on morning and afternoon loads
- Late afternoon: Prospecting
- Evening: Tomorrow’s schedule and self-care
An hourly time-blocked schedule could look like this:
- 5-6: Self-care
- 6-7: Current load status updates
- 7-11: Find trucks and fill loads
- 11-12: Lunch
- 12-1: Check on morning loads
- 1-2: Check on afternoon loads
- 2-3: Prospecting and cold calls
- 3-4: Pickup kids from school
- 4-5: Verify all loads complete
- 5-6: Tomorrow’s schedule
- 6-8: Family time
- 8-9: Spouse and self-care
Keys to Success
If you choose to start a time-blocked schedule, there are three keys to success.
- Schedule the most important tasks first. Current customers take priority over prospecting.
- Don’t overlook self-care. Schedule time for the things that fill your cup and strengthen your significant relationships. It’ll help your work-life balance.
- Leave extra space when possible. This makes it easier to adjust your schedule as needed for unexpected problems or tasks that take longer than planned.
- Plan time in your schedule to set your schedule. You’ll want to include weekly, daily, and even mid-day planning time. For example, Friday at 5 you plan your schedule for the upcoming week, each day at 5 you review the next day’s schedule, and you check the rest of your day before logging off your computer for lunch.
Cal Newport, author of Deep Work, is an expert in productivity and time blocking is his top scheduling method. He writes,
“A 40 hour time-blocked work week, I estimate, produces the same amount of output as a 60+ hour work week pursued without structure.”
Method #2 – Most Important Task
The second scheduling method for Freight Agent productivity is called the most important task method. This method does not involve a massive to-do list. Instead, it forces you to step back and decide what tasks are most critical for your day.
Here’s how it works.
- Ask yourself, “What must be done today?”
- Focus on these 1-3 tasks.
- Don’t do anything else until you’ve accomplished your most important tasks.
You may already be unknowingly implementing part of this strategy. As a Freight Agent, the most important tasks for the day most likely already happen in the morning due to the nature of freight.
To take it a step further, intentionally choose to focus on these tasks so you can frame your day as successful. As a result, you will likely have more energy and motivation for the rest of your day knowing you did what was most important first. Don’t overlook the power of this positive mindset.
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, is a productivity expert and supporter of this method. He writes,
“If you do the most important thing first each day, then you’ll always get something important done.”
Method #3 – Focus Sessions
The third scheduling method that increases productivity involves focus sessions. Decide what task you’re going to work on, then set a timer and focus on it. After the timer stops, take a break, then repeat. There are two main variations: the Pomodoro Method and the 90-minute focus technique.
Here’s how the Pomodoro Method works.
- Choose a task.
- Set a timer for 25 minutes and work on the task.
- Take a 5-minute break.
- After 4 sessions, take a longer 15-30 minute break.
This is how the 90-minute focus technique works.
- Work 90 minutes.
- Rest 20-30 minutes.
Both of these methods emphasize the importance of focus and rest. They aim to work with your body’s energy rather than against it.
Keep in mind you don’t have to implement these sessions all day long. For instance, you might have a work sprint time where you intentionally set a timer to help keep you focused as part of your day. Remember, do what works for you.
Your Freight Agent Productivity Method
As a Freight Agent, you hit the ground running from that first sip of coffee. Before your day begins, you already have a massive to-do list floating around in your head. Freight doesn’t take a vacation. But, you aren’t designed to work around the clock constantly feeling in reactive mode.
Ease the overwhelm by setting your schedule. Try time blocking, the most important task method, focus sessions, or a combination of these to find what works for you. Be sure to prioritize time for self-care and what matters most to you and you’ll be on your way to becoming a high-performing Freight Agent.