In our old Practical Adjuster Training class, we’d go over all sorts of essential principles of successful adjusting. For instance, in the catastrophe adjusting world, there’s a rule-of-thumb I strongly adhere to: “don’t scope more than you can write in the same day.” I’ve got some wild horror stories about folks I’ve known personally who’ve rushed into a storm as a new adjuster and frantically scoped 40 losses in two weeks, with the intention of writing the report the following week! The result of this strategy is too ugly to describe. Most often this is the end of their adjusting career.
One of the reasons why they do this is that the scoping part is fun, and the report-writing part is not (for most folks). Scoping in a catastrophe means being busy and being the hero – people love to see you, you feel like you’re getting a lot accomplished, you get to play with your adjusting gadgets, and it’s all very exciting. Report-writing means sitting in your hotel room hunched over a computer trying work with complex estimating software, trying to understand your scope notes while navigating seemingly impossible carrier requirements for the file. So people put off the report-writing – they procrastinate.
Procrastination is deadly. And it feels lousy. Even if you feel some relief by burying yourself in busyness, or turning on the TV and trying to zone out, the dreaded task is still out there, waiting for you, hunting you, destroying your peace. The fact is that there’s just no room for procrastination in the claims business – any good Adjuster knows this fact. The clock is ticking, and the ball’s in your court!
Procrastination and Parkinson’s Law
If you haven’t read Tim Ferriss’ “The 4 Hour Work Week” yet, you need to. It’s a game-changing book, and it’s perfectly suited to helping the professional adjuster live his/her dream life – as an Adjuster. In this book, Tim introduces the reader to Parkinson’s Law. Parkinson’s Law basically states “the amount of time in which one has to perform a task is the amount of time it will take to complete said task”. In other words, a task will expand to fill any deadline. So if you have a task and you give yourself a month to complete it, it’ll take a month. If you give yourself a week to complete it, it’ll fill a week.
The secret to massive productivity can, therefore, be drawn out of this principle: give yourself impossibly short deadlines. If you must finish it in a day, you will.
I’ll tell you something – being massively productive feels great. Really great. Waking up at 5am, driving to your first scope at the break of dawn, scoping all day till 2pm, driving back to the hotel, committing to a goal of completing every last report by midnight and completing them is a wonderful feeling. You feel clean and pure, with nothing hanging over your head. Especially when you count your invoices!
Now that I’ve preached for a while, I’ll let you in on a secret – last Monday I committed to myself that I would write a blog post about this topic by Sunday – midnight at the latest. Guess what day and time it is?