ADJUSTER LIFE: MANAGING STRESS, Part 2
Welcome back to Part 2 of our blog about managing independent adjuster stress. In Part 1 we discussed our adjuster-specific stress of being independent contractors, with frequent travel to claim sites. However, we couldn’t have predicted a big source of stress that’s very obvious now: the current COVID-19 pandemic is creating global worry about the virus, overloaded healthcare providers and facilities, lack of medical resources, and the resulting strain on our economy. Meanwhile, having your family in quarantine may make your home office noisier and interruptions more frequent, so that it’s harder to get work done.
At AdjusterZone, we share your concerns during this time and stand with you as an organization of colleagues. If you have questions about our offerings for members, like health insurance or product recommendations, that may be of assistance during this time, please see our website or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can provide answers and help you find solutions.
If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.
– Lao Tzu
Now let’s check out some adjuster-friendly ways to alleviate stress so you can work productively and be strong in your career and for your family.
Independent Contractor Stress
Get the software and tools you need to manage your career. Make claims scheduling and processing significantly more efficient with Schedule It, specifically designed for independent adjusters. Plans start at $40/month and users overwhelmingly agree the app increases their productivity, makes them more money, and lowers stress! For more information about Schedule It and other adjuster-specific tools and services for increasing your efficiency and profitability, see our September 2019 blog post, Time Saving Tips for Adjusters.
Manage business expenses and income with an app for iPhone or Android so that you can enter mileage and edit accounting entries on the fly and alleviate the monthly dread-inducing task of sitting down with your laptop and a pile of smudgy receipts. If your accounting software isn’t cutting it for you, or if you’re thinking “What accounting software?”, then try Quickbooks or another option recommended by TheBalance or OnForce for cloud-based accounting suited to independent contractors.
Overwhelmed and procrastinating about insurance and retirement plans? Join industry-specific and/or small business associations for plans and answers. AdjusterZone offers premium members access to health insurance through AdjusterCare, retirement and other resources tailored specifically for independent adjusters, plus discounts and industry-insider information, including training, conferences and networking opportunities – all for only $15/month. AdjusterCare, available through your AdjusterZone membership, is uniquely focused on wellness and comprehensive, affordable healthcare for individuals, including Teledoc and roadside assistance – perfect for busy, traveling adjusters.
Stress on the Road
Fight the toll that frequent travel and long work hours take on your body by getting regular doctor care, addressing chronic health issues and prioritizing good food, exercise and rest. Make a list of healthy foods you enjoy and then regularly pack them to take on the road. If possible, stay at hotels with gym access. If not, search YouTube for workout videos in advance (say a 20-minute no-impact HIIT workout you can do in your hotel room, or several 10 minute flow yoga practices), and then pull them up on your laptop to de-stress while working a stressful CAT claim. Find more help and motivation for eating right and exercising while traveling here and here.
Being on the road, immersed in catastrophes and loss at claim sites while missing birthdays and family events, are emotionally draining as well as physically challenging. Staying in touch with your family life is imperative, so make connections a priority. Open Skype and stay connected while doing normal evening activities.
Bring a hobby on the road if possible if you’re working a big claim with extended time away from home. Science shows that pursuing outside interests not only fights stress but also boosts your career with increased productivity and creative thinking.
Meditation is another research-backed path to lowering stress while increasing happiness, productivity, and mental focus. Check out highly-rated meditation apps, like Calm or Headspace, which include short meditations for busy people. Some apps feature built-in gratitude journaling, mood trackers, and timers to help users develop a consistent meditation habit with positive results.
Winning Against Stress
Neuroscience has shown that those who articulate and write down specific, achievable goals are 1.2 to 1.4 times more likely to achieve them. Write down your stress-reduction goals in measurable terms, maybe with a mindfulness app as discussed above. How about, “Get at least seven hours of sleep every night and lower my blood pressure 10 points by September.” Or “Make 10% more income than last year by working more efficiently” or “Practice mindfulness meditation five days a week.” Then monitor your progress by keeping records. How much sleep are you actually getting each night? What was this month’s income compared to this month last year? Research shows the more you track your progress, the more likely you are to achieve your goal.
Now more than ever, it’s important to be proactive about managing stress and its effects on your body and mind. Everyone around you is also trying to cope with the profound changes in our lives and habits which will likely be temporary but may have long-term consequences. In our current unfamiliar world, stress and worry is as contagious as a virus. However, you’re still the boss of your life, the one who decides whether you’ll act or just react to events. With effort and consistency, you can address stress head on and beat it to enjoy the life and career you’ve created.
You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. – Marcus Aurelius
Best wishes for good health and safety to you and yours, from your friends and colleagues at AdjusterZone.