6 Classes That Every Funeral Director Should Major In This Year

We are officially one week into the back-to-school season.

Now, I know what you’re thinking… “It’s been years since I had a first day of school!” But just because you may have stopped stocking up on September school supplies, or showing up for class with a fresh notebook ready to be filled, that doesn’t mean that learning should be over.

There are a number of classes that everyone, especially funeral professionals, should continue to revisit year after year so that they can better serve their families and find personal and professional success.

Here are just a few subjects that your funeral home should major in this September:

Intro To Organization

One of the greatest parts of starting a new school year was always the fresh, new school supplies. It was always easy to start off successfully when you had an organized state of mind. For instance, when all of your papers were in their proper folders, or when your locker was nice and tidy. Here’s how you can get back to this fresh, organized state at any time…

1. Get everything in one place

It’s hard to manage all of the notes, to-do lists and ideas that you have when they are scattered all over the place, such as on the back of business cards, napkins or even the back of your hand. Think about it… if you can’t even recall where you placed the note in the first place, how can you remember what it said? Instead, take pictures of all of your notes (on whatever format you write them down) and bring them all into one place or system that’s easy to sort through.

One of our favorite personal organization systems is Evernote, which allows you to easily upload documents or pictures from anywhere, access them on your phone, desktop or laptop, and even tag your notes so you can easily look up information based on keywords like “to do” or “appointment.”

2. Purge your office of things you don’t use everyday

You don’t show up to a new year of school still carrying around the notes and homework assignments from the year before. You only carry with you the things that will bring you success going forward, and you keep the rest in storage until you need to recall it. The same should go with the paperwork and items that you keep in your office.

Set aside a few hours one day to scan all of your old documents onto your computer (or heck, pay a company to do all the work for you) and then shred and recycle any paperwork that you don’t need access to regularly. You will be able to easily pull up documents on your computer if you find that you need them, and in the meantime, you get to work in a fresh, clean space free of old paperwork and mail.

Productivity 101

One of the most difficult tasks that funeral professionals face is finding enough time in the day to complete all of the things that they want to get done. The key to balancing a mountain of tasks with a shortage of time is learning to be as productive as possible. Here are a few ways to get started…

3. Become a master note taker

There are a lot of things that we need to remember in a given day, and we can’t possibly store all of them in our head. So whether you are sitting down at an arrangement conference with one of your families, answering the phone, or being asked to do something by a co-worker, it’s important to take excellent notes so you can recall what you need to do at the drop of a hat.

The key to taking great notes lies in three steps: 1. Focusing on the most important keywords, 2. only writing down the things that matter, and 3. creating a system of differentiators between the notes that you take down. For example, put a check box next to task items, underline things you can’t forget, and put a star next to any items you need to follow up on. These will ensure your notes are as scannable as possible.

4. Log your interruptions

You can’t fix the distractions in your day if you are not recognizing them for what they are — interruptions that take you away from your work. So any time that you set out to tackle a task, give yourself a set amount of time that you want to work on that task, and log any distractions that pop up and take away your focus.

At the end of each week, look at all of the things that have been bogging down your productivity and look for patterns and solutions. Is there a certain task that keeps interrupting your day that you can delegate to someone else? Is there a recurring activity, such as creating a Memorial Video or setting up a Video Webcast, that you can streamline with a software solution? The more interruptions you can eliminate, the more productive you will be.

Study Hall

When we were back in school, some classes were clearly more fun than others. (Art, Recess, Lunch time… we’re looking at you!) But the truth of the matter is, while we detested the grueling reading assignments and difficult classwork at the time, that is what prepared us for a successful post-graduation life. Here are a few after-school assignments you should make part of your weekly routine…

5. Follow funeral industry blogs and professionals

The key to becoming the best that you can be in any subject (or profession) is to completely immerse yourself in it. What are the best of the best doing every day to make themselves better? What are the dos and don’ts of being a successful leader in this profession? What are the things your audience is wanting, but not asking for? The answers to these questions are out there… if you follow the right influencers and read up on the latest trends and information in the industry.

Luckily, for funeral professionals, we’ve already done the hard work of digging up who you should be following:

6. Connect with other funeral professionals at events and conferences

Learning doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens by swapping ideas and insights with other people who have the same passions and purpose that you do. One of the best places to find these types of people in the funeral profession is at local or national conferences. Not only are these conferences a great place to connect with other like-minded funeral professionals, but many also hold educational seminars where you can learn about important trends and information in the industry from some of the most notable names in the profession.

If you are looking for an upcoming funeral conference to attend, come connect with our funeralOne team at the National Funeral Directors Association this October in Boston! As one of the biggest conferences of the year, there is no better opportunity for learning and connecting with other funeral professionals!

If you could create your own funeral professional school schedule, what subjects would YOU make sure to include on your class list? Get creative and be sure to share your syllabus with us in the comments below!

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