There is no disputing the fact that the mortgage industry has seen dramatic changes over the past few years. Many Mortgage Loan Originators have seen a dramatic decline in income and many have gotten out of the business. So how do you create a stable, healthy, successful business in these uncertain times?
Less is More
The keys to success in the mortgage industry haven’t changed; building and sustaining referral partnerships, executing a consistent, revenue-generating marketing plan and a laser focus on generating new business are still the basic tenets of the business. But you might think that you need to “outwork” your competition to accomplish your goals. I have learned that it is not the quantity of work you put in, but the quality. In other words, it’s not how many hours you put in that matter, but how you spend the hours that you put in. By effectively managing your time, energy and productivity, you can reduce stress, revive your energy, and accomplish more in less time. After all, what good is success if you can’t take the time to enjoy it?
Here are four areas of focus that can help you better manage your time, energy and productivity, and create a more focused and balanced life.
#1: Have a Plan
How many times have you started your day with an all-out sprint only to find that you didn’t get very far or accomplish as much as you wanted to? I have found that taking a few minutes to map out my priorities for the day actually saves me time. Whether you plan out your day each morning over coffee, or plot your course for the next day before leaving work the night before, taking time to strategize and prioritize your tasks is crucial. In a short time, you will learn how much time is needed for each of your tasks and be able to accomplish more in less time.
#2. Stop Multitasking
Top performers do less work, but focus more. Multitasking is typically admired in our society. However, when we continually shift our attention back and forth from one task to another, our brains struggle to keep up; we are interrupting the normal thought flow. By working your daily plan one task at a time and paying attention to the details, you enable your brain to focus and think clearly; thus empowering you to complete the task at hand quicker and more effectively. Now, I am not suggesting that you spend your entire day on one task; rather, I am saying to concentrate on one task, complete it, then move on to the next. This includes email and social media. Set a time or several times throughout the day to check your inbox or your Facebook feed and stick to it! Constantly diverting your attention from your project will have negative effects on time management and quality. By eliminating the tendency to multitask, you actually build more time into your day.
#3. Eliminate Your Energy Drainers
Energy drainers are all around us. Physical clutter, a negative mindset, unresolved feelings and yes, electronics and social media can all drain our energy and distract us from the things that matter most. I have found that to achieve balance and be productive, I need to take care of all areas of my life. Energy drainers divert our focus because they are always there in the subconscious mind dancing around reminding us they need our attention. If I know that my garage is cluttered and needs organizing or my house needs repair, it is hard to focus on work. Or if I constantly “beat myself up” with negative self-talk or dwell on a negative event or conversation that took place the day before, I am exhausting my mental resources and everything takes longer. Likewise, if I am dividing my attention between the task at hand and my email inbox or social media, I am putting myself at a disadvantage. Instead of allowing these things to zap your energy and distract your focus, identify these energy drainers and begin to chip away at them one-by-one.
Here’s what worked for me. I had been so busy with work and family commitments that I wasn’t finding time to take care of all of the “to-do’s” around my home. It seemed like everywhere I looked, something needed attention. This started to become a distraction in other areas of my life. When trying to focus on work, thoughts would start creeping into my mind… “I need to repair this,” or “My garden is being overrun with weeds!” It was beginning to blur my focus. So, I decided to take my own advice.
First, I identified my energy drainers. I took a yellow notepad and went through every room of my house, including my garage, and my yard. I made a detailed list of to-do’s and then categorized the list into things that a handyman could help to repair and things that I needed to tackle by myself. Next, I started to eliminate these energy drainers. I hired a handyman to handle the repairs, called my gardener to spruce up my yard, and scheduled 2 hours to clean out my closet to get rid of unworn clothes and to create space. Within a week, I was feeling accomplished, refreshed and proud that I had eliminated those tasks that were nagging at me, and I felt happy again to sit in my back yard!
When you identify and eliminate your energy drainers, you will see that you will quickly improve your ability to focus, shift from reacting to responding, increase your patience and you will free up space, both physically and mentally, to focus on what matters to you most!
#4. Work Your Passion
We all have things that motivate us; reasons for doing what we do. Why did you get into the mortgage business…are you excited about helping people realize their dream of home ownership? Are you motivated by making top producer status or hitting a certain production goal? No matter what your motivation, you need to find your passion and make it work for you. When you are doing something that you love, work no longer seems like work. One way I have found to work my passion is to eliminate the daily tasks that take me away from what I love to do. I look forward to leading my coaching and training programs, but I don’t always look forward to some of the tasks behind the scenes that are crucial to run the programs. So, I have learned to focus on the priority tasks that drive my business and delegate the others. Whether you hire an assistant, engage a marketing agency, or invest in technology that can streamline your workload, focusing on that which fuels your passion will energize and sustain you.
I am excited for you to get started! Don’t wait. Incorporate these four easy steps into your routine now so you can improve your productivity and reclaim more hours in your day!