Top 7 Ways for Mortgage Originators to Manage Their "Things to Do" Lists
By JC Kadii
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Do you end most days feeling as if you've accomplished nothing? Is your things to do list so long, you feel as if you will never get it under control? Know you are not alone. Here are a few specific strategies for taming your "things to do" list. These suggestions focus on written lists, but those of you who use electronic lists will benefit also.
- Anchor your list by tying it to your most important goal.
Are you focused on improving one area of your mortgage business? If so, write that at the top of your list (highlighting it helps). Here are some examples. Let's say your primary focus is on increasing your production. You could write at the top of the
list: "How will this make me money now?" If your focus is
on improving your customer service, you could write
"Excellence" or "How will this help my borrowers?"
- Restrict the size of your list.
I am absolutely committed to the system that has worked for me for over 10 years, a steno pad. I limit the list to one page. Once the page is full, that's it. I must complete one task before I add another.
- Add a keyword to your list.
The first column on my list is for a keyword, which offers me clues on what the task involves. For example, I may use "inet" or "ir" for things I need to do online, "em" for emails I need to send, "ran" for errands, "write" for things I need to write, etc. This way, I can quickly scan and group tasks.
- Learn how to say no.
If you are going to restrict your list to one page, you are going to have to say no to some people. The way to say no is to offer something in return. Here's an example. A friend asked me to help her group plan a fundraiser. I simply did not have the time to do it, so I offered to help with the email blasts instead. Since I already have a list of media contacts, emailing press releases and announcements is something I can do from my
office in a few minutes -- and I was able to provide real
help to the committee.
- Free your mind from clutter - delegate your tasks.
A great option for delegating some of the pesky things to do tasks is to outsource to a virtual assistant who specializes in the mortgage industry. A virtual assistant is a skilled professional who provides long-distance assistance to his or her clients. By partnering with a virtual assistant, you not only get high-level support, you also avoid the costs associated with hiring an employee.
- Don't let time slip away -- know how much time each
I have 3 columns on my list. The first one is
for the keyword, the second is for the action item, and the third estimates the time it will take complete the task. Note:
the easiest way I have found to do this is to write your
list first, and then add the time frames. Having time estimates on your list is a tremendous help when I find myself with a few minutes of "free time."
- Read the list daily.
Some people suggest re-writing your list each day. That isn't practical for most people. Instead, I make the commitment to read the list. I am often tempted to skim mine, so I make myself read each item out loud. This keeps my action items at the forefront of my memory, and prevents critical tasks from slipping through the cracks.
Copyright © JC Kadii, Mortgage Virtual Assistant. In 2002, JC launched the first virtual assistance practice to offer services exclusively to mortgage professionals. Through close-more-loans.com, she provides top-notch administrative, technology and marketing services to mortgage professionals to help them increase their production. Visit the website and sign up for a complimentary copy of the report, "6 Steps to More Referrals."
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Article Submitted On: June 09, 2007