We’ve all heard the expression, work smarter, not harder — but what does this mean for loan officers? When we’re striving to grow our businesses, we need to put in the hard work, right? I would say, yes. To me, the idea of working smarter isn’t about escaping hard work. It’s about maximizing your time, taking control of your workday, and setting yourself up for optimal efficiency. Here are just a few ways loan officers can start doing this:
Your schedule largely directs the flow of your day. This is why it’s so important to schedule strategically when you’re focused on time management and productivity. Scheduling strategically can mean several things. When it comes to meetings, think about how you place these in your schedule. Too many back-to-back meetings can cause you to run late and feel a bit burnt out, but leaving just thirty minutes between all your calls can lead to a lot of wasted windows of time. You want to design your schedule to support the best workflow possible. Meeting with clients is only one part of the job, so it’s not the only thing that should appear on the calendar. Carving out windows of time for your other work priorities can help you better direct the day. Maybe you schedule an hour window to write a blog post, for example. Time blocking your calendar and mapping out your day in advance can help you have a more efficient day.
Know Your Distractions
Working smarter means reducing distractions as much as possible. When we’re battling distractions, we have to work twice as hard to stay productive. It’s easy to say we need to ‘avoid distractions’, but until we name them, that statement doesn’t mean much. Which distractions are wasting the most time, and when? Is it that afternoon scroll through LinkedIn or Facebook? Or maybe it’s constant email notifications keeping you from finishing the task at hand. By identifying the specific distractions that are impacting you most, you can create the strategies to defend against them.
Streamline Your To-Do List
When you’re working smarter, you’re focusing on the right things. It’s easy to have a mile-long to-do list as a long officer, but how many of these things are essential? How many need to be done today? Streamlining your to-do list by prioritizing your tasks is essential if you want to boost productivity. It’s fine to have that lengthy catch-all list tucked away somewhere, but writing out a new to-do list for each day and including only your most important tasks can help you harness your focus and ensure your energy is directed where it’s needed most.
Routines and habits can be hugely supportive when it comes to productivity if we use them properly. When we get accustomed to doing something a certain way every day, it starts to require less and less energy to get it done. Whether it’s a routine inbox clean up when you first sit down at your desk every morning or the evening habit of reviewing the plan for the following day, these small actions can help us work more efficiently.
Working smarter means being more productive. It means focusing our attention on the right things and managing our time in a way that allows us to move through our to-dos without feeling burnt out and exhausted by the end of the day. What does working smarter mean to do? What tips would you share with other professionals looking to work smarter? I’d love to hear your thoughts!