It’s natural for ambitious loan officers to want to push themselves — grow in their careers, expand their business, and reach greater heights. A combination of time, energy, and hard work will certainly help you get there. Occasionally though, and it can happen to all of us, we get out of balance and put too much into our work. For driven professionals with ambitious goals and a strong desire to succeed, working smarter rather than harder can almost always be of greater benefit. Here are some things to consider:
Busy Doesn’t Always Mean Productive
When we’re constantly pushing ourselves to the limit, packing our schedules, and taking on more and more (and more), we can find ourselves working at a frantic pace. And when we get there, it’s almost always counterproductive — we become rushed and less efficient. When we operate in overdrive, our productivity tends to suffer, as much as we might like to think differently in the moment. We need to find the place where we’re operating efficiently at peak-performance without crossing the line into busy or frantic. If you find yourself in a hectic state regularly, it’s probably time to assess and see what can be delegated or taken off your list.
Reset and Recharge
To function at optimal efficiency, we need time to reset and recharge. With days packed full, we’re likely not allowing ourselves the time we need to decompress. When we continue working ourselves to exhaustion, and then keep working, our focus and energy take a hit. Then, it can take two or three times longer to finish a project, and often we’re not doing our best work. Conversely, when we take the time to recharge, we set ourselves up to accomplish more in less time, with peak focus, efficiency, and effectiveness.
Maintain Top Performance
I touched on this a little above, but our performance usually suffers when we take on too much. There’s no point in doing more when our performance level is reduced by doing too much. We can’t afford to slack in quality, and when we have a 25-item to-do list day after day, we’re not going to be functioning at highest performance. It’s about balance — find a place where you can have a full plate and still operate at maximum effectiveness. At any sign of burnout or exhaustion, it’s time to reevaluate and change course. We can be busy and operate at our best, but that place is going to look different for each of us.
If we find ourselves saying yes to everything, and adding on more work on top of our already busy schedule, it’s usually a sign that we need to improve our ability to prioritize. Prioritization is an invaluable skill, but it takes practice and skill to refine. We need to always have our eye on the bigger picture. Take a step back and look at the 5 most important things you want to accomplish today. Starting with that will help you realistically block out the time you’ll need to get those things done. After that, you can begin filling in any gaps in your day with the remainder of your work. If you don’t get to all of the lower-priority items, so be it, you’ve prioritized effectively, and you can make those a higher priority tomorrow if you need to.
There is, of course, no substitute for hard work and determination, but it’s important to remind ourselves that doing too much can sometimes be hindering our progress. Look for the balance that works best for you — and focus on working smarter instead of harder.
If you’d like to talk more about any of these strategies, or if there’s another matter I can be of assistance with, don’t hesitate to reach out.
VP – Retail Market Leader