Get Organized to Increase Productivity
E-mail software and old-fashioned filing go a long way toward staying on track
By Jack Kammer, loan officer, Direct Home Loans
With only eight hours in a
typical workday, it’s essential
to be as efficient as possible.
There are many simple-but-effective techniques to manage your time and increase
your productivity. Some of these techniques involve technology, and some don’t.
The first step toward increased productivity is to waste less time. When you
get to work, don’t check the latest sports
scores or entertainment-news headlines.
Rather, do something that moves your
business closer to a close. For instance,
check your business e-mail or write a
personal note to a client. Also, make the
toughest phone calls first. If you don’t,
you will either dwell on them or decide
never to make them. Either way, putting
off important calls creates a distraction
It’s equally important to plan for the
next day before you go home. Write down
a list of action items and create tasks in
your e-mail software. If you can do these
things, you’re on your way to better performance and productivity.
Here are some other ways to add additional efficiency to your workday.
all your papers and notes, and you also will
keep your desk clutter-free.
Master your signatures
You can use your e-mail signature for
more than just a signature. First, create a
signature with your contact information for all your e-mails. You
want your clients and partners
to have your information at their
fingertips. Most people simply reply to the last e-mail they received
or look for contact information in
a past e-mail.
Also, you can create as many
signatures as you want. Each signature can represent e-mails that you
send regularly. Whether it’s for a refinance,
a purchase, a denial letter or a request for
more information, all you have to do is
open a new e-mail and click the appropriate signature. To take it a step further, leave
certain areas blank for personalization. Either way, creating standard e-mails as signatures can be a huge time-saver.
To start, go to your inbox and create
rules. Next, create logical subfolders (e.g.,
real estate agents, clients by city/state/other,
lenders, friends and miscellaneous). Eventually, all your e-mails and new messages
will be placed in their specific folder.
When you have important documents,
what do you do with them? Although
some people create reminders in their
e-mail systems, it’s often easier to create
Start by creating a file-folder for each
month of the year. Place the folders in a
drawer close to your desk. When you receive a document that doesn’t need your
attention until next month or later, file it
in the proper folder. At the start of each
month, check the appropriate folder for
action items that need your attention.
You also can create bimonthly or weekly
folders. By doing so, you’ll have a place for
“By making small-but-
important changes in your
behavior, you can save
an enormous amount of
time and energy.”
Jack Kammer has been
a loan officer for Direct
Home Loans for more
than three years. Originally a firmware engineer
in the Bay Area, then in
technical sales for 20
years, he has managed
millions of dollars in sales and, in some cases,
more than 100 active clients. Visit his Web site
at www.YourApplicationOnline.com. Kammer
can be reached at (509) 200-1971 or jack@
For e-mails you don’t know what to do
with, drag them to the calendar. You can
either move the actual e-mail or a copy. I
suggest moving the e-mail to the calendar
and scheduling it for later review. This way,
it is out of your inbox and no longer a distraction. By scheduling it for later review,
you’ll get a reminder when it’s time for you
to give it your attention.
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Clear your inbox
The key to having a clear inbox is to use
your e-mail program’s “rules” component.
When a new e-mail arrives, set a rule for
the sender or for a word associated with a
transaction, such as the client’s or referral
partner’s last name in the subject. Every
time you receive an e-mail from your client or partner, that e-mail will automatically be filed under the specified folder.
This can save you hours of frustration, especially if you have ever tried to look for
a supporting document you know you received but can’t find.
Although it's important to be organized,
it's also possible to go too far. Know when
enough is enough. You don't want to
spend so much time organizing that it becomes a distraction from the actual work
By making small-but-important
changes in your behavior, you can save
an enormous amount of time and energy.
Technology solutions are often the answer,
but sometimes an old-fashioned file-folder
works just as well.
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