In anticipation of the spring market, we at Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. are laying the groundwork to ensure plenty of business. Many of us have set goals to learn about new technologies and products, and enhance our relationships as a means of growing and developing new business.
But how do you complete activities, stay committed to business development, and measure your success, while managing a work load that changes daily? One way is Time Blocking, a method of scheduling specific activities at intervals throughout the day and committing to doing them consistently.
This method can be particularly helpful for activities you are not fond of doing, or things you must do but find you continually put off or run out of time for. It is really very simple. You open up your calendar, and schedule specific activities at specific times each day. For example, you may need to spend a few hours on lead generating calls. Based on when you know is the best time for you to do this, (perhaps first thing in the morning before you get sidetracked with other tasks, for example) you would then add this as a daily activity to your calendar-“Calls 9:30-11:30.”
You can do this with as many tasks and activities as you want, and some people Time Block their entire day. However, if you choose to do that, it is important to build in flexible time for emergencies and unexpected issues that may arise, and time for breaks, to check email, and eat! Some follow a looser approach and only calendar in a few really important tasks they want to make sure to accomplish. This method does not need to be confined to your work schedule, but can encompass personal time, vacation time, family dinners and the like. It is important in a demanding sales environment to schedule time for yourself-which is why it is helpful to Time Block your personal activities and treat them just like any other “must do” item.
In order for this method to be successful in helping you accomplish more, you have to hold yourself accountable for actually completing the task during the time you have scheduled it. You may find that the time you allotted for a certain activity doesn’t really work, but you can easily switch items around. It is also important to know yourself. If you are not a morning person, tend to get into the office later, or take time to get going, it won’t make sense to schedule calls from 8:30-9:30- you will most likely be setting yourself up for failure. Other challenges to this method mostly arise from an inability to set boundaries and commit to using the allotted time for the scheduled task, and allowing others to interrupt or divert your attention from your task. Explaining the concept to others and asking them to respect your time blocks can help.
In an industry prone to interruption, with constant competing demands for your attention, this is one way to create some control over your time that can payoff if you stay committed. Eventually, it will get easier for you to stick to your routine, and as others get used to it interruptions will decrease. Optimally, you will reap measurable rewards from your disciplined approach to achieving your personal and professional goals.