With as hot as the market is right now, banks, credit unions, and lenders can’t afford to sit back and take their time. Acting swiftly is a must. And in order to be as productive as possible, there has to be an intelligent process in place.
4 Productivity Tips for Lenders
In a market like this, productivity is a critical metric in a lender’s success. If you aren’t mastering your time and being intentional with how you approach the work that comes across your desk, you could be missing out on some significant volume and activity.
Having said that, here are several productivity tips that can get you back on track:
- Perform a Time Study
In order to be as productive as you possibly can, you’ll need to begin with a baseline. In other words, you need to know how you’re doing right now so that you can set goals for where you want to improve. The best way to do this is by performing an unofficial time study for several days.
There are multiple ways to perform a time study, but this is one of the easiest methods:
- Set a timer on your phone or computer to go off every 30 minutes.
- Each time the timer goes off, record what you’ve been doing the last half hour.
Do this for three to five days – recording your activity in a spreadsheet or notebook where it’s easy to track trends. Then go through and analyze how you’re spending your time. (If you want to make things really easy, you can color-code different tasks, distractions, wasted time, etc.)
Don’t be surprised if this time study is slightly sobering. Many people are shocked to discover that they’re wasting two or even three hours of a workday on unnecessary or repetitive tasks. However, recognizing these culprits is the first step to remediating them.
- Automate With Tech
Technology is your friend. Anything you can do to automate time-consuming manual tasks will provide a huge boost in your efficiency and output. But with so many different tools and applications out there, you’ll have to be judicious about which ones you integrate into your workflow.
When possible, look for comprehensive solutions that are capable of handling a variety of tasks in a single platform. (Anytime you can avoid combining multiple tools, you speed things up and lower the risk of encountering challenges.)
If you’re looking for an all-in-one digital solution for business lending, then SPARK is a platform you’ll at least want to consider. It’s designed to intelligently streamline lead capture, screening, and underwriting for greater efficiency. The ultimate goal is to keep everyone on track and on the same page.
If those are priorities for you, then it’s at least worth requesting a demo to see how it integrates into your workflow.
- Try Time Blocking
Research shows that nothing wastes more time for lenders than the constant switching back and forth between tasks. Each time you switch from one task to the next, your brain has to reset. (It takes an average of 23 minutes for the brain to regain focus after a distraction.) The easiest way to circumvent this is by reducing the number of times you switch between tasks.
Time blocking is an approach to scheduling where you block out specific chunks of time for singular tasks and responsibilities. So rather than just walking into the office and making phone calls, sending emails, checking on files, and attending meetings, you actually carve out dedicated time for each of these.
For example, the first two hours of the day are for answering emails, the next two hours are for making phone calls, and the afternoons are for meetings.
- Pay Attention to the Bookends
Want to see your productivity increase rather significantly? Pay very close attention to the book-ends of the week. We’re talking about Monday mornings and Friday afternoons.
We all dread Monday mornings. But if you can tackle Mondays with laser-like focus, the rest of your week will be better. Follow the advice of productivity experts and use Monday morning to eat the frog. In other words, do all of those dreaded tasks as quickly as possible so that the rest of your week is free to handle more exciting duties.
Likewise, you need to prioritize Friday afternoons. While most people are mentally clocked out at this point, it’s time for you to double-down. Don’t push tasks to Monday just because you want to coast into the weekend. This does nothing but make the following week more difficult. Finish strong. Close out tasks the right way. And always make sure to leave yourself notes about where you left off and what needs to be done when you return to the office. (This prevents small tasks from being forgotten.)
Take Small Steps in the Right Direction
While we’ve laid out some helpful suggestions in this article, the last thing you need to do is run to your office and implement each of these simultaneously. Doing so could actually make you less productive initially.
Instead, pick one or two, implement them, and then take small steps toward making progress. Every lender has their own strengths and weaknesses. It’s up to you to pick and choose your spots for implementation.