Top Mortgage Producer Success Secret...Focus On the Rocks (Here's How)

business strategy leadership personal development time management Jun 05, 2019

Think about the strategies of a professional football team. Every time the players compete, each individual goes in with a game plan. They understand exactly what their goals are, what they must do to reach those goals, and how to effectively help their teammates. Much like professional athletes, business professionals should also have a game plan for the day to efficiently tackle their most important goals; but this is often easier said than done.

Metaphor of the “Rocks”

As Tim explains in this quick lesson, loan officers can benefit from prioritizing the “rocks” in their workday. This advice stems from Franklin Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, in which Covey provides an insightful metaphor for managing your daily tasks wisely:

Imagine that there are two identical fishbowls side by side. Next to each fishbowl, there are three boxes filled with equal amounts of rocks, pebbles, and sand, and you’re told you must fit all the contents into the fishbowl. If you start pouring sand into the bowl first, followed by the pebbles, you’ll quickly realize that there is no way all the rocks will fit. However, if you were to put the rocks in the bowl first, the pebbles and sand would naturally sift through the areas between rocks. Every potential space within the fishbowl is utilized, so all three contents will successfully fit.

Although both fishbowls were the same size and were given the same contents, the order in which the items were prioritized was the difference between failure and success. By imagining your own daily contents or tasks in terms of rocks, pebbles, and sand, you’ll find that you can manage more tasks throughout your day with just a little planning.

Determine the Rocks in Your Life

Have you ever reached the end of your workday only to realize you only got a few things accomplished? You might have felt extremely busy all day, but the tasks on your calendar remain unfinished. If you frequently find yourself feeling frustrated, stressed, or unproductive, you’re likely focusing on small things in your day that immediately grab your attention, such as responding to emails, answering a co-worker’s question, or helping out someone on your team. While these small tasks may be essential, they don’t require your immediate interference, so we will refer to these as “sand.”

On the other hand, your “rocks” are your high-payoff tasks. Things like networking, calling on leads, cross-selling listing agents, working on specific marketing strategies, and other factors that can create a major difference in your business can all be considered rocks.

Once you are able to identify your personal rocks, it’s important to recognize how important these tasks are for your ultimate success. Sand and pebbles still need to be dealt with, of course, but put these items into your “fishbowl” accordingly.

Tips for Managing Your Fishbowl

Today, take the last 15 minutes of your workday to review your calendar and set a non-negotiable appointment with yourself to focus on your rocks tomorrow. When you create a designated space and time for working on high-payoff tasks, you’ll be less likely to put it off, and you can focus solely on improving your business.

If you decide to implement this strategy, keep these three guidelines in mind when coming up with your game plan:

  • Keep “rock time” to 90 minutes or less. An hour to an hour and a half of work is enough time to make significant progress on your tasks without wearing yourself out or ignoring the other items you have to complete throughout the day.
  • Schedule your rock tasks in the morning. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a morning person, you should do your best to work on your rocks early on in your day. If you schedule these tasks towards the end of your day, you’ll likely end up getting distracted by other things as the afternoon progresses. Working in the morning on high-payoff tasks lets you devote your attention to these important aspects without getting wrapped up in the various “sand” and “pebble” things that often overwhelm the office.
  • After working on the rocks, go play in the sand box! After dealing with crucial tasks that can directly affect you and your business, give yourself an hour of “sand time.” This can be unstructured time where you can check in with your team, read over your emails, or complete any other little things that come up. 

After getting into the habit of devoting non-negotiable time for your rocks everyday, you’ll start to notice the benefits and effects right away. You’ll leave the office feeling accomplished, knowing that you got important tasks done. You will feel less stressed out if unexpected small things come up because you know that your most important tasks are being taken care of. Overall, this simple time management mindset can transform a formerly frustrating schedule into a well-strategized game plan that’s designed for success.

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