How to become more productive

Businessman stressed by too many tasks

From the outside looking in, when people think about those of us who are in sales or self employed, they imagine how wonderful that type of environment must be. Working on your own schedule, not having to clock in at 8:30am and clock out at 5:30pm like the rest of the rat race, uncapped earning potential and nothing but client lunches and “relationship building.”


The grass is always greener from the other side isn’t it! Unfortunately for us mortgage brokers, we’re in the precarious position of being both self-employed AND sales people.

And of course, we know the reality isn’t at all as rosy as some those people think. I know for myself (and it’s been this way for the past 7 years!) when I look into what my settlement numbers might be three months into the future and see a big fat $0, I always stress the hell out about how I’m going to pay the bills.

What I’m getting at here is the downside to being a self-employed sales person is it’s always up to us to generate revenue, and not everyone is cut out for that type of lifestyle.

It truly is survival of the fittest!

The challenge for the small business owner is how do you keep activity levels high when you still have to juggle all the other balls involved in running your business? I’m talking about things like:

  • Keeping updated file notes
  • Submitting your loans
  • Following up on applications
  • Reviewing current clients
  • Maintaining relationships with referrers
  • Writing articles
  • New business appointments
  • Marketing

I could go on but I think you get my drift, plus I didn’t even mention juggling all this with maintaining a healthy relationship with your better half and your children!

In order to be able to achieve all of this you have to be super productive. And while I’m on the subject, I want to outline two simple daily habits that I’m determined to implement this year that I think you should look to do as well.

Habit 1 - Write down your most important tasks for tomorrow at the end of your day

I have always had a problem of bringing my work home with me.

Whether it’s thinking about how I’m going to solve a scenario for a new lead I have, being pissed off at a credit assessor’s decision for a client or an important task I may not have gotten around to that day that is stressing me out.

My partner has told me time and time again that I’m not being present for her and my daughter when I get home.

In order to tackle this problem, what I’ve been doing for the past couple of months is stopping at a set time of the day (as best I can) and then sitting down and having a good think about the 5 most important tasks I need to do tomorrow.

What I’ve learned over the years is that I will never be able to complete all the tasks I need to in one day. There’s just too many of them and not enough hours in the day.

However, if you really think about it, there’s really only a handful of tasks that will pull you and your business forward in any given day. The rest don’t really have to be done straight away.

So, what I’ve been doing is thinking about those 5 or so really important tasks, writing them down in order of importance and then leaving for the day.

What has happened to me when I do this is I’m able to get some clarity around what I need to do tomorrow and my stress levels immediately go down.

Habit 2 - Tackle your number one priority task right at the start of the day

For me, the typical start of my work day used to go something like this. Grab coffee, talk to staff, check Facebook, check LinkedIn, go through emails, logon onto internet banking, clean desk, read the paper, see latest overnight scores on Fox Sports, check out how the markets are going etc.

Bottom line I was once the king of procrastination.

Now a typical work day for me is looks like this. Grab coffee (haven’t been able to shake that yet), complete most important task for the day. Done.

It’s a really simple thing to do and really makes me feel super productive that I’m inspired to then take on the rest of my day.

So there you go, two really small yet powerful habits for you to focus on that I think will really benefit you.

Give them both a go and let me know if they impacted your day in any way.


Tim Russell

P.S. If you haven’t yet completely systemised your loan process then you are wasting hours and hours of your week on meaningless, non-revenue generating tasks. If that’s you then take a look at this program which will be a complete game changer for you.