All over the country the battle is being fought over distracted driving and most importantly, the issues with texting, emailing, and even talking on the phone while driving. It has become such a life and death discussion as more and more accidental deaths are blamed on distracted driving. On a less tragic note, we all have likely seen a video or two where people have walked into fountains or fallen over something because they were walking around consumed by a text or an email rather than paying attention to where they were going. Yes, it is funny when it happens to someone else, but is it funny when it involves you?
The world has changed and we will never go back to a more simple time. All of this “progress” may not be as convenient or as productive as we think. In fact, many have studied and observed that we are not as productive as we once thought. In fact, I can argue that because of all of this progress and the “ability” to multi-task, people are not being more productive, they are stretching out the workday and in many cases, working longer hours and with less quality. Everyone wants instant everything. Everyone wants what they want when they want it. My question to you is; what’s the hurry? Why does everything have to be done now? Where is everyone going? I concede that it appears that everyone is much more “busy” than they used to be, but are they more productive? How much quality is sacrificed for all of this speed?
I wanted to pose the questions so we can discuss the ramifications of our actions. Do we really need to be personally connected to our clients and our referral partners 24/7? Is it possible to be accessible to everyone at all times? If you are always available then isn’t your time worthless? Can anyone ever really be available 24/7?
We really need to look at what we do and how we do it. Regulations and compliance require more and more of us and yet we still struggle to set proper expectations for our clients, referral partners, our coworkers, and even our friends and family. Must you always answer your phone when it rings? Do you need to respond to every email and text within seconds of its arrival? When does the “workday” end your personal life begins?
More and more I have seen that my originators and managers are facing challenges of time and quality. I stress to them that balance can be found in the discipline of scheduling and communicating the system by which you do things. People don’t necessarily need instant answers as much as they need the information. Knowing how the process works and why things happen the way they do are often the most important thing to a client or referral partner.
The other portion of this is also the ability to focus on a specific task. Knowing what to do, how to do it, and when to have things completed by is essential to being focused and on task. Conveying that information clearly too all parties provides order and sets the expectation of the process. Focus is also required when you are doing the job you are paid to do, prospecting for new opportunities and preparing those loan applications for submission. Trying to multitask during either one of these two areas will cause delays, mistakes, additional work, and a great deal of stress. Work on one thing at a time, do it completely and perfectly, then go on to the next task. It is IMPOSSIBLE TO FOCUS ON MORE THAN ONE THING AT A TIME! You wouldn’t want your doctor examining you while looking at someone else’s chart! Turn off the phone and the email, do your work and then check for your messages later.
Distractions, even if just a few seconds, can really cost you. It can take up to eleven minutes to get back to the same level of brain activity you had before a ten second interruption. Think of it as two cars driving down a two-lane highway side by side, each doing the speed limit. Behind each of them are highway patrol officers making sure they don’t speed. A long line of cars begins to build behind the highway patrol cars. As they reach the top of a hill, there is a slower moving truck in the right lane. As both rows of traffic approach the truck, the left lane of traffic continues forward at the speed limit. The right lane must slow down. As the one lane of traffic pulls away, the right lane of cars get out and pass. However, the two cars at the front are now quite a distance apart because the one car had to slow down and it can never catch up because of the highway patrol. The gap is permanent.
That is exactly what happens when you are working and get distracted. You have to slow down or even stop, then, you have to get back up to speed. The gap created will never close because your brain can only work so fast. Avoid the distractions, do the best job you can and your productivity will skyrocket. You will make fewer mistakes, and you will have fewer challenges with the quality of your work!
Your clients, your referral partners, your support staff, and your family will all benefit from your ability to remain focused! Multitasking is a myth. 24/7 availability is impossible. Work on one thing at a time, do it perfectly, and then go on to what is next!