Change how you think about multitasking

by Kimberly Greene03 Jun 2019

Multitasking is heralded as an important skill set, but research has proven that trying to do more than one thing simultaneously results in a lowered ability to do any of the tasks well

Branch manager and top producer Robyn LaVassaur says that she’s found multitasking to actually diminishing the effectiveness of mortgage originators who want to increase their production levels.

“You can achieve most things in 15 minutes of laser focus, but we very, very rarely allow for that in our lives. Even conversations at home very, very rarely have uninterrupted 15 minutes,” she said. “Loans don’t need to be messy as they are, but people don’t get the job done correctly because they’re often multitasking, which means really, you gave partial effort to each effort that you were working on.”

Focusing on one thing at any given time is an area that many mortgage originators seem to find difficult, partly because the nature of the job means that many things are happening simultaneously. When an unexpected issue arises or when a partner has a question, originators want to be able to respond immediately—even when that means breaking from another task.

LaVassaur, however, says that’s the wrong approach. She advocates for spending as much time as necessary on one thing, and then do the same with the next. Not only is that more efficient, but partners will value the way that their issue is treated.

“When you feel like you have to be the most available or more available than everybody else, it’s because you lack relationship with your referral partners. People want something now when you’re a commodity to them; they want you with you’re a value to them.”

Shifting the attitude about multitasking means stepping away from the cycle of instant communication and gratification that we’ve all gotten so used to perpetuating. There are always exceptions to the rule, but even originators can admit that they willingly drop everything to answer a text that can be answered half an hour later. Sometimes that instant communication stems from the fear that the person will find an answer somewhere else, but that avoids the heart of the matter: are you doing enough to ensure that your partners will wait for you? Is your time and information that valuable? If not, how can you improve your value?

That’s not to say that you can’t work on multiple tasks in a singular time frame; after all, that’s the point of having a pipeline. Rather, the goal of monotasking instead of multitasking is that you control where to focus your time and shift your efforts rather than letting outside activities dictate your actions. Instead of being reactive to alerts, calls, notifications, and pop-ups, silencing them allows for freedom to check in when it makes the most sense for your day.

That subtle shift can make a big difference, even if check-in periods are in short intervals. By no longer dividing your time to several things at once, you are showing your partners that you value their presence and their time as well by giving them everything you have at any given time.

“Our minds are constantly in multiple places, which means we’re never really giving 100% to one. And the problem is, that means that we’re not actually getting done what we need to get done, we’re constantly having to go back to it or worried whether or not it was handled appropriately,” LaVassaur said.

Resetting client and partner expectations is an important part of taking control of your business, and taking control of how you spend your time is paramount in that process.

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