10 Productivity Tips for Managing Your Email and Your Day

A tidy Email Inbox may feel great, but it doesn’t earn you a commission check.  Know this: addressing the common obsession with a clean Inbox is one of the best ways to put more time, productivity and profit into your business.  Here’s why:

Email is simultaneously one of the most helpful and potentially debilitating business tools ever created. The ability to have a wide variety of vital conversations through one platform — and the ability to engage those conversations anytime, anywhere — is indispensable. However, people’s devotion to their Email Inbox is where problems often arise.

In the modern-day business world — filled with obvious Internet-based distractions such as YouTube, 24/7 news and sports coverage, online shopping and more — the Email Inbox is the underrated King of Distractions. It’s a silent assassin of workday balance and productivity.

Working to manage and organize your Inbox is important, but it should rarely be prioritized as your most essential task of the day. With that in mind, here are 10 tips for managing email that can help unchain you from your Inbox:

Why Habit Formation Builds Changes that Last

Recently I wrote about the benefits of building and constantly replenishing our willpower. While boosting willpower helps improve performance, it (ideally) takes a back-seat to something even more significant: habit creation.

For a Realtor or Loan Originator, the habit formation process is one that drives lasting change, but is often misunderstood and underappreciated. Yet to close more transactions than you are today, you need to build and execute on better habits than those you currently have in place. It really is that simple.

Forming Habits Takes Commitment and Patience

Decades of research has helped us gain a much better understanding of how habits are born.  We can now define habits by saying, “They are actions triggered automatically in response to contextual cues that have been associated with their performance.” Wait, what does that mean?  Let’s keep going.

Initially, with habits, conscious repetition is vital, and this requires the use of willpower However, habits don’t begin with JUST repetition and an act of the will. Habit formation requires repetition combined with “contextual cues.” In other words, if you want to build the habit to go for a run early each morning, a contextual cue (i.e. visual reminder) might be to put your running shoes next to your bed. When you wake the next day and see the shoes, they provide a cue that helps begin the routine. As the routine is built, it becomes a habit, i.e. an automatic, nearly unthinking action.

Increasing Willpower to Improve Mortgage/RE Performance

Having a hard time picking up the phone to make another proactive Sales Call, and you’d rather check your Twitter feed instead? Is your willpower to make these important calls waning? Situations like this help us to see that willpower exists, and that more personal willpower is desirable. As we will see, the cultivation of willpower plus the removal of barriers that prevent success, equates to more productivity, profit and well-being for any Mortgage or Real Estate professional.

The first step to unlocking more willpower is making sure you have a firm grasp of what it is – and – why willpower seemingly abandons us when we need it most.

Defining Willpower

In the field of psychology, willpower often is thought of as “the ability to exert self-control.” However, the opposite of willpower might be a better frame of reference for today’s discussion. Merriam-Webster provides a lengthy list of antonyms, including two words that might strike a chord with you: indulgence and overindulgence.

For many, these familiar words manifest themselves over and over again in our lives, from mealtime, social media and exercise, to gossip and even sleep. Anything — even activities that normally are very beneficial — can become a drain on your life when overindulgence begins to outweigh willpower.

How Willpower Becomes Depleted

Much like when your car runs low on fuel, you can run low on willpower as you continuously strive to do what’s prudent. When you grow weary of the struggle, that’s when you’re most susceptible to slip-ups.

Back to Basics with the Handwritten Note

3 Steps to Make your Next Note More Personal

It’s easy to be blinded by bright shiny objects as we try and keep up with the constantly changing landscape of social media and online marketing.

Some “guru” is always touting the next big thing and it’s up to you to decide if it’s actually worth your time and attention.

One marketing strategy that has never lost its effectiveness is sending out handwritten note cards to past clients, referral partners, influencers, and potential mortgage/RE clients.

Old Is New Again 

Not too long ago, we all had empty email inboxes, while our mailboxes at home were overflowing.

Nowadays, the reverse is true. According to a study by Radicati.com, the average American worker sends and receives 121 emails per day and that number is expected to grow to 140 by 2018.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t do email marketing, but focusing ONLY on email means you’ll be executing just like your competitors.

Jay Interviews Michael Hanson of New York Life

I just finished my interview with Michael Hanson of New York Life, and I’m excited to share it with you. Michael was recently named the Pacific Agencies Partner of the Year for 2015, and in this interview, he shares exactly how he and his team achieved this honor.

In my discussion with Mike, we covered a variety of topics:  Sales, Networking, Time Management, Leadership, and more.  My favorite part of the interview was Mike telling his story of moving to Boise, knowing only five people in the whole city, and trying to figure out how in the world he was going to build a sustainable living in the Life Insurance Business.

Well… he did it, big time.

The Definitive Guide to Goal Setting for 2016

Use these tips to help set and achieve your goals this year

This time each year Loan Officers and RE Agents get really excited about their goals. Businesses have entire days dedicated to goal setting and planning out the perfect year. Entrepreneurs will take a trip or book a beautiful hotel room to get out of the normal day-to-day activities and focus solely on creating their goals and writing their dreams for the next 12 months.

The year begins to crawl by and the next thing you know, it’s March or May and not much has changed. The normal routine is comfortable and it’s easy to slide back into that old pattern.

You deserve more.  

Make Your List and Check it Twice

A Priority List Will Help Eliminate Stress

It’s Friday December 18th and there are only 7 days left until Christmas.  If I were guessing, I would say you have approximately 1,282 tasks to complete in the next week.  The month of December in the Mortgage and Real Estate business is always run at a harried pace.  There are end-of-the-year transactions to push through, cards to address and get in the mail, gifts for family (and clients) to buy, holiday parties to attend, as well as the need to block-out time to craft a business plan for next year.  It is no wonder people struggle with Holiday Stress.

Jay Interviews Kelli Cowell, Regional Account Manager, Essent Guaranty

I am excited to share with you my conversation with Kelli Cowell, both my friend and a Regional Account Manager with Essent Guarantee Inc.  Kelli has been in the Mortgage/RE Industry since 1998, and thrived in every position she has held.  I met Kelli years ago when I was managing a Wholesale Lending office and witnessed for myself why she is such a prolific salesperson… (here’s a tip – she’s successful at sales because it never feels like she is selling you anything!)


Jay Interviews Bob Beaudine, Bestselling Author of The Power of Who

One of the most common mistakes that Mortgage and RE Professionals make is trying to grow their business with “traditional Networking.”  That is, they work to meet and do business with masses of people that they don’t know

CEO/Speaker/Author Bob Beaudine makes the compelling argument that the best-of-the-best do business with what he calls their “WHO.”  Your “WHO” are the people that know you, like you and trust you.  Bob built his business on the premise that when it comes to relationships in business, “you already know all the people you need to know.”

Back to School!

I’m sure a few of you are like me… gearing up for the “FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!” My 4 kids have been lounging around all summer, but their carefree days are quickly coming to a close. I always snicker a little bit when that day arrives. They’ll complain about how hard school is, and “dad, we have to be there all day!” Back to reality kiddos! ENJOY!

There will be some of you heading to Target for school supplies this weekend, or the mall for some new shoes for that first day. However, if you have a few free moments, be sure to check out some of the articles I’ve collected for you below. “Sell Like Steve Jobs” was sent to me by Private Client Nathan Smith of Fairway Independent Mortgage, and is my favorite article this week.