Is that Work or Mission Creep?

Be the Better Broker Volume 1

An excerpt from Volume 1 of Be the Better Broker.

In brokering, as in life, time is the most precious resource. Today, more than ever, time is an easy thing to have slip through your fingers, one post, like, tweet and pin at a time. “Time management” is an outdated term. Today the focus needs to be on behaviour management.

Your behaviour is the root of how you spend your time, and thus just how much time you have available for various tasks.

When you are beholden to nobody but yourself, as is the case with Mortgage Brokers, you’re vulnerable to “mission creep.” That’s a term the military uses to describe a situation where the scope of an original mission expands far beyond the original objective. Often one success leads to a slightly greater risk taken, and so on, until a catastrophic failure occurs.

We suffer from Facebook-creep when we intend to spend a few seconds posting a quick pic or one-liner and instead wind up spending an hour surfing our feed and checking back for “success” via likes and shares of our posts. Google-creep occurs when we intend to search for details on a listing down the block, which expands to homes within a five-kilometre radius, and then a quick download of a Szechuan chicken recipe for dinner tonight, which contains a link to the latest celebrity fiasco, which triggers a quick search on YouTube for that video said celebrity made in the 80s, and a quick peek at the weather forecast, or whatever. Poof, another hour passes. What happened to your original search? Can you even recall what you started out looking for? Mission creep.

For a number of years, I kept a sticky note with the word “Focus” on top of my computer monitor. I removed myself from the email lists of various jokers and ranters, stopped logging in to YouTube or Facebook during office hours and started tracking the number of hours spent at my desk. The goal was to spend less time there and understand that a 30-minute session on Facebook mid-day would only make me 30 minutes later to return home. For some it means 30 minutes less work done, but a Broker has specific tasks that are deadline dependent and so must be done before leaving the office.

Many people believe they “work” 60 hours a week, though their browser history and mobile phone records would likely indicate otherwise. While perhaps planted in their office for 12 hours per day, many of those hours cannot be counted as productive.

Consider implementing some levels of self-regulation, such as a work-only phone number and ignoring your personal cell phone and social media accounts during the workday. Put your working hours to work.