Time management was at the top of the list when we asked for your feedback on what you could use the most help and resources with. So, back in December, I had the opportunity to chat with Kristen Hartwick on my Podcast. She has so much insightful information to share; I actually talked with her on two episodes.
But, that wasn’t even enough time to pack everything in. So, today, I wanted to talk more about her time-saving and efficiency tips. I have tweaked them slighting to apply to you, regardless of what your role is at Pango Group.
And, remember, even if these tips feel small, shaving seconds off of a task can add up to minutes and hours saved over a year.
1. Don’t let calls go to voicemail (unless you absolutely have to). While it may seem like you’re saving time by not picking up the phone in real-time, you’ve now added extra work - listening to the voicemail, potentially leaving a message, and then waiting for them to call back.
2. Include specific keywords in your email subject lines.
For escrow officers, that means the escrow number, and for everyone else, that means to make it the topic of what you need information on or what you are trying to achieve. This makes searching for previous correspondence from the same person or topic much quicker. You can also see a quick timeline or progression of what’s been going on by pulling up the email by topic.
3. Be clear and concise in your email replies. Creating unnecessary back and forth in emails can be a huge time suck. To avoid this, be sure that you are not leaving any open-ended questions that will require you to provide more information.
Here’s an escrow example: responding to the seller asking about the proceeds upon closing. If the response is, “the proceeds will be wired upon the close of escrow.” The seller might respond once it’s wired, “When will I receive it?” That’s another email you now have to go back to, respond to and note it.
4. Create templated email responses that can be used repeatedly.
If you found yourself typing nearly the exact same email or email reply consistently, that’s a lot of time wasted. Instead, create templates that can be reused (even if they require minimal changes). Text expander tools work great for this!
Here’s another excellent example from Kristen: Emails explaining how and when documents will be received, explanation of the funding and closing process, the proceeds process, what a pad is and why it’s collected, the what and why’s for a 593, CD status process & timing, loan docs in, docs signed, money in, funding, recording, proceeds wired, etc...
5. Taking the time to review your documents quickly.
Spending a few extra minutes on something can often save hours. For example, before you send over something for someone to review, review the document first to ensure there are no errors or items that could cause confusion or alarm. This also ensures that you don’t look foolish to whomever you’re emailing.
6. It takes a lot longer to “fix” than it does to “do.”
This is an excellent quote from Kristen. If you don’t have time to do it now, you definitely won’t have time to fix it later. The amount of time that it takes to fix something significantly outweighs it just being done correctly, to begin with.
7. Set clear expectations up front.
Letting clients, lenders, and co-workers know when they can expect to receive something from you is vital! It eliminates answering calls and replying to emails from folks wondering when they’ll get something from you. Outside of saving time, it also builds trusting relationships because people know you keep your word. Saying “As soon as possible (ASAP)” is not a clear expectation of time.
8. Proactive communication saves a ton of time.
It may seem like it would take longer to send updates, but it’s actually the opposite. If you send an email to the agents, TC, or co-workers, it’s like number seven above; it saves time answering calls, playing phone tag, etc.
9. Have a list of to-do’s every day.
This will help keep you on track and avoid procrastination. Even small tasks should be noted. Some people like attaching timeframes or setting aside time blocks to help with being distracted or jumping from one task to another.
10. Keep track of data while doing an opening.
Say, for example, that you’re reading the contract now. You saw X piece of information or a contingency date, and you’re interrupted by a phone call and now need to go back to reread the same information. This is true for those outside of escrow too. When you’re working on a task that requires your full attention, don’t let other distractions get in the way and cause minutes or hours of extra work.
Kristen was kind enough to share a New Escrow Checklist sample, so feel free to use this. And, if you want to talk, you know where to find me.
Life is good,