darren-nolander2If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that life can flip on a dime. The mortgage industry, economy and housing market were all over the board, teaching us to be prepared for anything. This year brings about some administrative changes, some new laws, eviction and foreclosure moratoriums that may expire, and likely a slew of other factors that we can’t predict – but we can prepare for.

That’s why I love The 12-Week Year. It presents an actionable, easy-to-execute format that allows us to get more done in 12 weeks than most people do all year. How? Through planning, of course!

Planning out your to-do list in 12-week increments is good for a couple of reasons:

Ease of use. What would your goals look like if you had to plan them a year in advance? They’d probably be pretty lofty. But they’d also leave you with zero blueprint on how to achieve them. A day planner with 12 weeks gives you enough time to map out and execute steps that will inch you closer to your goal, while allowing you room to pivot if things change.

Action-based. Since this isn’t a goal planner (it’s a day planner), you want to fill these timeslots with very specific tasks that get you to the finish line. Don’t simply write “make more cold calls” under every other Friday. Write “make 10 cold calls and add five new contacts.” Then carve out an appropriate period of time for that, mark your calendar as “busy” and get to it.

Quantifiable. Simply put, your calendar should add up. If your goal is to increase your pipeline by 20% this year, then we should see the steps you’re taking to do so in writing. This includes action-based activities, such as “create video updating customers on new lending laws,” as well as weekly or monthly assessments where you take stock of your efforts, what worked, what didn’t and how close you’re coming to your goal.

Timely. Let’s drill down even further into the specifics. You’ve broken down your goals into actionable items, you’ve put them on your calendar and you’ve even scheduled time to assess how these plans are working. Great, but you can do even better. Don’t simply write these items down, but put a time estimate on them. Then, block out a specific period of time for getting them done. If your calendar says “work on marketing campaign” under “Monday,” that’s too vague. Instead, write “work on low closing costs marketing campaign from 2:00 – 3:30.” Then block that slot out and make sure not to take on any tasks that will interfere with your schedule.

Tony Robbins is famous for saying, “people will overestimate what they can accomplish in a year and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade.” This same sentiment can be applied when you’re looking at a year when compared to a quarter. So break out your planner and start getting detailed with it. You’ll find you can accomplish a whole lot more than you imagined!

Regional Vice President - Southwest

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