It’s so easy, especially in the technological age to get caught up in everything, whether it be a money-making task or not. It’s also become easier and easier to justify time spent online – perusing websites, getting caught up on social media – what I like to call “falling into the Internet.” We call it “fact-finding,” “educating ourselves,” “lead generating,” etc. Hint: Watching hours of funny cat videos will not bring you any buyers or sellers.
A wise man once said, “When you’ve got 10 minutes, Facebook is a great place to spend 5 hours.”
The problem is that this kind of behavior online can start to affect your offline world, including your real estate business. Your productivity can suffer, and you can wake up on another Monday wondering where the last week (minus, perhaps, some showings and an open house) went.
With that in mind, here are 3 steps you can take right now to instantly make you more productive:
Step 1. Turn Off Non-Essential Notifications
Being around some agents makes you feel like you’re in Las Vegas – the pings, rings and other odd sounds emanating from their phone could make anyone twitch. After a while, all those notifications train you much like Pavlov’s dog. Your concentration gets broken, your focus scattered and you’ll constantly be checking to see if there’s something that needs to be attended to immediately.
So, turn them off.
Switch off all the LinkedIn emails that are currently clogging your email. Turn off the Facebook notification that tells you whenever someone likes your latest cat picture. You don’t need to know whenever someone favorites something of yours on Twitter…it’s not an immediate need, it’s an immediate feed for instant gratification.
While you’re at it, think about whether you really need to put your phone on vibrate. We’ve had mobile phones for so long that many of us have, at one time or another, reached for our phone because we swore it was vibrating. (Our society is so trained, there’s actually a name for it: “phantom vibration.”) Turning non-essential sounds and vibrations off will instantly allow you to retain focus on your task at hand.
Step 2. Time-Block Your To-Do List
You’ve heard it 100 times from time management specialists, and it’s going to be repeated here. Why? Because time-blocking does help productivity. It’s not enough to put on your to-do list for the day, “Check my email” or “Send my newsletter” or “Post on social media.” That’s how you fall into the black hole of technology and emerge 7 hours later, blinking at the natural light of the setting sun, without having accomplished anything productive.
Each night, make it part of your routine to take a look at your list for the next day. Appointments with clients are easy – those time-block themselves. Everything else, though, from social media to email to phone calls needs to be scheduled in as an appointment as well.
You’re more likely to do something if you’ve got a certain amount of time set aside for it. And you give yourself boundaries that you’re more likely to follow. Setting aside 3 hours for a newsletter gives you 3 hours for a newsletter, without non-essential interruptions. Yes, I know if there are contract negotiations or kids calling or something else, the interruption matters. Just don’t fool yourself into allowing something that can be taken care of later to invade the now of whatever you need to accomplish.
Step 3. Get A Win
Start out the day by getting a win, even if it’s a small win. Identify something the night before on your list that you know you can knock out and accomplish without too much effort. Once you’ve knocked that off the list, you’ll be more motivated to continue than if you’re slogging through a task that seems endless. Your frustration is more likely to lead to procrastination.
Conversely, Brian Tracy has a book called Eat That Frog that addresses the concept of tackling the toughest thing on your list first. It’s a similar theory - if you’re freshest first thing in the morning, and you handle the hardest thing on your list first, the rest of the day will automatically seem easier and you’re more likely to be productive.
For those of you who are frustrated by technology, that could include posting on social media (or scheduling posts for social media), writing a blog post/newsletter/email campaign, or tackling online marketing for your newest listing. Whether online or offline, decide on your “win.” Big or little, your success will carry you through your day.
Like all things, these 3 steps to instant productivity have to continue being practiced over time. With consistency and discipline, you’ll find that they become second nature.
What tips do you have that have made you more productive?