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Organizational Habits To Maximize Productivity

Organizational Habits To Maximize Productivity

What could you do with 11 or more hours a week? A recent study by Unit4 indicated many of us lose up to 25% of our productivity each week due to a lack of streamlining our workflow or effectively using smart phone applications.

Luckily for you and me, organization isn’t an attribute you’re born with, but a skill you can learn. And many of us can learn more! Proof? A poll by Office Depot found that 82% of people felt the more organized they were, the better they performed.

Here are five techniques to maximize your productivity, which one will you add to your portfolio this week?

Goals Up & Visual

Since you have invested time knowing and documenting what you want to achieve this year in your business and your personal life, why leave it hidden in a drawer or a closed book?

Out of sight quickly becomes out of mind. Up and visual is a proven technique to drive goal attainment.

Tip: Keep important information up and visible

There’s An APP for that 

While there is an APP for just about anything, many of us can benefit simply by using the basic functions of your smart phone – Calendar, Notes, Reminders, and Voice Memo.

For example, setting reminders in your calendar for project deadlines. You can start with the deadline when the project must be completed and submitted, then work backward from there to set alerts for project components all along the way. You can even set additional notices to remind you to check on the progress, particularly if you are awaiting input from other people or teams. You’ll never be caught off-guard by a huge project again.

Tip: Leverage your SMART phone Calendar; Notes; Reminders and Voice Memo. 

Use the 80/20 Rule 

When creating time blocks, use the 80/20 Rule to organize your schedule. The 80/20 rule is based around the idea that 20% of your work tends to produce 80% of your results. Productive workers identify their most important 20% tasks and organize their workday around getting them done first and foremost. The rest can be handled later or delegated, automated or eliminated.

Each time block contains a single task and an allotted amount of time for completing it. As we know, work EXPANDS to the time allotted! Scheduling your most essential tasks for the morning (or at those times when you’re the most productive) is one habit the most productive have mastered.

For most of us reading this, your most productive time block is described with this acrostic: P.L.A.N. Prospecting, Lead generation, Appointments (setting and going on), and Negotiations.

Creating new appointments is your MONEYBALL. Knowing the number of appointments needed to drive your goal and working backward is a high value 80/20 rule activity.

Tip: Time block your high leverage activities. Stay out of the whirlwind.  

Adopt a System for Follow Up

In business, following up with leads and clients is crucial to success. All the money is in follow up. Lack of organized communication costs more than you think. A recent study showed that 2,000 real estate agents lost 55% of past clients’ new business due to lack of follow up. Many real estate professionals have utilized customer relationship management systems (CRMs) that are used to follow up and keep leads, past clients, and other tasks focused and organized.

Tip: A strong focus on executing systems that make follow up a no brainer.  

Multitasking is a big lie.  

Contrary to popular belief, study after study shows that multitasking slows down a person’s productivity rather than speeds it up. It can also lead to all-around subpar results.

Why?

When we multitask, our brains can’t think in an organized way. We end up expending a lot of energy by switching our focus back and forth. Those that are highly productive recognize this and make it a habit to do one thing at a time. Even though their phone, for example, might be a vital part of your business, when something needs to get done, put all your focus – for a 45-minute time block – on the task at hand and put your device to the side in airplane mode. The same goes for all other distractors.

Tip: Singularity of focus for 45-minute or less time blocks (the average attention span for an adult) 

Peter Drucker said it best, “Nothing is less productive than to make more efficient what should not be done at all. Until we can manage our time, we can manage nothing else.”

 

 

I Hear It Almost Daily From Someone, “I’m overwhelmed!”

I Hear It Almost Daily From Someone, “I’m overwhelmed!”

Our work lives have become more demanding, presenting us with more complex challenges at a relentless pace. Add in your personal needs, family needs, and other commitments, and it’s easy to feel always overwhelmed. For most of us, the typical response to growing workloads is to work harder and put in longer hours, rather than to step back and examine and find a new way of operating. 

The cognitive impact of feeling overwhelmed continuously can range from mental slowness, forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty concentrating, or thinking logically, to a racing mind or an impaired ability to problem solve. When we have too many demands over an extended period of time, cognitive fatigue kicks in. The effect makes us less productive and leaves us feeling even more overwhelmed. 

If you are feeling overwhelmed, here are some key strategies to try:

  • Simply Stop. 

Have the courage to stop what you’re doing. Give yourself the time and space to slow down, so you can see the bigger picture and get a handle on things. Regather yourself. Center yourself so that you have the energy to make wiser, healthier decisions.

  • Get clear on your priorities. 

Taking time to contemplate your priorities is key to having focused flow. What’s most important to you right now? How do you want to run your business and live your life on a day-to-day basis? Look at the bigger picture and how you want to spend your time and energy. 

  • Let go 

Lin Yutang said, “besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom in business consists in the elimination of nonessentials.” What don’t you need to do? What can you automate, delegate, or eliminate? 

  • Commit to less. 

Having too much to do often has to do with unrealistic goal setting and over-committing your time and energy. Are you overly ambitious? Are you not being realistic about your goals and what you can do?

  • Say NO more often.

People who are overwhelmed spread their energy too thinly. Often, it’s hard for them to say “no” because they fear disappointing others. When you feel scattered and pulled apart in a lot of different directions, are you willing to pull yourself back in and say “no” to others? Are you ready to get more comfortable saying no?

  • Limit yourself. 

Be willing to focus on just a few things at a time. Put limits on certain activities that aren’t important. By limiting your time and energy for specific endeavors, and not allowing yourself to get lost in the day-to-day, you can create more time and space in your life. Limit the number of emails, FB time, talk time, any activities that consume the unproductive time in your life. The paradox is that by creating more discipline and limitation in your life, you create greater freedom.

  • Re-imagine a new schedule.

Imagine a new lifestyle from scratch. If you made your business effectiveness, health, and happiness a priority, what would a perfect day look like? What would an ideal week look like?’ 

Being overwhelmed is not a fact — it’s a state of consciousness that limits your freedom and happiness. It requires a shift in perspective. Often, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re over-thinking everything that needs to get done. You’ve lost yourself, and you’re no longer present. 

Instead of seeing the things outside of you having power over you, be willing to stop and regather yourself. Bring yourself back to the present moment. Remember that you have a choice about the way you want to feel.

 

 

What Would Happen: If you NEVER Tolerated Inaction?

What Would Happen: If you NEVER Tolerated Inaction?

This week I had the opportunity to speak with several real estate agents about their upcoming 2020 New Years’ resolutions. Research has shown that about half of all adults make New Year’s resolutions. However, fewer than 10% manage to keep them for more than a few months. Like me, does this statistic make you wonder why? What’s the solution? Consider this:

What would happen if starting today, you never tolerated inaction in yourself? Think about that for a moment again, what would happen if starting today you never tolerated inaction in yourself?

From the book, Atomic Habits, there is a common mistake that often happens to too many of us. The error has to do with the difference between being in motion and taking action. They sound similar, but they’re not the same.

When you’re in motion, you’re planning and strategizing and learning. Those are all good things, but they don’t produce a result. Action, on the other hand, is the type of behavior that will deliver an outcome.

Here’s a couple of practical examples:

  • If I outline 20 ideas for articles I want to write, that’s motion.
    • If I write and publish an article, that’s action.
  • If I email 10 new leads for my business and start conversations with them, that’s motion.
    • When I set an appointment, that’s action.
  • If I search for a better diet plan and read a few books on the topic, that’s motion.
    • If I eat a healthy meal, that’s action.

Sometimes motion is useful, yet it will never produce an outcome by itself. It doesn’t matter how many times you talk to the personal trainer, that motion will never get you in shape. Only the action of working out will get the result you’re looking to achieve.

If the motion doesn’t lead to results, why do we do it?

Sometimes we do it because we need to plan or learn more. But more often than not, we do it because motion allows us to feel like we’re making progress without running the risk of failure. Most of us are experts at avoiding criticism. It doesn’t feel right to fail or to be judged publicly, so we tend to avoid situations where that might happen. And that’s the biggest reason why you slip into motion rather than taking action: you want to delay failure.

It’s easy to be in motion and convince yourself that you’re still making progress. You think, “I’ve got conversations going with four potential clients right now. This is good. We’re moving in the right direction.” Motion makes you feel like you’re getting things done. But really, you’re just preparing to get something done. When preparation becomes a form of procrastination, you need to change something. You don’t want to be planning merely. You want to be practicing.

TRYceratops VS DOceratops

Some ideas to get out of motion and into action:

  1. Work expands to the time you give it: Set a specific time for each task.
  2. Set a schedule for your actions: Basic time blocking.
  3. Pick a date to shift you from motion to action: set hard deadlines.
  4. Ignore, switch your feelings: “I don’t feel like it” to “Let’s get this done!”

For some goals, setting a daily or weekly schedule doesn’t work as well. This is the case if you’re doing something that is only going to happen once: studying for your broker exam or getting your GRI. These things require some planning upfront (motion). They also need plenty of action to complete them. For example, you could set a schedule each week to study. In a situation like this, research shows it’s best to pick a date. Put something on the calendar – like the test date. Make it public. This is when X is happening. In other words, set a HARD DEADLINE.

Research shows that people who make a specific plan for when and where they will perform a new habit are more likely to follow through. Too many people try to change their habits without these basic details figured out. We tell ourselves, “I’m going to eat healthier” or “I’m going to write more,” but we never say when and where these habits are going to happen. We leave it up to chance and hope that we will “just remember to do it” or feel motivated at the right time.

Hope is not a strategy!

An implementation intention sweeps away foggy notions like “I want to work out more” or “I want to be more productive” or “I should vote” and transforms them into a concrete plan of action.

Many people think they lack motivation when what they lack is clarity.

A straightforward way to apply this strategy to your habits is to fill out this sentence:

I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION]

  • I will follow up with 4 leads a day for 30 minutes at 9 a.m. in my office.
  • I will complete part 1 of my project, investing twenty minutes at 10 a.m. in my office.
  • I will exercise for one hour at 5 p.m. at my gym.
  • I will make my wife a cup of tea at 7 a.m. each morning in the kitchen.

Give your habits time and space. The goal is to make the time and location so apparent that, with enough repetition, you get an urge to do the right thing at the right time, even if you can’t say why.

To put it: planning out when and where you will perform a specific behavior turns your environment into a trigger for action. The time and place trigger your behavior, not your level of motivation.

Motivation is short-lived and doesn’t lead to consistent action. If you want to achieve your goals, then you need a plan for exactly when and how you’re going to execute on them regardless of how you feel.

There are some lessons that only #failure can teach. Failure is not the problem… inaction is… procrastination is.

Let’s commit this week to move from motion to action.

#WinTheDay

I Hear It Almost Daily From Someone, “I’m overwhelmed!”

I Hear It Almost Daily From Someone, “I’m overwhelmed!”

Our work lives have become more demanding, presenting us with more complex challenges at a relentless pace. Add in your personal needs, family needs, and other commitments, and it’s easy to feel always overwhelmed. For most of us, the typical response to growing workloads is to work harder and put in longer hours, rather than to step back and examine and find a new way of operating. 

The cognitive impact of feeling overwhelmed continuously can range from mental slowness, forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty concentrating, or thinking logically, to a racing mind or an impaired ability to problem solve. When we have too many demands over an extended period of time, cognitive fatigue kicks in. The effect makes us less productive and leaves us feeling even more overwhelmed. 

If you are feeling overwhelmed, here are some key strategies to try:

  • Simply Stop. 

Have the courage to stop what you’re doing. Give yourself the time and space to slow down, so you can see the bigger picture and get a handle on things. Regather yourself. Center yourself so that you have the energy to make wiser, healthier decisions.

  • Get clear on your priorities. 

Taking time to contemplate your priorities is key to having focused flow. What’s most important to you right now? How do you want to run your business and live your life on a day-to-day basis? Look at the bigger picture and how you want to spend your time and energy. 

  • Let go 

Lin Yutang said, “besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom in business consists in the elimination of nonessentials.” What don’t you need to do? What can you automate, delegate, or eliminate? 

  • Commit to less. 

Having too much to do often has to do with unrealistic goal setting and over-committing your time and energy. Are you overly ambitious? Are you not being realistic about your goals and what you can do?

  • Say NO more often.

People who are overwhelmed spread their energy too thinly. Often, it’s hard for them to say “no” because they fear disappointing others. When you feel scattered and pulled apart in a lot of different directions, are you willing to pull yourself back in and say “no” to others? Are you ready to get more comfortable saying no?

  • Limit yourself. 

Be willing to focus on just a few things at a time. Put limits on certain activities that aren’t important. By limiting your time and energy for specific endeavors, and not allowing yourself to get lost in the day-to-day, you can create more time and space in your life. Limit the number of emails, FB time, talk time, any activities that consume the unproductive time in your life. The paradox is that by creating more discipline and limitation in your life, you create greater freedom.

  • Re-imagine a new schedule.

Imagine a new lifestyle from scratch. If you made your business effectiveness, health, and happiness a priority, what would a perfect day look like? What would an ideal week look like?’ 

Being overwhelmed is not a fact — it’s a state of consciousness that limits your freedom and happiness. It requires a shift in perspective. Often, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re over-thinking everything that needs to get done. You’ve lost yourself, and you’re no longer present. 

Instead of seeing the things outside of you having power over you, be willing to stop and regather yourself. Bring yourself back to the present moment. Remember that you have a choice about the way you want to feel.

 

 

5 Ways Not To Be Broke On January 1

5 Ways Not To Be Broke On January 1

There are 84 days left in 2019 and 60 productive working days, depending on how many days you work, how many holidays you celebrate, and so on. Regardless you have about 84 days to wrap up 2019. 84 days!

What will your bank account look like on January 1 of 2020? Is it your desire to have a more significant bank account or a smaller one? Whatever your goal is, NOW is the time to make that happen.

The next 60 days will be critical for setting yourself up for strong close to 2019 and a fast start to 2020. What you do in the next few days and weeks will determine the size of your bank account on January 1 and your momentum for the first quarter of 2020.

CHALLENGE 1: What would happen to your business if, for the next 20 working days, you made one new appointment each day?

Let’s face there are two types of agents today: hobbyists and CEO’s. This article is not for hobbyists, those part-time agents who dabble. For those of you that run your business like a business, those of you that know your daily number and know what it takes to generate one sale, then this article is for you.

CHALLENGE 2: Get clear about the next 84 days:

  • Write down the number of sales you’ve made so far this year.
  • Write down the source of those sales.
  • How many listings will you earn between now and the end of the year?
  • How many additional families or investors do you want to serve between now and the end of the year?
  • How many contacts do you need to make to drive that number
    • One rule of thumb is 40 contacts to 1 sale.
    • Who are they, and how will you go about connecting with them?
  • What systems do you have in place to create the result you desire?

After completing the quick exercise above, here are 5 actions you can take so you’re not broke on January 1:

  • Decide Now. Decide now how many days you will work, how many days you will be off, and how many “flex days” you’ll have between now and the end of the year. Decide what direct response marketing campaigns you will run. For example, if you will create an investor campaign to take advantage of year-end investment buyers.
  • Up your CRM game. There is no excuse for not having your CRM updated and working for you. It takes discipline; yet once you realize your CRM is the engine that drives your train, that task becomes less negotiable.
  • Delegate. Is it time to find some help? An office or virtual assistant. Your highest and best use is prospecting.; lead generation; going on appointments and negotiating contracts. Everything else delegate. Scared? Get resourceful, many new agents I know are sharing a fractional assistant to split cost yet keep them fully employed.
  • Diversify your lead generation sources. Too many struggling agents rely on ONE, maybe TWO lead sources. FOUR sources of business – split between influence strategies and control strategies – provides diversity and stability to your real estate practice. Note, don’t add four sources all at once. Start with one new source, get it working and stable then add another until you reach four sources.
  • Target Market Clarity? Any market rewards the hyperlocal expert. Are you an expert in a community? Are you an expert in a profession like Nurses, FBI agents, CPA’s? It’s probably time to get hyperlocal and specialize.

So, I’ll leave you today with three final things to consider: 

  1. Knowing what you know now, what immediate adjustments do you need to make?
  2. Cash is king. Are you building your cash reserves? Are you reducing bad debt? Investing in marketing? (Hint: You can do all 3.)
  3. Have you started a small weekly accountability group with like-minded, goal-oriented CEO’s like yourself? If not, what’s holding you back? 

Knowledge Minus Action = Nothing

Knowledge Minus Action = Nothing

K minus A equals 0

K plus A equals W (Winning) 

I’ve coached a few folks that told me, “I want to produce more… my desire is to be more consistent.” Some have been saying this for way too long. Why… fear. Fear keeps our behavior inconsistent with our goals.  

Those of you that know me, know I’m a life-long learner. Although I agree with life-long learning, I agree much more with a life-long application – taking action –  on what we’re learning.

At the end of the day, the winners are the doers.

Figure out where you want to go, start with the end in mind, and work your way backward to the moment at hand.

Example… what would happen if for every 12 people you know you set a system to touch them 33 times throughout the year? Could that “system” create 1 new transaction for every 12 people in your database?  

What would happen if you added 1 new contact to your CRM everyday… and that contact was then touched 8 times in the first 8 weeks of meeting them and then 33 times during the next year? What would happen? 

Here’s the best of the blog series, the highest engaged post about taking action: 

Number 1:

5 Lessons From The Death Crawl Scene In “Facing the Giants.” 

Too often our own perception, surroundings, and beliefs get in the way of victory and success.  Or said another way, the meaning we assign to things becomes the lens through which we see the world.

Number 2:

What Would Happen If You Never Tolerated Inaction In Yourself?

There is a common mistake that often happens to too many of us. The mistake has to do with the difference between being in motion and taking action. They sound similar, but they’re not the same.

Number 3:

Tired Of Not Getting What You Want?

Ever wonder why so many of us have to hit rock bottom before we find a breakthrough?

Number 4:

If Information Was Enough…

If information was enough, we would all be top performers in our profession, exercise every day, eat more vegetables, be within the government height and weight standard, and have a ton of money saved for the future.

Number 5:

3 Steps to Mastery

Who doesn’t want to be a better agent, better team leader, a better entrepreneur? If there is one concept that can lead to more powerful performance with immediate impact… this is it: “It’s difficult to control our thoughts and feelings, yet we have total control of our actions.”

In summary, information overload creates a lull in productive activity, so let’s look at three simple, fuss-free steps to get you the results you need: 

Step 1: Move beyond the learning phase. While knowledge is a powerful thing, don’t make the mistake of thinking your good intentions count. It’s time to stop procrastinating and trust the tools you have to start taking positive steps. 

Give yourself permission to execute on the things you know now… nothing good happens when you wait.  

Step 2: Skip out on perfection. Perfection is a stall tactic. Typically, nothing big and drastic needs to happen in your routine. Small changes are what really count. 

Just take action, now! 

Step 3: Execute an action plan. Knowledge is only power when combined with action. 

What actions can I take? Here’s one approach to consider: 

Daily 

  • 5 or more check-in calls that create 1 or more appointments 
  • 3 or more personal notes 
  • 1 addition to your database with an “8 touch campaign” over the next 8 weeks 

Weekly 

  • Grab a beverage of choice with a top client or prospect that creates 1 or more new appointments 
  • Host at least 1 business to business networking session 
  • Complete 7 pop-bys that create 1 or more new appointments 
  • At least one video about local events or local market conditions 

Monthly

  • Start of the month  and mid-month eReport of value to your database – with video content that creates appointments 
  • Targeted FB or Google ads that create appointments 
  • Strategic text messages to an opt-in database that create appointments 

Knowledge plus action is power. Figure out where you what to go, start with the end in mind, and work your way backward to the moment at hand. #GO #GSD