What would it take for you to achieve maximum productivity for your business? Surprisingly, it’s easier than you may think.
While everyone experiences both high and low levels of productivity, the steps outlined below will help you keep your productivity engine purring with minimal amounts of effort.
1. Don’t starve the engine
Many real estate professionals jack themselves up with caffeine and sugar to get through their day. It’s common for us to skip meals as well. If you’re getting that 4 p.m. low or need a double espresso to get started in the morning, here’s how to put your body into high gear without sugar and caffeine.
Begin by getting in the habit of eating five or six times per day. Instead of having three large meals, eat three smaller meals with 100- to 200-calorie snacks between meals. Nutritionists recommend this approach for people who are diabetic since it keeps their blood sugar and energy levels constant.
In terms of what to eat, most nutritionists suggest balancing your intake of carbs, proteins and fats. What has really worked for me is having at least 15 grams of protein, coupled with one complex carb, such as vegetables plus a small serving of a fast carb such as fruit, potato or rice at each meal (30-45 carbs total).
Between meals, have at least two or three snacks daily, which can be a protein bar, nuts or almost anything as long as it does not exceed 200 calories. The goal is to eat something every two to three hours while avoiding foods with added sugars.
Also, eat close to the source. The less processed the food is, the better.
I originally looked at this approach as a way to lose weight. While I haven’t lost or gained, I am eating a lot more. What really surprised me was an extraordinary increase in my energy. Best of all, I’m sleeping better and not getting drowsy in the late afternoon — no caffeine required!
2. Synchronize your brain
Research on peak performance indicates that humans perform best when both sides of their brain are working in concert. There are a number of ways to achieve brain synchronization — an easy way is to listen to music you love.
The way you can tell if both hemispheres of your brain are in synchrony is that you feel like dancing or snapping your fingers to the beat. There’s also a smile on your face. If you’re having an off day, as little as five minutes of the right music can put your brain back into top performance mode.
3. Take advantage of peak productivity times
Each day, your body has high and low cycles. For example, most people wake up or become hungry at about the same time each day. Your body temperature and other functions rise and fall throughout the day.
To take full advantage of these cycles, pay attention to when you are the most productive. The way to determine your peak energy time of day is to keep a log for several days. Note your energy level each hour and how easy or difficult it is to accomplish work-related tasks.
In most cases, you probably already know whether you are a morning person or a night owl. Whatever is the case for you personally, schedule your day so that you do your most important and difficult tasks at your personal peak time periods.
For example, if you are at your best in the early morning, handle your prospecting, showings, any transaction problems, as well as your negotiations, when you are at your best. Do your paperwork, social networking, and less important face-to-face activities during the afternoon.
4. Can the negative self-talk
Most of us are our own worst critics. If you catch yourself complaining about a transaction, the traffic, or your weight, the best way to eliminate this negative self-talk is to shift gears and ask, “What are five things that are going right today?”
It could be something as simple as the sun is shining, my car is running perfectly, or my technology is working with no glitches. By immediately focusing on what is going right in your life, you increase your optimism and your energy. This, in turn, leads to increased performance.
5. Narrow your focus
To keep your focus strong, use time blocking. For example, if you are prospecting by phone, don’t allow any interruptions during your scheduled prospecting time. Devote 45 to 50 minutes per hour for the scheduled activity as well as 10-15 minutes per hour to check in for emergencies or to handle other urgent issues.
Also, while it’s tempting to respond to text messages or phone calls as they come in, remember that it takes almost 30 minutes after you return to your original task to reach the same level of concentration that you had before the interruption.
6. Allocate only 20 percent of your time to handle the bottom 80 percent of your activities
A common way we overwork our high performance engine is by trying to have it carry a bigger load than it was designed to carry. The 80-20 rule says that 80 percent of the benefit for our businesses comes from the top 20 percent of our activities.
Many agents beat themselves up because they didn’t accomplish the 53 things that were on their to-do list for the day. A better approach is to identify the three most important activities that you must complete each day. These are in your top 20 percent.
Allocate only 20 percent of your day to the other 80 percent. The reason? The bottom 50 percent of your activities may yield a far smaller share of benefit for your business. Consequently, you’re better off focusing primarily on the top 20 percent, doing what you can to complete the next 20-30 percent, and delegating or dumping the rest.
If you’re ready to make your productivity engine purr, then follow the simple tips above. You may be pleasantly surprised at how much better you feel as well as how much more you accomplish.
Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of the National Association of Realtors’ No. 1 best-seller, “Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success.” Hear Bernice’s five-minute daily real estate show, just named “new and notable” by iTunes, at www.RealEstateCoachRadio.com. You can contact her at Bernice@RealEstateCoach.com or @BRoss on Twitter.