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Distractions – the curse of the real estate agent

There are ways to avoid many distractions and thereby improve productivity. We take a look at how real estate agents can best maximise their working hours in order to get the most work done every day

We All Have Good Intentions

Most of us have the best intentions when we start a new year. We’re going to be more productive and make more money while at the same time creating more ‘me’ time. The big question is, of course, how? How difficult is it to change our mindsets and learn ways that do all of the above without having a nervous breakdown in the process? One way of the easiest ways of improving productivity is by learning to avoid distractions.

 Switching Off -Easier Said Than Done

Unfortunately we live in a world that is full of distractions and blocking out things that disturb our productive lives can be difficult. Any office has its fair share of disruptions. Ringing telephones, noisy, chatty colleagues, you name it, they all seem to congregate at the place where work is supposed to get done. Noise pollution aside,real estate agents also have to deal with a flood of emails, the ringing of their cell phones and other disturbances that eat away at their productivity. It may be an idea to take a long hard look at your average working day and focus on areas that could be causing problems.

Examine Your Daily Routine

Ask yourself what typically happens when you walk into work in the mornings? Do you go straight to your desk and start working immediately or do you, like most of us, wander into the kitchen to get a cup of coffee and then spend the next 30 minutes or so catching up on the latest goings on in the office? There are a whole lot of other distractions waiting for us once we finally make our way to our desks and turn on the computer. Funny emails from friends and family are often the first thing we focus on, then we’ll check out news sites to see what is happening out there, then we get onto Facebook to play technological catch-up with our friends. Before you know it, its 9am and you haven’t done a stitch of work.

Our Reliance on Technology has Pros and Cons

Technology has completely changed the face of real estate in recent years. There are seemingly apps for every eventuality aimed at making a real estate agent’s life easier. However, spending your productive hours researching the latest apps that may or may not improve your business is, unfortunately, going to affect your productivity. Yes, of course there are products out there that will save you time and make your business more productive; however, if you have developed a sort of app addiction and are downloading everything and anything that you are probably not going to end up using, you may have a problem. Perhaps the time has come to weed out what isn’t working and sticking to apps that save you time and help you make more money.

Is The Internet A Help Or A Hindrance?

Let’s face it, the Internet has made addicts out of most of us. Facebook is just one example. Facebook and Twitter have proven to be excellent tools for making new contacts or keeping old clients in the loop. However, like just about everything else in life, agents need to find the balance between finding and using the right technology and actually getting the job done. There is absolutely nothing wrong with using social media to grow your business; it is an excellent way to get your name and product out to the masses. There is, however, a vast difference between writing the odd status, sharing relevant news articles or offering tips for buyers and sellers and spending hours trawling the site to gaze at your client’s family photographs or sharing dozens of irrelevant posts.

Refine Your Social Media Timing

Timing, it seems, is everything and it’s the same with social media. It has been estimated that those who want to reach the most people focus on posting at the ‘right’ time. According to an article on ‘Agent Genius’ (yes, we found this site on Facebook), they say there are two types of timing you need to master – the ‘rush hours’ at the sites you use, and the time at which your audience gives you the best response. This step will increase the number of people who will see your updates because you’ll be posting at a time when most people are online.

Interestingly, more than half of Facebook users log in daily and according to experts, some of their login patterns are predictable. For example, people tend to log in when they wake up, when they first get to work, at lunch and after work.

It may be an idea to play around and monitor when you get the best response and work this into your day. Regardless of when this occurs, try to make the exercise completely work related and avoid social chatter and posts as much as possible during this time.

Focus On “Chunks” Of Productivity

One popular method used to help people become more productive is the Pomodora Method. Italian for ‘tomato’, this system was named after a kitchen timer shaped like a tomato. Basically, the idea, which was first mooted in the early ‘80s, involves putting the timer on for 25-minute intervals and focusing on being productive during those times. The method advocates taking a five-minute break in-between, before setting the timer again for the next session. While this may seem like a simple exercise for many of us, it’s far harder than it seems and it is going to take practice to perfect.

Distractions Are A Reality

Unfortunately, while all of this looks great on paper, the reality of the situation is that real estate agents are always going to have to put up with a fair number of distractions. There are phone calls to take, emails to answer, appointments to keep and generally mounds of paperwork cluttering our desks. Putting your head down and getting things done is going to take a great deal of time and commitment. However, managing your time better will improve your productivity and as such your success. If there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to get the job done effectively, consider working in the evenings when there are fewer distractions. Show days can also be the ideal time to get things done. Yes, there may be the odd interruption, but an awful amount of work can be done by sitting working on a tablet or laptop instead of reading a book or playing on a cell phone during these times.

Tips for Upping Productivity Levels

Henrik Edberg, the creator and writer for the Personal Development blog, offers the following advice for those who want to up their production levels:
• Do the most important task of the day first thing in the morning.
• Use a very limited to-do list.
• Keep a minimalistic workspace.
• Block out the common time-wasting sites online.
• Balance fully focused work with fully focused rest.
• Focus more on the how-to and not so much on the what-ifs.
• Each day ask yourself questions that help you to focus or refocus.
• When overwhelmed, breathe and then say to yourself: Just take care of today.

(Source: 23 Ways to Improve your Productivity)

By Lea Jacobs

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