Are you feeling lethargic? Pulled in too many directions? Are you unable to complete the tasks you used to handle easily? Feeling weighed down and uninspired? Lacking energy and focus? If so, it may be time for what I call the distraction diet!
I work with real estate agents with varied backgrounds, and varied businesses, in various parts of the country. But here’s what I can tell you most of them have in common: a problem managing distractions.
If you compare your business to the human body, you know that the right diet is critical to health and success. Prior to doing an activity – let’s say, playing in a soccer match – do you eat three candy bars and hoist a shot of tequila? Not if you want have a great game, you don’t!
Yet many real estate agents feed the same sort of temporarily satisfying but absolutely non-nourishing “work calories” to their hungry business. All those distractions are like junk food to your business, and will slow your work flow to a crawl.
Distractions draw us in because they either add pleasure to our lives or remove pain from our lives. It’s that simple. Distractions allow us to take the easy route – the pleasure route. At least for the moment, we avoid the pain. But you and I both know that a distraction is just a temporary turnoff on the road to a successful business!
Try tracking your distractions for a week and see if there are any patterns. Understanding what’s getting you off track is the best way to start keeping on track. Also look at what you’re being distracted from. What is it that is so unappealing or painful to you that you want to divert your attention elsewhere? Then spend some time trying to figure out why the activity is so repellent to you. It may well be that it’s something you could have someone else handle for you in your business.
I’ve spoken before about my “hour of power” – that hour that I dedicate at the beginning of each day with no phones, no email, no interruptions from family or friends. That hour of power ensures that I have a big block of time to get work done each day, and helps make up for potential distractions later on.
It is the #1 thing that I’ve built in to my business which has created success for me. If you’re not doing an hour of power, try it! You’ll be amazed by how much you can get done. But of course, you need to be focused for more than an hour a day.
Here are some suggestions for providing an overall structure to make that easier:
- Set core priorities. What must get done in your business each week? Lead generation? Follow-up? Market research? Previewing properties? Make your list, and figure out frequencies for these activities.
- Determine what keeps you from doing these important tasks – list your “distractions” and track them.
- Start building a series of small good habits and patterns. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and habits are hard to change. But pretty quickly, small habits become easy-to-manage-routines for productivity.
- Have goals in your business. Framing up your daily or weekly activities in this perspective helps you realize that not spending three hours per day on Facebook isn’t going to mean the end of your social life and may actually help you achieve your business goals.
- Create bite-sized bits of work. A three-hour lead generation project too daunting? Break it into 30-minute bits instead.
- Track your results! When you can look back to accomplishments that occurred as a result of the distraction diet it’s a whole lot easier to stay motivated when the next one occurs.
- Build in rewards. Maybe you can indulge in an activity that usually distracts you—except now you can enjoy it guilt free. Only you will know what’s best, of course.
- Block out time. Not just for work – but for fun too!
- Ask friends and family for help. Sharing your goals with those close to you accomplishes two things: 1) it allows them to support you by reminding you to keep on task, and 2) if they are the distraction it can help them understand why you may sometimes need to say “no” to them!
- Remove distractions as best you can!
Like all diets, the distraction diet requires effort – but boy, will it ever yield rewards! Make today the day you start making good “work calorie” choices for long-term, sustainable results.