“What’s the one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” This question is not meant as a riddle nor does it require that type of ingenuity that is the purview only of the gifted. All that is required is focus.
At a recent symposium for OREA Real Estate College instructors, guest speaker Shon Kokoszka challenged participants to focus on their “one thing,” an important goal (professional or personal) they want to achieve and the steps to achieving it.
Kokoszka also stressed the importance of setting aside time each day to focus on those activities that bring individuals closer to their identified goals. So, if you identify more than one goal or your goal involves multiple tasks, then these must be prioritized according to which task yields the most benefits. The reason – engaging in multiple tasks, either simultaneously (multitasking) or sequentially (shifting from one task to another to another in rapid succession) is a just a waste of time and it can be costly. And there is research to prove this. For example, researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London studied 1,100 workers at a British company, who found that multitasking with electronic media (i.e., email and telephone calls) caused a greater drop in IQ than smoking pot or losing sleep.
Now that multitasking has been proven to be a lie, it is even more important for you to focus on the ‘one thing’ and those activities that bring you closer to achieving your goal.
As a REALTOR®, you are probably well aware of the term “time is of the essence.” This also applies to the time devoted to building your career. You cannot afford to waste valuable energy on tasks that do not yield results. You need to structure your time wisely, especially in a profession such as real estate.
Following are some tips on how to use your time more effectively.
1. Do not multitask. For example, do not answer an email when talking on the telephone. You are bound to make mistakes because you are distracted. Focus on what you are doing.
2. Set timelines and stick to them. Don’t postpone tasks that seem unpleasant.
3. Plan ahead. At the end of each day, prepare a ‘to do’ list for tomorrow, and arrange each item in order of priority (i.e., identify and complete the urgent task first).
4. Identify and avoid time wasters. Time wasters include socializing with colleagues or doing personal errands during work time. It is okay to take a break, but do so at the end of each task.
5. Group tasks. An effective way to save time is to group together similar tasks, such as prospecting, answering clients’ queries, or paperwork.
6. Organize your workspace. Determine and gather what you will need to accomplish a task. Put these things away once you have finished. Cluttered workspaces can lead to big messes.
7. Keep a notes list. During the course of the day, record items that come up that require you to take action.
8. Be flexible. Allow for and expect interruptions, but don’t allow these to take control. Get back to your tasks as soon as possible.
9. Know your peak time. Schedule your most difficult tasks for that part of the day when you’re most alert and at your best.
10. Take advantage of quiet times. This is a good time to catch up on routine tasks that have slipped behind or get ahead on your work.
Sources: Kokoszka, S. (2014). The ONE Thing Workshop, OREA Real Estate College (2009). A Mentoring Kit for New Salespeople: Training For Success. http://bit.ly/17Y1Cey