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to_do_listsHow often do you look at your growing to-do list at the end of the day and exclaim, “Where did the day go?!” If you’re like many real estate professionals, you’d love to fill your day with the activities you do best—showings, meetings with clients and lead generation. However, it’s easy to get sidetracked by the unexpected or get so wrapped up in time-consuming activities that you never get around to doing the important tasks that drive your business forward. Although you may be busy, you’re not as productive as you want to be, leaving you feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and on the verge of burnout.

Break the cycle! These time-tested, proven tips will help you make each day more productive than the last. Get off the road to Burnout City and reclaim your time and productivity with these ten tips.

  1. Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize! Many of us add tasks to our to-do lists without taking into account the importance of each task on the list in relation to the others and to what we value. Once you know what you value, you’re better prepared to rank your tasks, putting the most important ones at the top.
  1. Create a flexible schedule. Abiding by a schedule helps to ensure that you make the most of your day. However, it’s also important to keep it flexible. Once you’ve outlined your priorities and planned your day, be sure to include an hour of wiggle room to handle any fires that may spring up during the day, work on professional development or just take a breather.
  1. Pinpoint one task. What has to get done today no matter what?Often, the most important things on our daily to-do lists are pushed aside when unexpected tasks come up or less important tasks take longer than expected. Pinpoint the one thing that absolutely, positively HAS TO get done, and don’t let anything prevent you from completing it.
  1. Focus. Although multitasking was all the rage a decade ago, new research has shown that when you try to do too much at once, you accomplish less. That’s because none of the tasks have your full attention, which often leads to errors and may even force you to do the task again to correct any mistakes. Get it right the first time by focusing your attention on one thing at a time.
  1. If it’s easy, do it first. Some people swear that tackling the most difficult or dreaded task first is the best way to start your day. However, these tasks tend to zap your time and energy, leaving you too tired or frustrated to complete the rest of the tasks on your list. Instead, start your day with a slam dunk by completing the easiest task first. Crossing something off of your list right away boosts your confidence and sets you up for success for the rest of the day.
  1. Break it up. Do you have a difficult or time-consuming task on your list that drives you into a state of panic or dread whenever you think of it? When you feel overwhelmed by a huge task, break it into smaller, more manageable pieces. Dividing it up allows you to focus your time, attention and energy on each component so that the overall task is easier to finish.
  1. Time-block your day. It’s become a badge of honor to work hard all day with no breaks from the moment you arrive at your desk to when you go home for the evening. After all, that’s what the most productive people do, right? Not at all. Productive professionals have nailed the art of working smarter, so that instead of feeling burned out at the end of the day, they feel refreshed.

Take a page from the pros: Studies show that the brain can only focus on an activity for between 60 and 90 minutes. Dividing your day into 90-minute blocks helps you to take advantage of the natural focus rhythms of your brain. At the end of 90 minutes, take a short break to regroup and recharge your mind before you tackle the next task on your list.

  1. Set deadlines. Make sure a task gets done by giving it a deadline, especially if you tend to let tasks travel from one day’s to-do list to the next. Instead of letting it drift indefinitely, give it an expiration date and get it done once and for all.
  1. Outsource. If you’re avoiding certain tasks because you don’t have time or you’re just not good at them, delegate them to someone else, like an assistant or a professional who focuses on those tasks. For example, if finances aren’t your strength, hire a financial professional to handle them for you.
  2. Wait to check your email. Instead of beginning your day with a barrage of messages, unexpected tasks, questions and the like, delve into your proactive lead generating activities. Your energy and focus tend to be highest in the morning, making it the best time to dive into the activities that truly drive your business. Remember, your email messages will still be waiting for you later in the day.

Boost your productivity with our helpful infographic, 10 Rules of Productivity for Real Estate. Download it, print it and post it where you’re sure to see it for a quick shot of motivation each and every day!

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