We often hear agents brag about how busy they are and how multitasking is second nature. In my experience, multitasking isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Here are five ways focusing will make you a better agent.

The daily roadmap of a real estate agent can go down many twists and turns. One minute you might be calling expired listings, the next turn you are printing marketing materials, and just ahead, you are reviewing documents to prepare for a closing.

There are many different tasks to tackle, and though some might seem routine, it is important to give your undivided focus to everything that you do. We often hear someone brag they are great multitasker, but in my experience multitasking, also known as context switching, doesn’t work.

You might accomplish five different tasks, but you are not able to concentrate on each task you are doing. It is key to give your undivided attention to one job at one time and avoid all other distractions.

Your brain can only focus on one thing at one time. Researchers at Stanford University found people who multitask between different activities do not pay attention or control memory as well as those who prefer to complete one task at a time.

This was the outcome of putting 100 students through a series of three tests. If that does not sell you on the importance of focusing, I want to share a few ways it can help you in the real estate world.

Here are five ways focusing can help your real estate business:

1. Increase productivity

When you focus, you get more done, How many times have you set out to work on one task, and when you get an email, you press pause on the task at hand to tackle the email? Then it is soon the end of the work day before you realize you haven’t completed your first task.

A study by Microsoft found workers would spent an average of 10 minutes on switching between activities when they received an alert of an email or instant message. They spend another 10 to 15 minutes on average with the disrupted task before returning to the focused activity.

2. Reach goals faster

When you are able to focus on the things you need to accomplish, you can reach your goals faster. For example, if you dedicate an hour to following up with referrals and do nothing else, you will be able to get more phone calls and emails checked off.

More correspondence gives you a higher chance of securing a client. Gaining more clients helps you grow your business.

3. Builds confidence

Just like reaching your goals faster, focusing can bring you added confidence. If you gain more sales, more clients or even a better life-work balance, this provides a sense of accomplishment.

By reaching your goals, whatever it is you set out to do, brings a sense of pride, assurance and belief in yourself. Just think back to the first time you reached a goal, like selling your first home. Most likely, this brought a feeling of validity that made you feel more confident when it came time to sell home No. 2.

4. Learn faster and deeper

When you focus on one topic or task, you can learn more about that one subject. A study at the University of London found in addition to slowing you down, multitasking lowers your IQ.

Results showed participants who multitasked during cognitive tasks experienced IQ score declines that were similar to what they’d expect if they had smoked marijuana or stayed up all night. The study found IQ drops of 15 points for multitaskers, lowering their scores to the average range of an 8-year-old child.

5. Become above average

Focus on one subject, and you gain a wealth of knowledge; become the expert, and you can speak more about it than the real estate agent next to you.

If you were a buyer or seller looking for an agent, wouldn’t you rather have one with above-average skills? Of course. Remember when you dedicate time to one area, you can gain more knowledge and become better than your competition.

Don’t be a jack of all trades. Real estate agents may have to wear many different hats over the course of a transaction. But focus one task at a time. Dedicate a certain amount of time to one job.

Focus can be a powerful tool to get more done and grow your business. Next time you have many things to tackle, try to remember to focus.

Joshua Lybolt is president and co-founder of Lifstyl Real Estate. You can follow him on LinkedIn or YouTube.

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