Virtual open houses, digital closings, conversations from behind face masks — what productivity looks like for real estate agents this summer covers new terrain for all of us. All June, Inman surveys the New Productivity: the tools, skills and insights needed to make it work now.
Finding ways to stay inspired and motivated during an uncertain time in our careers can be a challenge. One of the ways I’m tackling this challenge is by participating in a weekly mastermind group.
The group that I’m a part of is somewhat of a think tank collaborative, where each attendee is considered an expert in their own right, and as a group, we share, brainstorm and empower one another with strategies that help us move the needle in our business.
I think of this time as my weekly “empower and devour hour.” During a recent session, we tackled a few topics that affect many, if not all, real estate professionals whose workflow process has been adjusted or interrupted by COVID-19.
The real estate professionals in our diverse networking group are now finding themselves navigating a multitude of everyday hurdles that, if not handled correctly, could cause anyone to trip up and lose momentum.
In addition to being full-time career professionals, many of these folks have suddenly become homeschool teachers, daycare providers, house cleaners, home repair specialists, chefs, fitness directors, housekeepers and more — all thanks to the safe-at-home measures we’ve all been under due to COVID-19.
How many of you can relate? I think, in one way or another, we all can. So let’s take a look under the hood at three of our talking points. Hopefully you will find these tips valuable as you work to successfully navigate your workflow and productivity while working from home.
What motivates you?
- Working hard to pay for and/or afford your passions, hobbies and dreams
- Setting attainable goals and achieving them
- Consistency, efficiency and organization
- Helping others
- Being empowering
- Providing for family
- Learning from past mistakes
What trips you up?
- Wasting energy and spending too much time on the wrong things
- Overly competitive nature
- Feeling scatterbrained
- Lack of results after putting in effort
- Self-doubt and second-guessing oneself
- Unequal effort or energy put into tasks by all involved
- Being treated badly by others
What are some strategies to overcome these hurdles?
A necessary starting point is determining what the timeline of delivery or response needs to be. Some might even ask, “Do you want it done right now or done right?”
A useful tip from one of the group members, who has a long history in product development and programming, is to add “version No. 1,” “version No. 2,” etc. to the names of your files to track your progress.
2. Spending too much time on the wrong things
A useful strategy for trying to overcome the energy vortex is creating a daily schedule that consists of the following elements:
- Needs to be done as soon as possible
- Just popped up
It’s a good idea to make sure that what needs to be done is given top priority. Also, be sure to manually add the items to the “just popped up” category. That way, you can track your overall efforts and add in any ideas that pop up along the way so they can get tabled.
It’s reassuring to the brain when we data dump and give ourselves the assurance that we aren’t forgetting anything important and that we’re committing to get it done later. By simplifying our organization process, we prevent ourselves from accidentally derailing what could have been a very productive day. A great tool to help you move through this process is Wunderlist Pro.
3. Overly competitive nature
Recognizing that there are many other buckets that need to be filled each day will help you reframe this mindset. It’s so easy to allow the “squeaky wheel” to get oiled as much as necessary to make the noise stop.
However, in the process of soothing one person’s “squeak,” you may unintentionally derail five other people and their timelines. Evaluate your buckets at the start of each day, and visualize how much time, energy and effort you will need to give each to provide the best solutions for all.
4. Feeling scatterbrained
If you’re starting to feel overwhelmed and lose track of your laser focus, try stepping away from whatever it is you’re doing for at least five minutes. Whether it’s stepping outside to inhale some fresh air, making yourself a cup of tea, unrolling the yoga mat and doing a few stretches, or even just walking into the other room to do a big stretch and exhale.
Those five minutes will likely give you back hours in your day, and once you clear the brain fog, you’ll be able to roll up your sleeves and get back on track to continue crushing your goals.
5. Lack of results after putting in effort
So you’re plugging away and doing your due diligence, but you’re starting to burn out because you’re not getting your desired end result. If what you’re doing isn’t working, ask yourself what you haven’t tried yet, and start there.
Maybe that means adjusting the hours that you attempt that task, or maybe it means trying a different medium. If you’re not getting results by phone calls, try text. If that doesn’t work, try social media. If that doesn’t work, try handwritten notes.
6. Self-doubt and second-guessing oneself
It happens. We look around the room or look to see what our competition is doing, and we start to second-guess our own actions — or inaction.
Paying attention to what the competition is up to is not unhealthy in and of itself because it’s healthy to stay motivated and recognize useful actions. Once we start dwelling too much, however, is when things get sticky.
If you notice that a certain thought or scenario keeps reentering your mind, ask yourself the following question, “Is this thought helping me or hindering me?” If this reoccurring thought is helping you to come up with solid strategies and solutions that are helping you move the needle of success, then go ahead and allow the thought to stick around for a bit.
But if this thought is preventing you from moving forward, it’s time to let it go. Keep in mind that typically the thoughts that keep popping into our heads are from the past. We can’t change the past — we can only learn from it. So the only thing we really can do is focus on the things we can do today and what we want to do tomorrow.
That’s it. So if that thought is a hindrance, go ahead and let go of that pesky voice from the past — it’s only holding you back. Good riddance!
7. Unequal effort or energy put into tasks by all involved
Here’s the thing: We have to start by recognizing that not everyone has the same level of work ethic. Often, when we set our expectations of others based on the expectation we set for ourselves, we feel let down.
So, instead of holding that metric of self-expectation for everyone around us, what if we focused exclusively on what we can do with our own energy, effort and results — and nothing else? It’s like that old adage, “The only person you can control is you.”
8. Being treated badly by others
As much as you’d think this wouldn’t be a cause for concern, because we’re all adults, the reality is that, while we are all adults, we are all also human. As such, sometimes, the culmination of all of the hurdles mentioned above can lead to a level of intense frustration that could end up with one or all parties behaving poorly.
One of the best ways to navigate rocky terrain like that is to put yourself in that other person’s shoes before you react. Ask yourself why they might be reacting this way toward you.
When we ask ourselves this, the answer may reveal something about ourselves that we hadn’t noticed before or considered to be problematic. Even if it’s not inherently true, you need to think about how someone else might have perceived it that way.
This is a great starting point before deciding how to respond to a sticky situation. Often, if we can see (not necessarily agree with) someone’s perspective, it helps us to come to a workable solution that will prevent us from getting caught up in any unnecessary drama.
What about you? What common challenges do you find yourself facing as you are working from home during COVID-19? We’d love to hear what kind of hurdles you find yourself up against and some of the strategies you’ve utilized to jump over them without knocking anything down. Because after all — we’re all in this together!