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Spring Cleaning

by Joeann Fossland, PMN

The Top 10 Areas To Propel The Next Quarter

Sprin CleaningAfter burrowing in for winter, you may find yourself surrounded by clutter. Even those of us in warmer climates can benefit from the yearly ritual of spring cleaning to start fresh by throwing out the old and making space for the new.

And it is not limited to the physical space. Spring cleaning is good for every part of your life. Your databases are your daily working capital and the foundation of your business. Are they up to date or cluttered? Your body is the vehicle through which you get things done. Does it need some fine tuning?

It may sound a bit "woo-woo," but when you work "in the flow" without resistance to what's around you, you become able to almost effortlessly attract what you really desire and focus on that. Having the space for this to come to you is part of the equation. A good spring cleaning can free up that space.
Let's start with the top 10 spring cleaning "dust bunnies:"

1. Your office files. Are your file drawers stuffed? It's difficult to add new business when there's literally no room. Start today: clean out, throw out or store. Put one to two hours on your calendar per week to tackle this until it is finished. Better yet, continue to become paperless so you have fewer and smaller file folders.

2. Your client database. Your client database should be segmented and up to date, with current emails, phone numbers and mailing addresses. Create three lists. Begin with a short list of those 20 percent of clients who give you 80 percent of your referrals. These are the people who are your biggest supporters and with whom you'll form the deepest relationships.

Next, there are the people you want to stay in touch with less often but still regularly. Finally, there are the "suspects" and long-term potential clients. If you aren't managing this data well, you are doing your business a disservice. If you ever want to retire and sell your business, this is valuable information.

3. The trouble-makers. As you segment your databases, be sure to weed out the jerks. Life is definitely too short to deal with major personality clashes or work with people who treat you miserably. You don't need them.

4. Your systems. Systems are critical to effective time management. You must review and tweak your systems annually and create new ones when necessary. Examine which systems need fine tuning. How can you use what you already have developed to bring your service to a higher level? Any opportunity to automate or make these systems more seamless can be a big boon.

5. Your bad habits. What gets in the way of you doing your best? Do you procrastinate? Refuse to delegate? Let the clutter render you time-challenged?

Make a list of the bad habits to zap this year or the things you should stop doing. Then choose one each month and upgrade the way you operate. For instance, in March do not let a piece of paper cross your desk without filing, tossing or taking action on it. Once you manage your awareness of the negative behavior and make a change, after about three weeks you will have formed a new habit. Imagine if you could accomplish that 12 times this year.

6. Your stuff. Clutter drains your energy and makes you feel more tired. Maybe you need a professional organizer to come in to your workplace and get you squared away. Whatever it takes, make the effort to clear the clutter and free up that space in 2013.

7. Your attitude. Sometimes our attitude needs some spring cleaning, too. Imagine when you take down the storm windows and put in the screens. You let the fresh air in. In the same way, your thinking may need an adjustment. Sometimes letting go of one belief can truly create more joy in your life.

An example is my previous belief that "you have to work hard to be successful." That belief put a lid on my vision and goals, because I believed I would have to sacrifice quality of life and fun if I wanted to attain a really big goal. I've learned there are other ways to succeed.

Maybe you too have limited yourself because you believed something to be true that was, in reality, just one way of looking at it. Every place in life that you find limitations or roadblocks, examine what "rule" you might have made up that keeps you stuck in that place. What other "rule" might work while still maintaining your personal values? It's always helpful to examine what "rules" are utilized by the truly successful individuals in our field. Hint: ask them. Must successful professionals are open to sharing philosophies and supporting others in the industry.

8. Your desk. If you can, change the way it faces or its location. Give yourself a fresh point of view in 2013.

9. Your equipment. Are you tolerating technology that needs replacing or upgrading? Examine your budget, make a list and determine when to replace the less efficient equipment. Even though this costs money, there are likely savings of time or other resources to offset the investment. Or maybe, it is what will take you to the next level in your business by the differentiation it will provide. This would include a spring cleaning of your Internet marketing and website. A great question to ask: "If I doubled my business this year, where would the bottlenecks be?" Then upgrade there.

10. Your listings. Do you have listings that are costing you money, which are not likely to sell? One reason that top producers are successful is because they don't try to work with every client. They skim the cream. If you are busy trying to keep a seller happy whose expectations are out of whack, you don't have time to expand your business opportunities.

Now get started, and create an "existence system" (perhaps in Evernote), where you can implement the steps that will give you a fresh outlook for spring and take you into the best summer of your career. Also, I have developed a checklist to help you take care of the things that drain energy. It's called "Strong Foundation" and is available here. Now, get to work and make some decisions on ridding yourself of those dust bunnies.

Joeann FosslandJoeann Fossland, GRI, PMN, has 30 years of experience in real estate as an agent, marketing expert, international speaker, trainer and personal coach. Her gift is helping people be wildly productive while living lives they love. She was recognized by a Stefan Swanepeol poll as one of the "Top 25 Most Influential Women in Real Estate." You can subscribe to her free "Tuesday Tips," attend "Fossland's Forums" and free monthly tele-seminars and find out about classes delivered by e-mail and personal coaching by visiting her website. Her email is joeann@joeann.com. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.

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