Exploiting Your Productivity Sweet Spot To Increase Production
By Amber De La Garza
Like many ambitious real estate professionals, you likely get caught up from time to time spending entire days engaging in fruitless activities that don’t make you money. Perhaps more often than you’d care to admit. You could be kept busy by administrative tasks, distractions, interruptions, and scrolling MLS the entire day and not move the needle forward in your business at all. That’s no way to increase your production and manage a successful business. Productivity is a choice you must make consistently if you want to see dramatic results. Busy, fruitless days need to become once-in-a-blue-moon occurrences and productive days your new norm.
For that to happen, you must be intentional with your time by exploiting your productivity sweet spot – the combination of factors that make you most productive. You will get far better results working in your productivity sweet spot for only two hours each day when compounded over time, than working eight hours each day haphazardly and unproductively. Consistently choosing to honor your unique rhythms, staying authentic to who you are, and following a schedule in alignment with your energy levels and natural tendencies will help you show up as your best self for the high-value activities that will help you reach new heights in your business. Focus on these important components to most effectively exploit your productivity sweet spot:
Your Natural Tendencies
Time management experts may tell you the “early bird gets the worm” which is true for many people but not necessarily for you. If you must fight an uphill battle to be a morning person, you’re only setting yourself up for failure because you’re battling against your natural tendencies and messing with your mindset. Don’t fight who you are. If you’re naturally a night owl and get your best work done when everyone else is asleep, own it, and stop giving yourself grief.
Winston Churchill, one of the most successful and productive leaders of all time, took a two-hour nap every day while others continued working. He said this “siesta” allowed him to get one and a half days’ worth of work out of every 24 hours. Churchill was a self-proclaimed night owl and often worked through the night. In fact, he sometimes held war cabinet meetings while taking a bath. Why? He leaned into his natural tendencies which enabled heightened productivity.
Your Working Environment
Similar to the hours people work, your working environment is not a one-size-fits-all solution either. It’s worth doing some trial and error to determine where and how you work best depending on the types of projects and tasks you’re working on. Perhaps you best prepare for listing appointments in your noise-free, private office but need the hustle and bustle of a loud coffee shop to get your creative juices flowing while brainstorming business ideas. Don’t just plan when and on what you’re going to work, but also where you’re going to work. Reviewing contracts at the kitchen table may be convenient until your teenagers get home at 4 o’clock and their chatter prevents your focus. Perhaps retire to a less public space just prior to their noisy entrance so you can finish reviewing your contracts with the utmost focus, then give your kids your full attention.
Also, consider your actual workspaces. Do your desk and chair promote good posture so you’re not in pain come lunchtime? Does your office provide ample natural light that improves your mood? Are your frequently used files and supplies within arm’s reach? Is your workspace messy or clean? Some creatives claim a messy desk inspires their ideas while others would not be able to function with visible paper clutter distracting them, beckoning their attention. Design your ideal work environment to promote focus and productivity, not hinder it.
Your Time Blocks
Tools like the Pomodoro Technique are popular because most people work best in short bursts of focused energy. That specific technique trains you to focus for 25-minute periods, followed by five-minute breaks. Just as athletes train their muscles to do a repetitive exercise, if you have trained yourself to focus for longer periods of time and require fewer breaks, great. What’s important is that you work for time blocks of optimal lengths for you. Honor the method you work best, whether that’s 25 minutes on/five minutes off, 90-minute blocks, or six-hour marathons. However, you work best, schedule those blocks of time and exercise self-discipline to ensure your high-value activities get done.
Your Energy Flow
When scheduling your time, be cognizant of your zone of genius and unique energy flow. If you’re not naturally a detail-oriented person, you should probably not be doing detailed tasks for lengthy blocks of time. That’s because such tasks will drain you of needed energy until your tank is empty. Alternatively, when you work in your zone of genius, tasks will fuel you and prompt energy to flow in the desired direction – toward you.
Different situations can act like energy-sucking vampires for some. If you’re an extrovert, you typically gain energy when engaging with other people. Such interaction lights you up and fuels you. If you’re an introvert, you generally feel depleted after engaging with others. When possible, switch off between energy increasing and energy decreasing tasks. Running on empty all day long is exhausting and unsustainable long term.
Exploit your productivity sweet spot to the greatest extent possible but beware of using it as an excuse. Sure, you may feel like sleeping 12 hours a day, watching re-runs of Friends, and working when the mood strikes, but that lifestyle would hardly be showing up as your best, most productive self in your business. Be true to yourself, not negligent.
Maybe you’ve determined you’re a night owl… who works best on a full stomach… in a private office… with a messy desk… while listening to classical music. Awesome! That’s your productivity sweet spot. Commit to settling right down into that productivity sweet spot whenever you’ve scheduled the time to work to reap the benefits.
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About the Contributor
Amber De La Garza is The Productivity Specialist! Amber is a sought-after coach, trainer, speaker, writer, host of the Productivity Straight Talk podcast, and creator of the S.T.O.P. Leverage Formula. She works with driven real estate professionals to execute actionable solutions to maximize profits, reduce stress, and make time for what matters most!