So, to be completely honest, I can’t remember the last vampire movie I watched. I think it was either Interview With A Vampire or The Lost Boys. But, because it seems like vampires are all the rage these days, I shamelessly decided to try to capitalize on Google keywords to gain blog views. Don’t judge me.
This post is really about time wasters that figuratively suck the blood out of your business and potential. There are a lot of them out there and everyone has their own personal demons (I like naps), but here are 5 common productivity thieves that you can avoid.
1) Other Agents
I’m a little conflicted about this one because it is also really easy to feel isolated out there, especially when you office from home. That being said, office time shouldn’t be social hour. There’s constructive talk about your business, any challenges you’re facing, successes you’ve had, etc., but then there’s the talk about plans for the weekend, last night’s Bachelorette, or whatever else. There’s nothing wrong with having those conversations, but be sure to recognize it when you’ve gone on a little too long and make yourself get back to work.
2) Not Setting Expectations
This is mostly directed at how we, thinking we are being nice and providing a service, fail to set strong expectations with our clients. The result is that we spend an inordinate amount of time making up for it. That same time could be used for prospecting and growing your business. More importantly, and this is my own opinion, I have found that people, especially those in emotionally charged situations, respect having guidelines set for them and will be more satisfied at the end of the day.
3) Virtual Friends, Email, and Ringing Phones
We’ve discussed this one before (click here), but it would be an interesting experiment to log the amount of time, during work hours, that we spend on social media, email, and on the phone when we should be doing something else. It is ok, as long as you’ve set proper expectation (see what I did there?), to turn your phone off, shut down your email, and (insert audible gasp here) close your Facebook tab in your browser. Return calls and emails at certain, previously scheduled points during the day. You’ll be amazed at how much more productive you are.
How much time do you spend behind the wheel? I will preface this by saying that this is not an endorsement of doing anything that puts you in danger while driving. Be smart. With that out of the way, what are you doing while driving that helps build your business? Short of pulling a Tom Ferry move and hiring an assistant/driver, you can use the time on the road to get some business done. Make and return calls (using your hands-free tech, of course), make audio notes and to-do lists, or even use the time to listen to developmental podcasts or books.
5) Your Family/Actual Living Friends
I saved this one for last because I knew it would get a reaction but I’m sure you’ll get the point. Of course you need to have a work/life balance, that’s a no-brainer. You’re family is, obviously, still extremely important. The point here is that there tends to be a mentality among agents’ family members that, because they work from home a lot, agents are free to do whatever needs to be done at home. Whether it’s watching a sick kid every time they’re sick or just some light chores and errands, it is important to set expectations (yep, did it again) with spouses, kids, and friends that you have a full-time gig and need to work accordingly.
Now, back to horrible references to vampires. The wooden stake through the heart of these “vampires”, whether on this list or not, is in your hand. Don’t be afraid to confront them, hang garlic around the office, splash some holy water on your face, and get bat to work. Ok, that last one was a stretch. I swear I’m done.