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| 6 minute read

How To Be A More Productive Real Estate Agent By Monotasking

Sammy Harper Mar 10, 22

The Problem With Multitasking

When we're busy, it's tempting to try to multitask. We want to optimize our time and get as much done in our day as we possibly can.

But here's the problem with multitasking: our brain isn't capable of focusing 100% on more than one thing at a time. What we call "multitasking" is actually "task switching"—shifting our attention back and forth between two or more different tasks. Those attention shifts break up our flow and reduce our productivity by 40%.

Many researchers argue that we should give up multitasking and dedicate ourselves to a life of monotasking—focusing our attention on just one task at a time. Other experts recognize that going cold turkey isn't realistic, and that there are some instances in which we can allow ourselves to multitask.

In this blog post, we'll figure out when it's okay for real estate agents to do a little multitasking, and when it's best to monotask. We'll also look at some tips for honing your monotasking skills.

When It's Okay To Multitask

According to neuroscientist Adam Gazzaley, we should save our multitasking for "low-level tasks that require minimal attention, aren't mission-critical, and are boring."

So if there's a podcast you've been wanting to leisurely listen to—one where it doesn't matter if you drift off or miss what they're saying—pop in your earbuds and vacuum your floors while you listen. You could even squeeze in some extra script practice (as long as you also have a more focused practice session scheduled) while you dust your house or go for a walk.

Multitasking has its place, but most of the time, we should be monotasking.

How To Be A More Productive Real Estate Agent by Monotasking

In a world full of distractions, it's important to arm yourself with strategies for staying focused. Here are a few of my favorites:

1) Make a list of your top distractions. Common workday distractions include email, social media, conversations with co-workers, meetings, chatting on a messaging app, checking a dating app, watching videos, and—when working from home—children. 

When you identify your own most common distractions, you can begin to take action against them. Turn your phone to Do Not Disturb mode, use a tool like AppDetox to manage your impulsive Facebook-checking, block off time on your shared calendar for when you're not available for meetings or interruptions, and hang a sign on your home office door to let your kids know when they can and can't come in.

Even if any of the distractions from your list break through your defenses, you'll be able to recognize them for what they are, send them on their way, and get back to work.

2) Batch-check emails and other messages. Instead of responding to each new message the moment it arrives, try email batching. Create several 30-minute time blocks on your calendar that are totally dedicated to handling your emails, social media messages, text messages, and office chats.

To reduce the amount of incoming emails that you need to respond to, you can set up an auto-responder. In most robust CRMs (such as Firepoint or Realvolve), you can create an email or SMS text message template that will automatically respond to your online real estate leads.

3) Prioritize tasks. It will be easier to focus on the task at hand if you know it's the most important work you could possibly be doing. Make a list of all of your duties, then highlight the ones that are most important for accomplishing your long-term business goals. Get your top priorities on your calendar, then figure out how to delegate or automate what doesn't fit.

4) Ease yourself into monotasking by following the 20-minute rule. If you're a lifelong multitasker, start small by committing to several 20-minute time blocks scattered throughout your day. During each 20-minute block, try to stay 100% focused on a single task. Over time, work your way up to longer monotasking time blocks.

5) Set tight deadlines. The urge to multitask often stems from impatience. We can't stand the thought of spending too much time on a single task. Productivity expert Peter Bregman suggests harnessing that impatience by giving ourselves unrealistically tight deadlines: "If you really only have 30 minutes to finish a presentation you thought would take an hour," he says, "are you really going to answer an interrupting call?"

The Benefits of Monotasking

When you stop multitasking and start monotasking, you'll get your work done in a shorter amount of time. You'll make fewer mistakes. You'll be a better listener, picking up on nuances and getting a better understanding of your clients' wants and needs. You'll experience breakthroughs and come up with creative solutions to problems. You'll get better at being fully present, both at work and at home. 

Imagine a life where you're less glued to your phone, more present in each moment, and 40% more productive as a real estate agent. Give monotasking a try, and see where it takes you.

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About Sammy Harper

Sammy Harper is a content writer at Firepoint & Realvolve. Her nine years of digital marketing experience include SEO, email marketing, social media, and blogging. Fascinated by the real estate indust...

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