A few years ago, I almost became burnt out in my real estate career. I was working between 70 and 80 hours a week with zero time off, juggling a huge number of different tasks and responsibilities. I began to wonder, “How do higher-capacity people do it? How do they manage to juggle all these tasks?”
At this point, I took it upon myself to fly out and visit various high-capacity CEOs across the country. Studying their habits changed my life. What I found out is this: Multitasking is a lie. There are more efficient ways to handle your work.
Time and time again, studies have shown that there’s no effective way to do two things at once. When people multitask, they become vastly less efficient. In fact, multitasking itself isn’t real. What’s actually going on in our brain is something called switch-tasking, which is the act of quickly shifting focus back and forth between two tasks.
But when you’re switch-tasking, you’re wasting time. It takes a lot of effort for your brain to continuously refocus on different tasks. To demonstrate what I mean, there’s an experiment I’d like you to try. I want you to try saying the alphabet and counting to 26 at the same time. Before you do this, set a timer to see how long it takes you.
You’ll notice that as you do this, the two things can’t occur simultaneously. Instead, you end up saying things like “A, one. B, two. C, three…” and so on and so forth. And even though each task is simple on their own, it’s easy to become confused as you try to handle both at once.
After you’ve done this experiment, try timing yourself doing just one of these tasks. In terms of time spent, the difference between counting to 26 and saying the alphabet at the same time versus doing one after the other might surprise you.
Now, counting and saying the alphabet are both pretty simple. That being said, imagine how much more difficult it would be to perform two complex tasks at once. The point is that tasks are almost always completed more quickly when they are done one at a time.
Real estate is one of the few industries where professionals are expected to be experts in more than a dozen, separate skills. Agents are asked to be good at negotiating, marketing, photography, showing properties, setting schedules, budgeting, accounting, administrative tasks, and much, much more.
After being told to juggle all of these tasks, it’s no wonder that so many agents attempt to multitask. But as we’ve already seen, multitasking doesn’t work.
So, what can you do to plan your day in a way that avoids the need for multitasking? The key is using time blocking and activity chunking. Time blocking is the act of scheduling blocks of time for specific activities.Scheduling activities a week or a month in advance can help you develop a routine. When you devote certain blocks of time to specific tasks, you ensure that everything you need to do is given adequate effort and attention. Time blocking will also leave you with vacant spaces in your day, which can be used for appointments.
Managing your schedule through time blocking allows you to run your business, instead of letting your business run you.
Of course, certain activities must be done together. This is where activity chunking comes in. Activity chunking is when you put light activities together in time blocks.
Once you block out recurring events, divide your “to-do” lists across the blocks of time you have already designated for those activities. At the end of the week, the end of the month, and the end of the year, you’ll save a ton of time by following these tips.
If you have any other questions or would like more information, feel free to give me a call or send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.