Scott’s Thoughts: Important Actions First

Ernest Hemingway

Papa Hemingway, telling you how it is.

“Never mistake motion for action.”

Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899 — July 2, 1961) American author

Most agents and entrepreneurs I consult with have a mile-long list of things the need to do. Their lists are populated with major initiatives and minor hassles, from strategic planning to lightbulbs that need changing. It’s one of the side effects of running your own show: With all of the control comes all of the responsibility (however small).

The fatal error I see agents make over and over is gravitating towards the quick, small tasks that are easy to get out of the way instead of focusing on the truly important “first” tasks. It can feel good to send a few email messages and knock off a few minor errands, but often these actions aren’t the sort of thing that grow a business or move agents forward.

What’s worse, most of these low-priority demands are handled first thing in the day, when agents’ are well-rested and at their best for challenging work. Rather than use this focus and energy to tackle a complex initiative that will have a big impact on business down the line, they opt for the “easy kill.” It may feel productive, but it’s not producing.

I urge agents to spend at least one or two mornings a week tackling a priority task before they check their email, Facebook, or Twitter. It’s amazing how much you can get done if you delay the urgent and focus on the important. While it’s true that client communication should be a priority in any professional, service-oriented industry like real estate, there’s probably little harm in alotting one or two sessions a week for distraction-free work.

Prioritize your list. Find one project which you think is of paramount importance, then commit to working on that project first thing at least one day a week. After a month, look back and ask yourself: Did I really miss out on anything by delaying my communication an hour or two once a week? How much did I accomplish that I might not have otherwise?

Let nothing stand in your way (especially yourself!).

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