PICTURE THIS: Your sales pipeline is full of hot prospects, referrals are pouring in, and you’re on target to meet or exceed your goals for the quarter. It sounds like a dream come true, but what about the flip side? When business is thriving, you’re likely also faced with an overflowing email inbox, a jam-packed calendar, long hours, and an overall higher demand on your time and energy.
This year’s homebuying season is already bustling with activity, and it’s likely to only get busier this summer. How can you juggle the extra demands while performing at your best? Use these productivity tips to help you stay focused, efficient, and motivated during peak times.
When your schedule is overloaded, you can’t expect to operate the same way you do during slower periods. Recognizing this and adjusting accordingly will help you avoid disappointment from yourself and others. That may require hiring temporary help or an intern to offset some of the load. Also, consider communicating to customers and partners that you’re experiencing a higher volume of activity and that it may affect response or turnaround times. Of course, you don’t want to scare them off, so connect them with an assistant or teammate that they can contact if you’re unavailable. Most importantly, remember that it’s better to under-promise and over-deliver.
Knowing in advance what’s on your plate for the next day or week gives you a chance to prepare mentally. At the end of each week, look ahead at the next week so you know what’s coming. Do the same before you close up shop each day by creating a task list for tomorrow. The few extra minutes you spend planning will ensure you can hit the ground running and avoid surprises. It will also allow you to shift your thoughts away from work at the end of the day, so you’re not spending all night worrying about who to call tomorrow or what items you might have missed.
With multiple priorities to balance, it can be tempting to work on multiple tasks at once. You might think you’re saving time by checking email while chatting on the phone with a client, but you’re just making your brain work harder and providing more opportunities for error. Research has proven that multitasking is impossible. The human brain can only focus on one task at a time, so the idea of doing multiple things at once only results in your being more distracted and less productive. When working on a project, eliminate distractions and set aside specific times to check email, make phone calls, respond to texts, and catch up on social media.
It’s easy to say, “hold yourself accountable,” but few of us have the discipline to do that on our own. That’s why we need external guardrails to keep us in check. Perhaps that means enlisting an accountability partner, such as a colleague or supervisor, with whom you can share your goals and deadlines and conduct regular check-ins. Or maybe it’s taking advantage of digital tools and automation to manage important milestones, like configuring your CRM to alert you when it’s time to follow up with a client or when you’re approaching a deadline. But accountability also means creating boundaries for yourself. If other people’s urgent matters always seem to take precedence over your own, practice saying no to help protect your time and avoid derailing your goals.
Working in a dull environment is not only bad for productivity but also downright disheartening. Try making some improvements to your personal workspace by adding plants or repositioning your desk near a natural light source. One study found that office greenery can boost productivity by 15%, not to mention other benefits like purifying the air and reducing stress. Speaking of stress, remember to take care of yourself. Eat well, get enough sleep, stay active, and commit to having a life outside of work. Avoid burnout so you can give your best to your customers, your team, and yourself.