Business Management

How to Minimize Distractions (& Maximize What You Get Done) in Your Work Day

Expertise: Personal Development, Real Estate Wholesaling, Real Estate Investing Basics
96 Articles Written
minimize-distractions

I recently wrote an article about “The 5 Inarguable Truths About Succeeding in Wholesaling,” and I’ve had an overwhelming response regarding the metrics we measure and why it is important to measure them. One thing I did want to integrate in that post but overlooked was the importance of daily targets.

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It amazes me how newbie and seasoned investors see the grand scheme of how their success will look but overlook the consistent daily process that needs to be developed and completed in order to reach those high aspirations. I would like to introduce what needs to be outlined daily to work more efficiently and effectively to reach your goals.

workday-productivity

A Simple Activity to Manage Distractions

Lack of time management is the leading killer of productivity, and if you are not managing how you use your time, you will lose it with nothing to show for it. I had to implement numerous things to ensure I manage my time wisely. I am a dreamer and a wonderer, as are most entrepreneurs, so working from home can be a challenge. I can become distracted by the littlest things.

Related: 4 Steps to Supercharge Your Productivity With Scrum Project Management

These small distractions, as incidental as they may seem, can make you lose focus tremendously. I utilize a daily processing sheet that helps me coordinate my activities. Some people like to use a to-do list or some form of checklist, and I’ve found these list can be useful, but often they are not as effective because they do not rank priority. Each day is highly important, so I rank the following the evening before:

  • Highest priority, highest impact activity
  • Highest income producing activity to focus on
  • Projects that support my weekly and monthly goals and objectives
  • People I need help or feedback from to accomplish today’s goals
  • Really important things that came up today
  • People I will contact today
  • Projects to work on if I have extra time

Once I have three activities under each heading at the end of the day, I rank myself from 1-10 on my level of focus and the tasks I was able to get accomplished. This is not as easy as it might seem because it can be rewarding if you get high marks and downright depressing if you get low marks. The great part about this is you know exactly what you did or did not do. Then I take it one step further and document what my distractions were for the day.

Distractions come in many different forms; for example, I was distracted because my iPhone was loosing wifi connection for some reason, and this distraction took 30 minutes of my day. I could have done a high priority or high income producing activity during that time. So this distraction possibly could have cost me money, but more importantly it cost me time.

productivity-tips

Eliminating the Inefficiency of Multitasking

This leads me to the inefficiency of multitasking. I am not a big advocate of multitasking. I’m sure many of you may think multitasking is essential to get as much done as possible. It is my belief when multitasking, you can only give a certain percentage of focus to each task. So essentially if you’re working on three tasks, you can only spread your 100 percent focus across these three things. Ask yourself, is giving 33.3 percent on an activity acceptable? Would you like for someone to give 33.3 percent of their focus to your business? Absolutely not, so why would you give less than 100 percent focus to each task?

I do have a great solution for the ultimate multitasker. My coach introduced me to the Pomodoro Technique, which is a time management method developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, seperated by a short five-minute break. The method is based on the idea that frequent breaks can improve mental agility. To maximize your mental capacity on a project, you will work 25 minutes and then break for five minutes. This helps you work at your optimal level on task.

Related: 7 Highly Actionable Tips to Help Your Productivity Soar This Year

It is important to focus on quality rather than quantity, as you can be more effective by doing one thing great versus five things subpar. As a wholesaler, the majority of the time your focus is to get a deal and everything that leads to getting a deal, i.e. marketing, vetting calls, setting appointments, and negotiating. It is understandable that in the beginning you have to master all areas; however, by using the methods listed above — daily processing sheets and pomodoros — you will become more focused and master your craft.

These are a few of the the time management tools and project management tools that I use.

Are there specific tools that you use that help you overcome a lack of productivity and minimize distractions?

Let’s develop a list of tools that we can all benefit from. Please provide insight.

Marcus Maloney is a value investor and portfolio holder of residential and commercial units. He has completed over $3.3 million in wholesale transactions. Currently, Marcus is a licensed agent who ...
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    Kim Martin Rental Property Investor from Wenatchee, WA
    Replied over 4 years ago
    What a great post Marcus. I am going to try that timer technique. I start with my most dreaded task first. Once that’s out of the way, I can usually breeze through the rest of the list.
    Marcus Maloney Wholesaler from Queen Creek, AZ
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Kim, Thanks for your input, that is a great idea get the project that is less inspiring and then its easy street from there. “Enjoying the Journey”
    Brandon Barnes Wholesaler from Columbia, South Carolina
    Replied over 4 years ago
    That is my biggest problem Kim! I will create a list of things to do and leave all the hard or dreaded tasks to the end. You have given me the motivation to knock those out first! Thank you!!
    Sonia Spangenberg
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Hello Marcus, great tips. I am really struggling with staying focused and properly prioritized. Your processing sheet looks like it would take some time to be able to implement efficiently for my part. It looks more like something that would slow me down. I do think I do that informally with my lists but if I had to make myself answer each of those questions and fill in three items for each I would get bogged down and distracted. I know me. For now I make a to do list and I just started a Tony Robbins “chunking” technique (grouping together information/related tasks, into ideally sized pieces, so they can be used effectively to produce the outcome you want without stress or shutdown). I find this helps with limiting the multi-tasking and maintaining focus. I do think I will put a timer in my office. That sounds helpful and easily doable. Thanks for your another one of your always thoughtful and helpful contributions.
    Marcus Maloney Wholesaler from Queen Creek, AZ
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Sonia, It’s not for everyone, there are many different strategies but the main thing is people to pick a strategy and consistently use it. If your system is working for you then by all means stick with it. Chunking is similar to the processing sheet so we are on the same track now that I think about it. Sounds as though you have a plan in place and that is one of the biggest steps. “Enjoying the Journey”
    Peter Mckernan Residential Real Estate Agent from Newport Beach, California
    Replied over 4 years ago
    That was a good article Marcus. It is always a matter of great self-awareness! In the case of the entrepreneur there needs to be a great sense of self-awareness. If there is not self-awareness, the method of time management is out the window and unproductive work transpires. As a wholesaler it sounds like you have captured the great ability to make it a point to cover all your bases as a time manager, and you are still fine tuning those skills, which is always good!
    Marcus Maloney Wholesaler from Queen Creek, AZ
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Peter, Its always a work in progress. Some days are better than others, but we have to refine and progress. Thanks for your input its always warranted. “Enjoying the Journey”
    Timothy F.
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I like the prioritizing. Sounds useful. One thing I’ve read plenty of times before but haven’t yet started doing is putting together my list the night before. Really need to get on that!
    Marcus Maloney Wholesaler from Queen Creek, AZ
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Timothy, Processing your day the night before is critical. It helps you visualize how your day will transpire and it helps you prepare for unforseen issues. Try it and see how your productivity increases. Thanks for reading. “Enjoying the Journey”
    Timothy F.
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I like the prioritizing. Sounds useful. One thing I’ve read plenty of times before but haven’t yet started doing is putting together my list the night before. Really need to get on that!
    Mary D. Rental Property Investor from Salem, NH
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Hi Thanks for this article! Struggle with time management. I make a list everyday BUT sometimes find myself going from the bottom up. I will use this method. I like the 25 minute timer. Lets see how productive I can be! Thanks again, Mary
    Brandon Barnes Wholesaler from Columbia, South Carolina
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Marcus, you make some great points! I have started to notice I wake up on my weekends and spend a whole day it seems trying to figure out what I want to do with my weekend, and by the time I get a game plan together the day is half over. Like you said planning the night before is key! I find I get easily distracted surfing the web and not really knowing what to focus on. That is easily my biggest flaw/problem. Your blog has really got my thinking more about managing my time, so thank you for you insight!!
    Christine Mwai Investor from Alabaster, Alabama
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Great article! I’ve seen that planning the day out the night before really helps… Working on sticking to the plan.