October 1, 2013 Josh Cantwell (3) Distractions are all around us, and can completely derail even the best plans or intentions. The problem is there are so many things competing for our attention these days, so it’s important to understand how to put distractions aside and increase your productivity as much as possible. It’s not easy and takes some practice, but once you really commit to making the change and taking certain steps, you’ll find your new changes have become productive habits. Below I outline the top eight things that I have implemented in my own personal life and business to overcome distractions and increase productivity. Believe me, it took some work and required some changes that initially were not natural, but with time, I was able to see real results and find I was accomplishing more in less time. Compartmentalize Your Life – Break down parts of your business, personal life into different compartments or departments. Once you do that, create systems for things that are done over and over again; group like-tasks together. By doing this, you’re diminishing the possibility of bouncing from one thing to the next. Then you can address each thing at specific times or days. For example, as a real estate investor, I have the following compartments: Marketing to generate seller and buyer leads. Sales – face-to-face appointments with buyers and sellers to acquire properties/sell properties. Loss mitigation for short sales. Raising private money to fund deals. Finance and accounting – can be further divided into projecting cash flow, AR/AP, inventory, managing expenses, etc. Recruiting and bringing in talent. Set Appointments or Time Blocks to deal with individual items. Now I have all of my meetings on Tuesdays and Fridays. This frees up the other days for revenue-producing activities or to implement the ideas I’ve created. So I have two days a week as a buffer day and three as a focus day – free days where I do nothing but work. Avoid Distractions – The things that take up your attention and time – can be email, random meetings, phone calls, TV, radio, push notifications, etc. Completely avoid those things as much as possible. If you’re in the middle of something, don’t turn to those things that are interruptions to your productivity. There is a really interesting article about how email is a productivity-killer, even equating it to marijuana use – check it out here: http://www.entrepreneurs-journey.com/7277/is-email-a-bigger-productivity-killer-than-marijuana-uk-study-says-yes/ . Embrace Random Ideas, But Have A Place To Download Those Ideas – Random ideas can be invaluable, but you need to have a place to jot them down so you don’t lose them. You won’t necessarily be taking action on them right away. I use a tool called Basecamp (www.basecamp.com). One of the biggest problems someone can have is constantly taking action on ideas and taking action right away. I believe people can only handle 2 major things at a time. If focus on more, you will sub-optimize them. Work on the first idea until that task is complete. Check and recheck your priorities and make that a habit. Don’t bounce around; it’s better to focus on one thing at a time. Avoid Face-To-Face “Got-A-Minute” Meetings. If there is something that needs to get done, we encourage everyone to wait until their scheduled meeting and instead focus on productivity. Eliminate Leeches – Eliminate the things from your life that are not allowing you to move forward – business commitments, associations, and commitments that doesn’t give you satisfaction but you got roped into. It’s ok to say no to things that are not part of your big reason. Make fewer commitments – Focus on what is really important and will make the biggest difference. Don’t be afraid to say “no” to things that will take up your valuable time or remove you from revenue producing activities. Understanding Your “Big Why” – Knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place. If you understand this and you’re dead-set on accomplishing whatever it is, then it becomes easier to eliminate distractions and use a laser focus on what’s most important to you. You can then eliminate distractions. Do you know why you’re doing what you’re doing every day? What is your driving motivation and reasons behind the actions and tasks you work on every day? This applies not only to your work life and decisions, but to your personal life as well. What is your “Big Why?” Recently I had the opportunity to really examine my own “Big Why,” and the result was a tremendous breakthrough for my business and personal life. I did this by really focusing on three big questions. I spent a long time on these three questions, and the insight I gained will drive my decisions and actions from this point forward. That’s how profound my insights were. So here are the three questions I asked myself: If you only had one week to live and could not tell anyone that you only had one week to live, what would you do in those seven days? If you only had one year to live and could not tell anyone that you had one year to live, what would you do in those 12 months? If you only had 10 years to live and couldn’t tell anyone about that time, what would you do in those 10 years? Think about how you would answer each question in terms of your personal life, finances, business, relationships, etc. Be honest with yourself. Write down your answers and truly focus on what is the most important thing you should be doing each and every day. I guarantee you that your insight will prove to be invaluable and will guide how you live each day. To hear even more about increasing your productivity and really focusing your attention and actions on your priorities, watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcG52cYhuQI . This is advice anyone can use – whether you’re a real estate investor or just looking for ways to increase your productivity and personal growth. If you’re ready to make a change and focus on growing your own real estate investing business, visit http://www.acceleratedinvestor.com today.