The Art of Focusing Yourself and Your Business
By Clifford Hockley, CPM, CCIM
SVN Bluestone, Principal Broker
If your desk is like mine, it might be a little cluttered. You probably have many ideas driving through your brain at Mach One and are valiantly trying to hold onto those ideas and tasks, while the phone is ringing, and your team members are asking you questions. If you are not like me, your desk is spotless, everything is in its place, and you track all of your to-do items every day and you probably don’t need to read this article.
My motivation for writing this article stems from a client I consulted with. We had a very successful relationship; our work together increased his business significantly. He asked for weekly accountability meetings to keep the momentum going. Unfortunately, he stopped showing up because he could not remember our appointment times and was scheduling other meetings over them. His time management and organizational calendaring skills needed improvement.
Ambition and Competitiveness
If you are the ambitious type and thrive on competition you may have the natural born drive that motivates you from day to day. You might think that Maslow’s “hierarchy of needs” would be motivation enough, food, water, shelter, safety, love and belonging, self-respect, recognition, and self-actualization (*), but for many folks, some of these motivators might be buried, or even inaccessible.
Not everyone is a driven athlete or Wall Street whiz kid, or dynamic leader. Many of us are farmers that plant the seeds and wait for the plants to grow. We have different temperaments and motivation levels that drive our lives. To level the playing field, many calendaring and planning tools are available to help us be more successful. Computers and cell phones have integrated many of these, and we can buy Apps that can also give us more flexibility and help keep us accountable.
The Daily Focus
Our daily focus is the most difficult. This is most easily managed with a calendar and setting appointments for tasks and meetings. Unfortunately, this does call for regular planning to set and follow the appointments, but with some drive to reach your goals, this is accomplishable for most of us. The most challenging part of this is that one must plan tasks ahead and get up every morning and look at the calendar. Your employment situation will help guide your planning.
Planning ahead is the lynchpin of successful time and project management. This may seem natural for you, but the key to success is to actually take the time to plan ahead. This means understanding your role and taking control of your direction.
What is your goal?
Do you have a vision for your business, investments, or your job? This can be difficult to articulate for many people. Here are some examples that might be helpful.
Some can be simple, such as:
- Be the developer of solid, clean, and safe multifamily properties for families, or
- Be the best financial analyst in the company with the fastest turnaround, or
- Build my investment portfolio to $10,000,000 over 15 years.
Or they can be more complicated, such as growing our property management company organically by annually increasing our revenues by 15%. Or more focused, such as increasing our real estate assets 15% annually in Bend, Oregon by purchasing older class C medical properties and remodeling them to a class B condition generating a 20% return.
As you can see any of these could be a reasonable vision for a person or a company. Is this overkill? Too much planning?
My position is that if you know where you are going you are going to get there. If you let emails, incoming telephone calls, and other people’s priorities run your day, not much of what you or your company want to achieve will be accomplished.
This all sounds simple, but if it were, my consulting client would have done it. His excuse was “I am too busy “. As a result, he was too busy to meet and plan how to improve his time management and increase his company’s growth and income. I encourage you to take time every week to focus on your weekly goals so you can manage your calendar. Plan” think time” to create value.
Too many meetings? Start negotiating a reduction in your meeting schedule, so you can be more effective and open up your calendar. This will lead to an uncluttered desk and mind.