While some agents hang around the office cooler and follow the herd, smart agents are developing peak performance skills and adding more flexibility to their lives.
It all starts with your home office.
Old school brokers still promote office space, water coolers and floor-time. But, hanging around lack-luster competitors throughout the day will never make a top agent.
“Focus your career on flexibility and fulfillment.”
Here are 10 great commandments for successfully working from home.
Develop a set schedule. Keep a schedule for work-time and home-time and don’t let one intrude on the other. Many agents lose productivity running personal errands. Separating business from pleasure will keep you focused and everyone in your home will be happier. Also, it’s easy for friends to infringe on your flexibility. It’s easy for friends to forget the “employed” part of “self-employed.” Plan your business goals, home tasks and social meetings in advance to stay productive in all areas of life.
Earn flexibility. Once you’ve completed your task list, reward yourself with some flexibility in your day – it’s one true benefit of not clocking-in at an office.
Prioritize your clients by their needs not their demands. Not all clients are equal. Some clients clamor for attention and expect you to be available 24/7. Keep certain time slots for listing and showing homes and train clients to fall into that schedule. You can always adjust as needed. Read the post When To Fire A Buyer to learn how to prioritize clients.
Get dressed. Research shows that what we wear affects our frame of mind. Show up at your home office dressed and ready to work at your scheduled time.
Dress your office too. Not only do your clothes affect your frame of mind, so do your surroundings. Set aside a dedicated place for work. Make sure all your files and supplies are nearby and organized. And make it comfortable and stylish too. (TAX NOTE: Having a separate, dedicated home office space can be helpful come tax time.)
Set up your computer so you don’t waste time on the Internet. Even office-dwellers waste time at their desk checking personal email and surfing the web.
Master the cloud. Become friends with Dropbox, Evernote and other cloud services. It makes working remotely a breeze.
Change your venue every now and then. While I prefer to do most of my work from my home office, every now and then I like to go to a coffee shop or the big lake to work – just to remind myself that I can.
Clock-out. One potential pitfall of working from home is there is no set “quitin’ time”. There will always be another email in your inbox. Use your imagination to flip the switch, shut off the “OPEN” sign and walk away.
Get social. Never allow yourself to become isolated in your home office. Get out. Get coffee. Get lunch. Spend time with friends. In fact, the envy they will feel for your independence will continue to motivate you!
What’s your home office “must have”? Please comment about how you stay focused.