Stop searching and start doing

I have read a lot of interesting posts so far this year about Evernote, OmniFocus, GTD, inbox zerogeneral productivity approaches, and now my friend Dan Gold is trying an experiment where he is going back to paper!.

When Mr Gold posted in Google Plus that he was trying this paper experiment and invited some of the productivity people to join him, I said no thanks, and good luck.

I touch so little paper these days I’m affraid if I went back to paper that I would break out in hives.

But based on his follow ups, he is having a lot of success with the paper system and it reminded me of something I have said before. There is no perfect system for everyone.

Just because I run my real estate business in Evernote does not mean you should or would want to. Just because I structure my day a certain way does not mean that is what will work best for you.

Some agents I talk to and help get into a system spend so much time thinking about things and trying to copy what others do that they forget the important thing.

Get the work done!

Stop overthinking it. This is not rocket science.

Here is what I suggest you do. If you are looking for a system that works for you read Getting Things Done, read some tips in this blog and other blogs about productivity then take the things that you think can work for you and create your own system.

Once you have a system, do it and keep doing it. Make it a habit. And if you find yourself getting on track and needing to get the habit back, there are good blog posts for that too.

There is no right and wrong way to do things. Do what works for you.

The perfect productivity system

Stop looking, it doesn’t exist.

I spent years and countless hours looking for the perfect systems to make my life more productive and organized in my real estate business.

The used dozens of task management, to-do, productivity systems. I was always looking for better ways to do things.

Don’t get me wrong, I still try many new programs when they come out and I still tinker, But that is mostly because I want to be able to talk intelligently about these services when I am talking at conferences, in classes and with consulting clients and working with real estate agents on growing their business.

What I want to stress to you is the constant search for a better program or app could be killing your productivity. 

For about a two year period my constant search for the ultimate, easiest to use, most powerful program out there kept me spinning my hamster wheel like crazy, but getting nowhere.

Simpler is better

One of my biggest discoveries was the more specific the app was for a certain function, the more advanced options it had, the less productive it actually made me.

An example would be a kick ass to-do list with great reminders, tons of features and more power than any other to-do app out there.

Sounds great right?  Well you are right it is.

My problem is this app with all these features made it more complex to use and on top of that all it did was manage my to-do list.

I would develop a great workflow system inside this app, but the systems I set inside the app were not transferable to my other programs.

End result 

The end result was me having a killer to-do list, a great system for managing my consulting clients, another great system for me managing my short sale negotiations, a yet another system for my prospect and even one more system for my transaction management.

So many great systems, none of which actually worked well together.

When I spent all day working in all these different programs I can’t tell you how many times a day I would jump from one, to another, to another and back again. I have to assume it was well over 100.

I don’t care how well you “think” you can multitask, the truth is you can’t. it took me many a moon before I finally accepted that as gospel truth.

So what’s the solution? 

Stop looking for the perfect apps and the perfect programs to manage things. Instead look for simple, flexible programs that are easy to use and can be customized to fit your workflow.

That is what I did with Evernote and why I wrote my Evernote real estate book.

I know, I know… I’m an Evernote fanboy. It doesn’t have to be Evernote it can be anything that works for you. Spend time figuring out ways to make less programs work in more ways and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

Spending to much time trying to become more productive with more programs will usually result in the opposite results.

KISS- Keep it simple stupid!

I have had people asking if I teach classes or do 1-on-1 consulting. The answer is yes I do both. If you are interested check out my speaking page and shoot me an email.


New systems should simplify your life

During my productivity journey, I have made one mistake too often. I spent too much time trying to get different systems working together.

There are dozens of killer apps out there. That doesn’t mean you should be using them all.

The issue becomes spending more time jumping back and forth between the apps and less time actually working.

What I have learned is it is much better to find one or two apps that are versatile enough to do multiple tasks, and are less for one specific function such as managing to-do lists.

What I want you to do is count how many programs and apps you are using during the day today. Write them all down then look at them.

Are there any that you use for one specific purpose that could be eliminated?

Are there any such as Evernote that you are not doing enough with?

Yes, I know there are exceptions. There are some industry specific programs such as MLS for agents, but stop looking for excuses and start looking how you can streamline your life and your work flow.

When you are looking at new programs and applications ask yourself one thing: will this really simplify my life or does it just cause my brain to shift gears every time I come to it for one specific reason?


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