5 Ways to Stay Focused And Be Profitable

When you work as an independent contractor, staying on task can be a challenge. Yet, it is important because you must be self-motivated. Do you struggle staying focused? These five tips will help you avoid distractions and knock out that lengthy to-do list. 

  1. Downsize your to-do list.
    Does your to-do list have 30 items on it? That can be very demoralizing and hard to manage. Instead, make a wish list of things you’d like to get done. Then select three to four tasks that are the highest priority or will have the most influence on your success. Make these priorities today’s to-do list. When you’ve got them done, go back and revisit your wish list.
  2. Eliminate one expense.
    Stress is the ultimate productivity killer, and worrying about money is stressful. If you take some time today to look at your expenses, you can probably find one subscription (or other on-going expense) that you’re not benefiting from — cancel it. Little expenses can add up quickly. 
  3. Optimize your lunch.
    You have to make a lot of decisions during the day: what’s for lunch may be an easy one to remove to help you cut down on decision fatigue. As an added bonus, brown-bagging it in the long run will be healthier and also help you eliminate an extra expense.
  4. Carve out time to think.
    We spend a lot of time reacting to problems in our lives. It’s important to take time each day to think about where you want to go and what steps you’re taking to get there. Think of your career as a boat, are you drifting or sailing?
  5. Remove one willpower drain.
    Maintaining discipline is hard work. Try to make it easier for yourself by removing temptation. As a simple example: Do you keep a candy dish on your desk or in the front lobby for clients — but resist the urge to grab a piece every time you walk by? This is draining your willpower. So, remove the candy dish. No one will miss it, and this will let you use your self-discipline on more important challenges. 

Science Tackles the Myth: Money Can’t Buy Happiness

The Beatles might have been right when they said money can’t buy love, but economists have figured out that money can and does buy satisfaction. When it comes to overall lifetime satisfaction, a survey of hundreds of thousands of people in more than 150 countries demonstrates the strong correlation between people’s satisfaction with their life and their income. In short, the more money you have, the more likely you are to be satisfied with your life.

However, the more money you earn, the less likely increased earnings will lift your spirits. Think of it like this: If you’re living on a dollar a day, getting two dollars a day will make your spirits soar. But if you’re making $50,000 a year, doubling your salary will barely move the needle. So, don’t take the above statement as an endorsement of pure financial ambition.

When it comes to happiness, apparently money can’t quite buy that. While money does seem to go hand-in-hand with overall satisfaction in life, it has very little to do with happiness in the moment. Sure, there are quick fixes, such as a shopping spree or dining with friends, but science backs up the belief that these are fleeting. Your mental and emotional outlook seems to have the most impact on day-to-day happiness.

So, what’s the magic level of income? On average, it’s a lot lower than what you might expect coming in at $40,000 a year – for a single person with no children. If you’re trying to raise a family on this income or live in an area with a higher cost of living (such as New York or San Francisco), then this number will obviously need to be adjusted upward.

Nonetheless, the research still provides good reason to keep working hard even if you’re already earning a comfortable income. For example, you may be trying to save for retirement or wanting to earn extra income for travel and vacations. But, in general, if your income is meeting your needs, then you may want to focus more on your career goals and less on simply making money.

If you’re interested in reading more about this topic, be sure to check out the full study at 80000hours.org.

6 Things Any Retail Employee Can Teach You About Good Customer Service

Customer service is an important part of any business. Today, there is simply too much competition for your client’s business, and you don’t want to give them any reason to check out a competitor. If you’re looking for some pointers, look no further than your local retail outlet. Here are six tips you’ll discover from asking any employee who knows the value of repeat customers.

  1. Smile when greeting a customer. This should be a given: Smiling is the easiest way to make clients feel welcomed when you’re meeting them.
  2. Don’t hover, but always be visible. Some clients will want you to give them a tour of the house, others will appreciate the freedom to wander at their own pace. Either way, make sure you’re easy to find when your clients need you.
  3. Make the client’s problem your problem. If there is a problem and your client is unhappy, quickly take ownership of the problem. Use inclusive phrases such as “We’re going to take care of this” or “Let’s get this done for you.” That way the client sees you as someone who’s helping them, not opposing them.
  4. Never discuss clients in front of clients. Gossip is never good, and you certainly don’t want your clients to worry about what you’re saying about them when they’re not around.
  5. “I don’t know” isn’t an acceptable answer. Instead, use a phrase that will show action, such as “Let me find out for you.”
  6. Always prioritize live customers. If you receive a phone call when dealing with a client, don’t answer it. Take care of the person in front of you first. If you do have to answer a call, ask the client for permission first, and then excuse yourself from the room. Be sure to keep the call short.

5 Verbal Habits You Can Learn from Charismatic People

Charisma is a very important skill in today’s business world. We all know real estate is an industry built on relationships. Here are five things you should work into your conversations to make sure you’re well-liked and appreciated.

  1. Always use please and thank you. They’re small words and don’t take that much effort to say, but simply being polite can really open doors for you.
  2. Be a listener. You have two ears and one mouth for a reason, because you should do twice as much listening as talking. If you occasionally struggle with what to say, try letting the other person talk. Encourage the person to speak by using active listening techniques, such as maintaining eye contact, nodding your head in agreement, or giving verbal affirmations.
  3. Use people’s names and maybe even titles. People are extremely responsive to their name, so use it frequently in conversation. As an added bonus, speaking someone’s name out loud is a great way to remember it. If appropriate, don’t be afraid to use someone’s title. People work hard to achieve success, so they’ll enjoy the recognition of being called “Dr. Williams,” “Professor Smith” or “Lt. Jones.”
  4. Wait your turn. One of the worst things you can do during a conversation is not waiting your turn to talk. Talking over someone can make you seem rude and pushy. If this does happen, be quick to apologize and then allow the other person to speak.
  5. Make introductions. Everyone is about networking these days. If you’re at a party or other event where not everyone knows each other, be sure to take the time to make introductions (especially if you’re the host). By suggesting common interests between the two people being introduced, you’ll not only get the conversation started, but also make others feel a part of the group.