For last week’s RElevant post, I broke down the four elements of the Four Disciplines of Execution (4DX) system to help jump-start your productivity in the new year.
This week, I want to talk about the challenges standing in the way of accomplishing your Wildly Important Goals (WIGs).
In 4DX speak, these challenges are collectively called the whirlwind, defined as the urgent activities that consume your time and energy as you go about the daily grind of running your business and life. Have you ever planned to spend your morning working on a property marketing campaign when an emergency at a listing derails everything and the rest of the day is all about damage control? That’s the power of the whirlwind. It can obliterate your day and throw off your tomorrow. It stands in direct threat to the execution of your WIGs.
Here are some RElevant thoughts to help you successfully control the whirlwind:
- Dedicate one hour every day to deep work. If you think about the type of work you do each day, it can be broken down into two categories: shallow work and deep work. Shallow work is work you can accomplish almost automatically. It isn’t shallow in the sense that it’s meaningless but shallow because you’ve trained yourself so successfully to complete the task that once this type of work arrives on your desk or in your inbox, your brain goes on autopilot; your well-honed skills kick in and you can perform. Shallow work might include reading through emails or anything that doesn’t require your uninterrupted attention. Conversely, deep work entails absolute focus with zero distractions. To truly fight the whirlwind, plan for one hour of deep work each day.
- Schedule your hour of deep work in the morning. Remember our example of the property marketing campaign gone wrong? That’s exactly why your hour of deep work should be as early in your day as possible. In a REALTOR®’s life, so much comes up as the day progresses that if you can carve out an hour in the morning for deep, focused work, you’re much more likely to complete it. This also relates to the concept of creating a solid morning routine that will set you up for success but more about that in our next post …
- Utilize the power of an accountability partner. Discipline 4 in the 4DX system is creating a cadence of accountability. One of the best ways to create a cadence is by having an accountability partner, someone to whom you make commitments and in turn, your partner makes commitments to you. (In the 4DX system, these commitments are reviewed and declared during a brief weekly WIG session.) Making a commitment to an accountability partner shifts the emphasis from professional to personal. By consistently stating your commitments to a partner, you enter into an unwritten social contract that as humans we’re wired not to want to break. Once you make commitments to your accountability partner, sociological pressure will work in your favor; you’ll do whatever it takes to accomplish your stated commitments, no matter how strong the whirlwind gets around you.
- Remember the first step is the most difficult step. My favorite adage about door knocking is: “The hardest door to get open is your car door.” It isn’t the actual knocking on door after door that’s really tough; it’s psyching yourself up to start. Once you get going, you’ll realize it’s not so challenging after all. The same thing applies to beating the whirlwind. You just have to get going.
If the whirlwind seems overwhelming, you’re not alone. But remember the last point in the list above: The hardest part about fighting against the whirlwind is starting. So, let’s commit right now and start together.