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MISSOURI EDITION

Embracing Smart Homes: Does New Technology Really Increase Home Value?

EMOTIONAL FLUENCY : HOW TO COMMUNICATE WITH CLIENTS WHEN TENSIONS ARE HIGH

Kris Smith COVER STORY

FEATURED AGENT

Derek Emmons


MISSOURI EDITION

DEREK EMMONS Real estate has always been a natural passion for Derek Emmons, and growing up with an7agent for a mother meant he enjoyed early exposure to the industry he would one day join. Before earning his license, Derek honed his skillset in the sales field, but hungered for opportunities to serve others and make a positive impact in his community. “I wanted to do something that would make a difference in peoples’ lives,” he remembers. Four years ago, Derek finally made the leap. In the years since, Derek has carved out a reputation for integrity, reliability, and authentic relationships.

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that lure prospective buyers. From the leading listing platforms and so wide-ranging online exposure. Li an early pioneer of Facebook Liv interactive social tools to draw bro

All in all, Derek’s process is st experience, and is tailored to e family he works alongside. “They they leave friends,” Derek says. my town and I see a lot of past about. I’m a friendly person, so i up and see how things are going joys of living in a small town and d others—people are always happy

Today, Derek spearheads his work solo under the banner of Mossy Oak Properties and serves the KRISThere, SMITH DEREK EMMONS southeast Missouri region. he has managed Derek gives back to various causes and organiz to amass roughly 40% of his business through referral clientele—a including fundraising efforts for community testament to his proven track record. Derek also offers diverse as the Louie Smith Memorial Homerun Derby, expertise through his specialization in government loans, as well imprints like St. Jude’s Children’s Research H as in farms and large tracts of land. As a Certified Land Specialserves on the board for the University of Misso ist, he especially enjoys the opportunity to help others source the for Butler County and stays active in his local ch ideal plot of their dreams. “Farms and first-time homebuyers are ing free hours, he most enjoys quality time spent my passion,” he admits. Regardless of property type, Derek cites a wife, children, down-to-earth attitude, communication, and a calming presence as 4) EMBRACING SMART 19) DO YOU ADD and other loved ones, in addition river, hunting, and enjoying the great outdoors. some of the key factors in his working style. “I still remember what HOMES: DOES VALUE FOR it was like when I was NEW looking for my house and I alwaysCONSISTENT keep that As for the future of his growing business, Derek in perspective,” DerekREALLY says. “This is the biggest purchase my cli-BUSINESS TECHNOLOGY YOUR AND his steady expansion. He hopes to develop add ents’ will likely ever make in their lifetime, and I keep that level of INCREASE HOME VALUE? FOR YOUR CLIENTS? properties in the years to come, while serving importance at the forefront. To me, selling real estate is about being goals of his fellow community members. “I’m part of a milestone moment in someone’s life. I feel so lucky to be opportunities are out there for me as I continue t a part of that and I genuinely care about the people I’m working 13) EMOTIONAL FLUENCY: 22) 4 WAYS TO WIN try,” he says. “You never know from one day t with.” Likewise, Derek stays accessible and responsive throughout HOW TO COMMUNICATE THE BATTLE AGAINST business will bring.” the course of a transaction, ensuring that buyers and sellers alike can WITH CLIENTS reach out for an expertWHEN opinion. “My clients know that ifPROCRASTINATION they need Finally, with four promising years behind him something, I’m there,” Derek says. “They can call me anytime and TENSIONS ARE HIGH look on the road ahead, Derek Emmons consid feel confident that I’ll be there for them. Buying a house can seem most about his career thus far. “I really like th like a nerve-wracking process, but I really do try to make it as fun part of people’s lives as they go about this proc and enjoyable process as possible.” milestone just as important as getting married a Phone 888-461-3930 | Fax 310-751-7068 and these are moments that people remember. When it comes to listing properties, Derek goes the extra mile when turning a house into a home for a family. That it comes to prepping homes for market. Once homes are photo-ready, mag@topagentmagazine.com | www.topagentmagazine.com being rewarding.” he applies his creative eye to capture immersive, memorable images

CONTENTS

No portion of this issue may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without prior consent of the publisher. Top Agent Magazine is published by Feature Publications GA, Inc. Although precautions are taken to ensure the accuracy of published materials, Top Agent Magazine cannot be held responsible for opinions expressed or facts supplied by its authors. To subscribe or change address, send inquiry to mag@topagentmagazine.com. Published in the U.S.

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Embracing Smart Homes:

Does New Technology Really Increase Home Value? Technology and innovation move at a lightning-fast clip, so it can be hard to keep up with all the smart-home trends sweeping the market at a given time. From smart thermostats to security systems accessed through an app on your phone—there are endless options to customize and update your home for the modern era. But which, if any, of these smart home products add 4

value to property in a significant, worthwhile capacity? Especially with new generations of the same products released in quick succession, it can be hard to determine whether it’s worth it to take the plunge. With that in mind, we’ve conducted a deep-dive into the smart home options out there that make the most sense for your bottom line and real estate investments.

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Smart home amenities range in price and return. There are certain smart home products that won’t break the bank while still adding lovely touches and time-saving features to your space. For instance, a smart thermostat may not run more than a few hundred dollars, but it can take so much of the guesswork and analog nuisance out of programming your home’s internal environment. That said, buyers selling properties with mid-range amenities like this can’t expect a windfall in return. While smart home features can certainly lure buyers and give the sense that a home is attractively modern (and thus move-in ready), it doesn’t mean that you’ll be reaping a sizable monetary reward for your foresight. Conversely, this reality doesn’t mean those smart options

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are without value entirely; it just means that the value of smart home options may be apparent in a different capacity, like luring a particular buyer or creating a desirable, sleek image for a property headed to market. On the other hand, larger scale smart home amenities that are being left behind for the buyer—like a smart refrigerator or wired sound throughout the property—may be able to lure particular buyers who value high-end details. While it can be difficult to state definitively the value of smart home options, the rule tends to be that the more you put in, the higher the likelihood you’ll reap the investment you sow. Focus your smart home options on home appliances first, then work your way toward security, thermostat, and entertainment options.

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Smart home amenities capture the attention of buyers

Agents must know how to pitch the value of smart home options

Even if you have mostly opted for small or mid-range smart home options, you can still benefit from their presence in a property—even if they don’t inflate your bottom line as a result. Smart home amenities have the power to focus the attention of buyers, sending a clear signal that the previous owners were tech-forward and made an effort to upgrade the property for the contemporary era. Millennial or Gen Z buyers especially value these up-to-date modifications, and the presence of these desirable gadgets can create added interest and drive up value naturally. Likewise, featuring these options in listing photography can also drive interest from younger or high-end buyers looking for move-in ready spaces.

Remember that smart home features are relatively fresh to the market. While some new construction properties are equipped with these smart amenities, just as many homes on the market don’t offer these upgrades and modern flairs. This means that many buyers, of all ages even, aren’t familiar with the benefits and perks of these options, let alone how they’re operated. Before you can derive value from a smart home or smart home features, you’ll need to understand a product’s proper usage, cost, and benefits. Do your homework regarding what smart home features can offer in terms time or cost savings, and be able to show prospective buyers how easy these objects are to use, as well. Do both, and you’ll be in proper command of what smart home features can offer buyers and pitch them accordingly.

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Kris Smith Top Agent Magazine

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KRIS SMITH Kris Smith hadn’t anticipated a career in real estate, but after her successful tenure in commercial banking shifted gears in 2009, she set her sights on new horizons. Once she earned her license, Kris set to work building experience and found the industry to be a natural fit. “It’s been a blessing ever since,” she recalls. Today, Kris is in command of a flourishing career, having built a steadfast reputation for communication, adaptability, and a community-minded approach. Based in St. Joseph, Kris primarily serves Kansas City communities north of the river and throughout the northwest Missouri region. She is also licensed in the state of Kansas and works in con8Copyright Top Agent Magazine

junction with her husband, who earned his license a year after Kris’ industry debut. In the nine years since, Kris has managed to earn nearly 70% of her business through repeat and referral clientele—a testament to her skillset and staying power. Likewise, Kris credits clear communication, accessibility, and empathy as the foremost drivers of her success thus far. “Above all, I try to understand what my clients are going through, whatever the occasion,” she says. “I pride myself on prompt and thorough communication. As long as we are communicating throughout the good times as well as the challenges of a transaction, that helps put people at ease. My clients always know what’s going on, what to expect next, and where we are in Top Agent Magazine


our timeline. As long as we’re thorough about that, it really helps take off some of the pressure and emotion that stem from buying and selling a home.” Beyond her high rate of referral clientele, Kris has also made an indelible impact in her community, reaping a range of accolades as a result. For the last five years, she has been bestowed the title of St. Joe’s Favorite Realtor through the local newspaper, The St. Joseph News-Press, as well as KQTV’s Favorite Real Estate Agent. Accordingly, Kris prioritizes her interpersonal relationships and stays in Top Agent Magazine

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touch with clientele for the long haul—from sending home anniversary cards to sharing helpful tips for the home front. As for listing properties, Kris crafts a custom-tailored approach for each property headed to market, leveraging professional photography and 3D walkthrough tours to provide prospective buyers with an Copyright Top Agent Magazine Copyright 10

immersive first impression. Likewise, all listings enjoy maximum exposure across social media outlets and the leading online listing platforms. Kris also utilizes her extensive network to ensure that listed properties gain local visibility, as well. All told, Kris’ approach is steeped in discipline, diligence, and thorough execution. She also applies her Master’s Degree in Finance to help guide clients as they Top Agent Magazine


embark upon one of life’s milestone investments. “In real estate, every scenario and circumstance is different,” Kris says. “I love being able to work with and help people going through an emotional process like buying or selling a home—whether it’s joyous or a more difficult time of transition. I always do my best to empathize with and support my client from beginning to end.” Top Agent Magazine

To give back to her community, Kris is active in a variety of civic and charitable causes. She has participated in Leadership St. Joseph, the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce, Sertoma Club, United Way, St. Joseph Safety and Health Council, and has volunteered for many years with the Adopt A Family Christmas Program. She is also active in the alumni associations for both Northwest MisCopyright Top Agent Magazine 11


souri State University and Missouri Western State University. She has also served as a past president of the Missouri Western State University Alumni Board of Directors and as a past president of the Cameron Regional YMCA. In her remaining free hours, Kris most enjoys reading, as well as time spent with family and loved ones in the great outdoors—hunting, fishing, hiking, or cheering on her husband and sons in their slow-pitch league. Looking ahead, Kris has plans to continue her steady upward trajectory. “I’m continually striving

to improve and be the best that I can be in both my business and personal life,” Kris says. For now, she is content to build her community and apply her professionalism, one buyer and seller at a time. Finally, with nearly a decade of experience behind her, Kris Smith considers what she enjoys most about her chosen field. “I love that every single day is different,” she reflects. “There is so much joy in working with so many different people. It’s so exciting to meet a referral or a new face, and I love the opportunity to work with people as individuals or as a family— that’s what I love most about what I do.”

To learn more about Kris Smith email kris.smith@kw.com, call (816) 835 – 4135, or visit krissmith.com www.

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Emotional Fluency:

How to Communicate with Clients When Tensions are High Managing emotions, expectations, and personalities are central to a successful real estate career. After all, this is a business based on relationships and interpersonal communication. Likewise, real estate is built on one of life’s central milestones—homeownership. This means that stress, disappointment, excitement, and competition are inherently Top Agent Magazine

involved in the process. As an agent, you take on the real estate world every day, but most of your clients aren’t well-versed in the norms of the industry and are likely riding an emotional roller coaster throughout. Acknowledging this, how do you steer the ship when emotions and tensions are running high?

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For starters, it’s not always intuitive. Just like you add tools to your arsenal when it comes to marketing, social media, or lead generation, you also have to add emotional tools to your repertoire. Here are a few ways to diffuse tense situations and keep clients on an even keel—even during the ups and downs of the transactional process.

Create realistic expectations from the outset and reinforce them as you go As a seasoned agent, some aspects of the industry may seem run of the mill to you, but may come as a shock to your clients. That’s

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why communicating expectations from the beginning can help create reasonable touchpoints in the minds of your clients. In addition to talking through the steps of the transactional process with your clients, consider writing out a checklist or compiling a buyer’s guide that can serve as a resource for them throughout. Think of it like a security blanket, but one that’s built by facts, figures, and anecdotal experience. If you paint a clear picture of what to expect, clients are less likely to be taken by the surprise and react impulsively as a result. What’s more, reinforce next steps, expectations, and possible outcomes as you go. If your client is left to wonder or guess at what’s ahead or

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what will happen, they will either envision the worst-case scenario and panic, or they’ll misjudge the next step and be disappointed or left anxious as a result. Minimize surprises by communicating regularly, clearly, and with all options on the table.

When unveiling a problem, come to clients with potential solutions in hand Any agent worth his or her salt knows that bumps in the road are likely to occur along the way. You can’t promise a transaction free of stress or unforeseen issues, but you can minimize the ensuing stress by preparing you client in advance for any potential problems, and by addressing any problems

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clearly and with solutions already in hand. Clients are likely to become agitated if a problem arises and they can’t understand why or what it means. That’s why slowing it down, talking it through, and offering potential avenues for recourse can quell fears and remind clients why they chose you to facilitate the transactional process. This means you’ll have to vigilant, proactive, and on the ball. Of course, it’s much easier to be an agent when everything is going great and flowing naturally. It’s when things take an unexpected or negative turn that true talent is really tested. Accordingly, show your clients that you are confident and in control by remaining adaptable, communicative, and clear in your problem-solving approach.

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Never underestimate the power of listening As an agent, you are probably well-versed in putting out fires and sourcing solutions. Sometimes, however, clients are really looking to you as a confidante and a listening ear. You’d be surprised how much nervousness you can resolve by simply offering a listening ear and offering reassurance. Sometimes it’s not about providing a band-aid or a practical solution; oftentimes, it’s all about listening. Clients need to feel like they’re being heard, even if you’ve heard it all before. By listening to their fears, acknowledging their perspective, and reiterating their goals—you display your empathy and understanding, which is often just what a client 16

needs to feel better. In other words, you don’t have to break out the graphs and data each time a client airs his or her insecurity. First, slow down, listen, and interact on a personal level. You may stop an emotional upheaval in its tracks simply by putting your listening cap on. Not all clients are alike. Some will require a little more hand-holding than others, but it’s your job to put yourself in their perspective, recognize the milestone at hand, and managing the personalities you’re working with. The next time you feel frustrated by a client’s unpredictable emotional energy, keep these insights in mind as you diffuse the situation, steer them to a place of comfort, and fortify your interpersonal skillset in the process.

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DEREK EMMONS Real estate has always been a natural passion for Derek Emmons, and growing up with an agent for a mother meant he enjoyed early exposure to the industry he would one day join. Before earning his license, Derek honed his skillset in the sales field, but hungered for opportunities to serve others and make a positive impact in his community. “I wanted to do something that would make a difference in peoples’ lives,” he remembers. Four years ago, Derek finally made the leap. In the years since, Derek has carved out a reputation for integrity, reliability, and authentic relationships. Today, Derek spearheads his work solo under the banner of Mossy Oak Properties and serves the southeast Missouri region. There, he has managed to amass roughly 40% of his business through referral clientele—a testament to his proven track record. Derek also offers diverse expertise through his specialization in government loans, as well as in farms and large tracts of land. As a Certified Land Specialist, he especially enjoys the opportunity to help others source the ideal plot of their dreams. “Farms and first-time homebuyers are my passion,” he admits. Regardless of property type, Derek cites a down-to-earth attitude, communication, and a calming presence as some of the key factors in his working style. “I still remember what it was like when I was looking for my house and I always keep that in perspective,” Derek says. “This is the biggest purchase my clients’ will likely ever make in their lifetime, and I keep that level of importance at the forefront. To me, selling real estate is about being part of a milestone moment in someone’s life. I feel so lucky to be a part of that and I genuinely care about the people I’m working with.” Likewise, Derek stays accessible and responsive throughout the course of a transaction, ensuring that buyers and sellers alike can reach out for an expert opinion. “My clients know that if they need something, I’m there,” Derek says. “They can call me anytime and feel confident that I’ll be there for them. Buying a house can seem like a nerve-wracking process, but I really do try to make it as fun and enjoyable process as possible.” When it comes to listing properties, Derek goes the extra mile when it comes to prepping homes for market. Once homes are photo-ready, he applies his creative eye to capture immersive, memorable images

that lure prospective buyers. From there, he takes to the leading listing platforms and social media to ensure wide-ranging online exposure. Likewise, Derek was an early pioneer of Facebook Live and incorporates interactive social tools to draw broad interest. All in all, Derek’s process is strategic, steeped in experience, and is tailored to each individual and family he works alongside. “They come in clients and they leave friends,” Derek says. “I’m very active in my town and I see a lot of past clients just out and about. I’m a friendly person, so it’s fun just to catch up and see how things are going. That’s one of the joys of living in a small town and doing a good job for others—people are always happy to see you.” Derek gives back to various causes and organizations around town, including fundraising efforts for community organizations, such as the Louie Smith Memorial Homerun Derby, as well as national imprints like St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Derek also serves on the board for the University of Missouri Extension Board for Butler County and stays active in his local church. In his remaining free hours, he most enjoys quality time spent unwinding with his wife, children, and other loved ones, in addition to getting out on the river, hunting, and enjoying the great outdoors. As for the future of his growing business, Derek intends to continue his steady expansion. He hopes to develop additionally investment properties in the years to come, while serving the homeownership goals of his fellow community members. “I’m anxious to see what opportunities are out there for me as I continue to grow in the industry,” he says. “You never know from one day to the next what this business will bring.” Finally, with four promising years behind him and a positive outlook on the road ahead, Derek Emmons considers what he enjoys most about his career thus far. “I really like the opportunity to be part of people’s lives as they go about this process,” he says. “It’s a milestone just as important as getting married and having children, and these are moments that people remember. I get to be part of turning a house into a home for a family. That process never stops being rewarding.”

To learn more about Derek Emmons, email dlemmons@mossyoakproperties.com, visit mossyoakproperties.com/agent/dlemmons, or call (573) 429 - 3116 www.

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Do You Add Consistent Value for Your Business and for Your Clients? By Walter Sanford

We recently received a question from some of our favorite coaching clients. The Premier Team is lighting up the upper end, downtown, and historical St. Louis real estate markets. As coaching clients, they are challenging for me because they demand new value and service for their clients each week. In fact, Chris and Lisa know that to dominate an industry they need to have tools that the competition does not. They require tools that not only make the job easier, but also more profitable for their clients. Here is the result from a recent request from which we created a letter handout for the listing presentation and for advertisement in other media: The Premier Team Helps Clients Achieve Goals through Pre-Launch Inspections We have found that all buyers should have their purchase inspected. When we represent our sellers, the negotiations start with offers and potential counter offers. Traditionally, the buyer obtains and pays for an inspection of the property. The negotiations start again. Top Agent Magazine

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Rightfully, the buyer wants any challenges to be addressed; the seller feels they had lived with the challenges, sold the property with the challenges, and do not want to repair if they have no chance to enjoy them. It’s a difficult negotiation and can sometimes leave clients unhappy. As we do many times, we have devised a system to help all involved parties know what they are buying and selling while also saving our client’s time, trouble, and money in the mix. When we custom-design a marketing plan to achieve our seller’s goals and receive a commitment to market the property, we then offer our seller an opportunity to have the property inspected by our team inspector. The inspector will review all systems of the home and write a thorough report on the findings. We then discuss the findings with the seller and place any challenges in different categories. There is the “must fix now” category that deals with safety of the occupants or the property. There is the sub-standard category that is below the expectations a buyer would expect of a property for the area and price range. Lastly, there is the upgrade category for items which buyers would like to see done. By having the report and determining what categories, we can offer many opportunities to our seller clients: 1 We eliminate the “rush into a repair” syndrome by having the repair report early and without the input of a buyer waiting for an answer to complete the next step of their purchase. 2 We have time to contact numerous vendors who will compete for the best price. 3 We have time to make decisions on the condition vs. price, which is much better determined before the buyer has made a successful offer. 4 We know early if there are any big ticket items that would prevent a sale from a buyer not wanting the property or the seller not being able to afford the repair. 5 We can choose the mode of repair before a buyer has a stake in the decision. There are many ways to repair rather than replace. Replace is usually how a buyer wants the challenge remedied. 20

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6 We have time to get government or utilities involved if needed. 7 A seller’s net proceeds or “net sheet” can be professionally prepared. 8 We might receive a higher offer when a potential buyer is presented an inspection with all the repair receipts attached. 9 The one to two week wait is eliminated by having a report done before an offer rather than waiting for it after the offer. 10 Since we are paying for the report, we get to choose the inspector. Finding inspectors without the drama gene is important. There are many other reasons to be knowledgeable about the property, prior to negotiations. We have arranged a team of inspectors who have agreed to wait to be paid for their inspection and report until the seller receives their proceeds from sale. This cures the cash flow problem. We, at Premier Real Estate, believe that this is not only an outstanding investment that pays many dividends, but it is also the most professional way to handle a sale including all possible disclosures to all potential parties. Should you have any questions, please feel free to discuss. We have much experience in this little utilized system to increase our seller’s net proceeds. Many people have a coach who has not been through the ups and downs as Walter Sanford. Many coaches do not have the same achievements as Walter. He has millions in cash flow equity that came from his real estate business, and he developed systems that can be implemented without any special abilities. We currently have a few availabilities in our coaching program, and this year’s schedule has some availability for seminars as well. Copyright©, Walter Sanford. All rights reserved.

Walter Sanford has been designing and implementing real estate systems for 30 years. One of the most successful REALTORS® and now wealthy from his systems, Sanford teaches his systems and strategies through his products, seminars, and personal coaching producing the best results in the industry. Do what works, do what is proven. Hire Walter Sanford. Call our office at 800.792.5837, email walter@waltersanford.com, or chat with us online at www.waltersanford.com. Top Agent Magazine

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4 Ways to Win the Battle Against Procrastination One of the most common professional afflictions is procrastination. The funny thing is, everyone knows that procrastination is negative—it’s a waste of time, a creator of stress, and is entirely a problem of our own making. Still, knowing all of this doesn’t necessarily decrease our odds of procrastination. There are plenty of explanations we give when putting 22

work off until the last minute. Perhaps you convince yourself that you work best under pressure, but it’s truer that you’re used to working under pressure by necessity. Maybe you’re a perfectionist and the fear of getting it all wrong puts you off from the task. Whatever the justification may be, overcoming procrastination requires some willpower and technique. With

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that in mind, take a look at a few tricks below to jumpstart your motivation and nix the lastminute time crunch. After all, you owe it to yourself and your business to operate like a procrastination-free professional.

1. Make Your Intentions Known As realtors and mortgage professionals, you may serve as your own boss. So, when the time comes to complete a task and you put it off—perhaps you’re only disappointing yourself. This is easily remedied by making a new promise to try again tomorrow. On the other hand, it’s much harder to break promises and commitments to others. Try verbalizing your intent and commitment to your team, or to an assistant who can hold you accountable, or better yet—to a business partner or to a client. Make a hard deadline public and you’re likely to perform for fear of embarrassment or losing face. In a way, this puts the pressure of expectation on you, instead of the pressure of the ticking clock.

2. Take a Baby Step When tasks pile up, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. If you’ve got a number of items on your to-do list, including some heavy hitters that require a lot of attention and time, begin by taking on something simple. Identify an easily completed job that needs attention and put it first in your queue. Duties that are straightforward and aren’t time-intensive can lead you to the rest of your to-do list, fueling you with the satisfaction of a task already complete. Even if it’s as small as returning e-mails, or dropping off your dry-cleaning, one simple thing off your Top Agent Magazine

list can inspire you to continue on to the next item in the spirit of productivity.

3. Work in Windows If work is the last thing you want to do and you can’t seem to self-motivate, make a compromise with yourself. Agree to work just fifteen minutes, and mean it. This tiny window of time is easy enough to complete, isn’t overwhelming, and you’ve already agreed to move on once time is up. The truth? Odds are that just fifteen minutes of active work will inspire you to keep going. After all, the most difficult part of procrastination is getting started. By putting in those fifteen minutes, you’ll trick yourself into diving into the action.

4. Switch Up Your Environment If you’re stuck in rut when it comes to procrastination and productivity, try changing your surroundings. If the office feels stale and stressful, take your work to the nearest coffee shop and try to tackle your tasks there. Perhaps the quiet, studious ambiance of a library can make you focus, or a picnic table outside the office can stimulate the senses. Sometimes changing your scenery can breathe new life into your routine and give you the extra push you need to get work done. There’s no one way to overcome procrastination. In fact, it’s likely a lifelong process of building discipline, finding techniques that work for you, and simply prioritizing your time more effectively. Don’t lose hope—remember these tricks and winning the war will be possible, even if you lose a few battles along the way.

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