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This is the feature article in this week’s RealtyBiz Agent Success Newsletter.

I’m headed to the Priorat region of Spain for a week on Friday. Of course, I still have a million things on my to-do list and a million more on would-like-to-do list. As I added yet another thing to the to-do list, I realized this just wasn’t working. Every time I crossed off something, I added two new things to be done. Sound familiar?

After taking a deep breath, I sat back down with my list and started prioritizing. It’s so easy to stress ourselves out with all the day-to-day problems that come up, that we often lose track of our goals. In my case, I needed to finish up a client project, write two newsletters, and pack for my trip. Everything else fell into the “would be nice but could wait” category.

What is Your End Goal?

If you also find yourself with the dreaded never-ending to-do list, it may be time to ask yourself, “What do you really want to accomplish?” Setting goals keeps you focused on what truly matters to you. Goals keep you motivated to slog through the daily grind knowing that you are building your business into an asset that will one day work for you.

Ask yourself:

  • Do most of the tasks on your to-do list move you toward your goals or take up time that you could be devoting to achieving your goals?
  • Do they really need to be there?
  • If they absolutely must be done, do you have to do them, or can you delegate them to others?

Use the 80/20 Rule To Get More Accomplished

In 1897, the Italian economist, Vilfredo Pareto observed that 80 percent of income in Italy went to 20 percent of the population. While you can argue that the 80/20 principle isn’t exact, it works quite well as a general guideline for business. Roughly 20 percent of your clients will account for 80 percent of your profits. Twenty percent of your daily activities will account for 80 percent of your business’ success. Twenty percent of your inputs produce 80 percent of your outputs. So, if you want to be more productive and grow your business faster, look for the places where you can get the maximum result.

Often, our day is full of things that don’t do much for our business. We might pick up the latest business book, check email, organize our desk, fill out paperwork, surf the internet, chat with co-workers, take calls from family and friends, deal with distractions and interruptions, and so on while only a small chunk of our day is devoted to working with clients or marketing our services – those activities that actually build our business and bring in revenue.

Ask yourself:

  • What can you do right now that will take you a step closer to your goals?
  • What are your most productive activities?
  • Which activities take up a significant portion of your time but leave you with little to show for it?
  • How can you do more productive activities while reducing your time-wasting activities?