How To Overcome Overwhelm & Turn Distraction into Action
In this week’s episode, Jennifer walks listeners through the number one reason Realtors don’t see the results they’re hoping for: overwhelm & distraction. Jennifer dives into the four root causes of overwhelm and provides practical strategies for overcoming each, so that you can finally turn distraction into consistent action and start seeing the results you deserve.
Hello hello and welcome back to the women rocking real estate podcast, I’m your host Jen Percival and I really appreciate you tuning in. I hope you are all doing well, staying healthy and hopefully my Canadian listeners are starting to see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel and are seeing some more normalcy in their life. Hopefully we can stay on this track. I personally have moved up to our cottage for the summer and being on the water is my happiest place on earth.
Alright getting right to it, This episode was actually not planned or in the schedule, but I decided to make a last minute change for July’s episode because the topic seems to be the biggest roadblock faced almost universally by humans and that is what I call shiny object syndrome, which leads to overwhelm which leads to distraction.
One causes the other. We get overwhelmed by all of the choices available to us and all the things on our to do list and to escape the negative feeling of overwhelm, we subconsciously seek ways to distract ourselves and we end up avoiding taking the actions we need to take, to get the results we’re looking for. It is the killer of productivity.
And we are really good at using lack of time as the excuse for not being productive and taking the actions we need to take. We tell ourselves that we’re too busy and that we don’t have enough time…..and I’m going to call BS. You and I both have the same number of hours in a day that everyone else does and there are people all over the world who manage to accomplish a shit ton of stuff, so before I go into the strategies to overcome overwhelm and turn distraction into action, I want you to acknowledge and accept that lack of time is not the problem. It’s how you’re choosing to spend your time that’s the problem. I want you to pause this episode right now and go to your instagram account and check your activity history. How much time are you spending on average every day? If it’s more than 30 minutes, there is one of your problems. Look at how much time you spent over 30 minutes every day over the last week and add those minutes up. That’s just one way you can recover more time to focus on taking the actions you need to take in your business to get the results you want.
So I want you to put the excuse of “I don’t have time” to bed once and for all. You do have time, you’re just choosing to spend it doing something else. Now if something else really is a priority, then own that and instead of saying you’re too busy or you don’t have time, acknowledge that you don’t want to spend time doing it and that you’re choosing something else instead. But if you’re not getting the results you want, when making that choice, don’t blame time. It’s not time’s fault. You made a conscious choice to do something else and you have to be willing to own & accept the consequences of that choice.
For example I spend very little time on social media. In fact when I was just asking you to check your activity, I checked mine and I have only spent an average of 1 minute on Instagram every day over the last week. I took a screenshot and I’ll share it. Should I spend more time on Instagram? Probably! Spending one minute a day is not exactly going to help me grow my account or reach new women in real estate. Do I have guilt or worry that I’m not doing enough on instagram? Yes I do. But right now I am choosing to spend my time differently. My family and my wellbeing comes first, my real estate clients and my coaching clients come second and growing my business comes third. Serving my existing clients is always a priority for me, over attracting new clients. Which is also why I only release monthly podcast episodes instead of weekly. It’s not that I don’t have time, it’s that I’m intentionally choosing to spend my time on other things that are a higher priority.
Do you see how that mindset shift puts ownership of your time back in your hands. We all need to be accountable for how we choose to spend our time and we need to stop using lack of time as an excuse. When we do that, we rob ourselves of feeling and being in control. So every time you’re saying yes to spending your time on something, what are you saying no to? You cannot do everything so overcoming overwhelm starts with intentionally choosing how you spend your time.
The next time you find yourself getting distracted by something. I want you to stop and say “I don’t want to do that, I’m choosing to do this instead and I’m ok with the outcome.” For example if you had set time aside to create video content, and instead decided you needed to spend some time with one of your kids who was struggling, you would say “I don’t want to create a video right now, I want to spend some time my daughter instead, she needs me right now and I’m ok with generating less business this month.”
If the statement feels right, then that is a clear priority. If on the other hand, you had set time aside to create video content, and instead found yourself watching instagram reels, you would say out loud “I don’t want to create a video right now, I want to watch reels instead and I’m ok with generating less business this month.” If that statement doesn’t feel right, it gives you the opportunity to choose differently.
My point here is that you’ve got to accept that you do in fact own your time and that for everything you say yes to, there is a corresponding no to something else. So the first step in starting to honour your hours is to decide what your priorities are. What comes above other things you spend your time on? My coaching clients all take my foundations of success program and one of the exercises is to spend about two weeks tracking how you spend your time and then defining what your priorities are so that you can start making more intentional choices around your time.
Alright so the first step to dealing with overwhelm is taking control and ownership of your time and to stop using lack of it as an excuse for not taking action. So outside of not feeling like we have time to do things, what else causes overwhelm? Shiny objects! Like I said, we get so overwhelmed by all of the choices available to us and all the things we could be doing in our business and should be doing and to escape the negative feeling of overwhelm, we subconsciously seek ways to distract ourselves and we end up avoiding taking the actions we need to take, to get the results we’re looking for.
In my experience, distraction shows up most often in two different ways. The first and probably most common is procrastination; I’ll put doing this task off and instead do something else that I don’t find so boring or challenging or scary. The second way I see is through perfectionism; I’m going to record this video 25 times and nit pick over every little detail about how we look or sound and then never do anything with it because it’s not and we’re not perfect.
So in order to turn distraction into action we have to address the root problem, which is overwhelm. So besides shiny objects, why do we as humans get overwhelmed so easily and shut down? In my years of coaching agents, there’s 4 causes of overwhelm and this is going to sound overly simplistic but bear with me.
We get easily overwhelmed if we:
- Don’t know what to do
- Don’t want to do it
- Don’t know how to to it
- Don’t do it anyway, even when we know what to do, we’re ok doing it and we know how to do it
So let’s start with strategies for how to deal with situations where we feel overwhelmed because we have so many choices and we don’t know what to focus on first. If you find yourself starting one project and then getting distracted by something else or you’re watching what everyone else is doing and thinking you should be doing it too, or you keep taking training that’s telling you to focus on something new, you’re going to end up feeling overwhelmed, lost, disorganized and unfocused with no direction or clarity.
When you building a real estate business there is a lot to do. You aren’t just buying and selling real estate, you’re running a full-fledged business and that includes sales, marketing, operations, staffing, etc. If you want to run a long-term successful business, every area of the business is going to need your attention and focus…but where do you start? With all of the options, what should you focus on first?
One of the first ways to combat this type of overwhelm is to determine what season your business is in and focus first on tasks and projects that fall under that season. So let me walk you through the four seasons of building a real estate business:
Season 1 – Attract
In season number 1 you are focusing on ATTRACTING business, to create consistent, predictable lead flow. This season includes all of the activities that you do to grow who you know and attract new business to you and includes all of your networking, marketing, advertising and prospecting activities. If you’re new to real estate, you’re in season 1.
Season 2 – Convert
Season 2 is Convert and it includes all of the activities that you need to do to nurture & convert the leads you’ve attracted and turn them into clients. Things like nurturing your audience, building authority, influencing, negotiating, selling, decision making coaching and your buyer & listing presentations. It’s all the work you do, to convince people to want to work with you, as their realtor.
Season 3 – Retain
Season 3 is Retain and it includes everything under the umbrella of keeping clients and getting repeats and referrals. So once someone decides to work with you, everything that you do from that point on, falls into Season 3. This would include everything from client communication to how you market properties to client satisfaction to keeping in touch after the sale. Are they thrilled with your service and would they use you again and refer you to their friends and family?
Season 4 – Scale
Season 4 is Scaling and it includes all of the things you can do in your business to automate, optimize and leverage people, systems & processes. This is all of the operations of your business and you won’t be able to scale without focusing on the activities that fall in this category. This season is all about freeing up more of your time so that you can start enjoying the life you’ve been working so hard to build.
Now obviously if you want a thriving, consistent real estate business, you have to be strong in all 4 seasons and that is the end-goal. But you also have to start somewhere and prioritize what you’re focusing on. Otherwise you’ll be all over the place with no direction and your results will suffer. There is no point in spending all your time building an automation workflow into your team communication, if you don’t have a steady flow of leads coming in. The key here is to figure out where the biggest sinkhole in your business is. What season are you losing people? That’s the season you need to focus on first. If you have a steady stream of high quality leads coming in, but you’re not converting them into clients, then you’d need to prioritize your time focusing on the tasks and projects and learning that happens in Season 2. If you’ve got clients but they’re not happy and they’re not referring you or using you for repeat transactions, you’ve got a sinkhole in your business in Season 3 and you need to prioritize those projects.
Once you know what season you need to focus on first, the next step is to audit your business and identify opportunities and gaps. What are all of the things that you could implement in your business in that season, that you’re not doing now?
Once you’ve got a list of ideas – just in that one particular season, you need to prioritize them. What project is going to have the biggest impact on your business? That goes first? What’s next?Once you have those projects prioritized, start on the first one and just focus on it alone. Put blinders on and put your head down. Do not allow yourself to get distracted by other shiny objects that are further down your list and certainly don’t allow yourself to get distracted by things that aren’t even on your list! New shiny objects will come up all the time and you will be tempted by them, but recognize it for what it is – a distraction – and then put it in the vault with all your other ideas. You’ll get to it eventually, but not until you’ve completed other, higher priority tasks.
So to recap, when you’re overwhelmed because you don’t know what to do, the answer is to determine what season your business is in, then to prioritize projects and then focus on just one thing at a time, taking consistent, small actions every single day until you’ve implemented it in your business.
This is how my entire coaching program is structured, everyone starts with foundations of success and in there we determine what season your business is in and then we develop a systemized action plan of what you need to focus on first. From there, you go into the appropriate season and learn exactly how to implement everything into your business step by step.
Moving along, so if the first way that agents get overwhelmed is because they don’t know what to do first, the second way that agents get overwhelmed is because they know what they’re supposed to do, but they don’t want to do it.
I see this play out most often when agents are told to do things that aren’t aligned with their values; things like door knocking and cold calling or asking friends for business and referrals, or when they’re told to do things like using scripts that feel unnatural and uncomfortable. When you’re told to sit down every day and spend hours doing something that makes you feel icky, you’re going to feel overwhelmed and you’re going to look for distractions.
And I get it. You shouldn’t do things that aren’t aligned with your values or feel disingenuous. However you can’t respond with “I don’t want to do that” with absolutely everything that stretches you out side your comfort zone. Avoiding doing things like going on camera and creating videos or putting yourself out there on social media because you’re afraid people will judge you, is not healthy for your business. There’s a big difference between the two. Don’t do things that make you feel icky, but know the difference between that and something that you should be trying to push through. If you do find yourself avoiding taking action on something that would actually really help grow your business and it’s not misaligned with your values, then that’s a sign there’s a limiting belief holding you back and we’ll tackle how to handle that in a bit.
Ok just to recap, when you experience overwhelm ask yourself is it because you don’t know what to do, is it because you don’t want to do it or is it the third reason which is you don’t know how to do it?
In my experience, a lot of the time overwhelm relating to the not knowing how to do something stems from limiting beliefs about your capabilities and the biggest roadblock I see is around technical skills. I can’t tell you how often I see women in particular get overwhelmed and shut down when it comes to technology and a limiting belief that they are just not ‘techie’ and I’m using air quotes when I say that.
Newsflash – no one was born techie. It’s not one of those natural born gifts like being musical or an artist. It is a learned skill that anyone can do. The more you tell yourself that you’re just not techie, the more your brain believes you.
Would you ever give your kid a bike and the first time they try it and fall down tell them” oh you’re just not a bike rider, sorry you weren’t born with this skill and it’s never gonna come naturally to you, so you should just pay someone to double you around for the rest of your life.”
Omg did I just age myself there? when was the last time you saw someone doubling on a bike? Maybe you don’t even know what that means!? I guess that’s not a thing anymore is it? I tell you that was my ride to school every day on the back of Joanna Wilson’s banana seat bike.
Anyway, I digress. You wouldn’t tell your child that, you’d teach them how to ride and even then they’d have to try a bunch of things to figure out the peddling thing and the balance thing and the steering thing and how to put it all together and then all of the sudden they’d get the hang of it.
Tech is no different. You just have to play around with it, to figure it out. You basically have to just press bottoms, one at a time to figure out what they do. Listen, If you can create an Instagram story or reel, you can build a real estate website. There’s just more buttons that do more things. The only skills you need to develop to be more techie are patience and persistence. So when it comes to technology stop telling yourself that you suck at it because your brain will believe you and make you suck at it.
Businesses have also learned to take advantage of this overwhelm. They’ll tell you you should be focusing your time on other things in your business and leaving the tech stuff to the experts. Again it’s kinda like relying on someone to have to double you around for the rest of your life.
When you get overwhelmed because you don’t know how to do something, you’ve got three options:
Option number one is learn how to do it yourself. There are loads of training programs available to teach you how to do absolutely everything you could ever need to know how to do in your business.
Now if you hear yourself saying you don’t have the time to learn how to do it yourself and you’re willing to invest some money, then option 2 is to hire a VA to learn how to do it if they don’t already know. In my coaching program for example, I have how-to training available to teach you how to implement anything you could need into your business. Some of my clients will have their VA take the training instead and implement it for them.
Lastly if you’ve got the budget, you could always choose option 3 and that is to hire a professional to do it for you.
Those are your three options if you don’t know how to do something; If you’re just starting out, you’re gonna have to learn some stuff on your own or you’ll go broke very quickly. Once you’re making money though, you can then hire a VA to learn how to do it or three, when you’re able to afford it, hire a professional. The point is, Pick your poison, make a decision and take action.
Alright let’s quickly recap again….when you’re feeling overwhelmed the first question you’re going to ask is “am I feeling overwhelmed because I don’t know what to do?” If so, determine what season you should be focusing on and prioritize tasks in that season first. If you know what you’re supposed to be doing, but you don’t want to do it, ask yourself “does this task not align with my values or is it just pushing me outside of my comfort zone?” If it’s not aligned, don’t do it. If it’s pushing you outside your comfort zone, work on your mindset (which we’ll talk about next) and lastly if you don’t know how to do it and that’s what’s overwhelming you, either decide to learn how or hire a VA or professional to do it for you.
Here’s where things get more complicated. What happens in a situation where you’re still feeling overwhelmed and finding yourself getting distracted easily, even though you have clarity and know what you should be focusing on, you want to do it and you know how to get it done, but for whatever reason….you just not doing it.
Believe it or not, this is THE most common reason people get stuck. Why do we get in our own way like this? Well there’s actually a very logical, scientific explanation, but For it to make sense we need to understand a little about neuropsychology. For starters, it’s not your fault. You can blame it all on your brain. It is estimated that 90% of success in goals, productivity and achievement, happens in your brain. It is the biggest thing that makes us feel overwhelmed and keeps us stuck in patterns of distraction and procrastination.
Because our ability to achieve our dreams and goals is limited by our brains. There is a law of Neuro-achievement that says
we are, what we believe we are. Let that sink in for a minute. What you believe about yourself is what you will become. So it goes without saying that in order to achieve our goals, we need to have a very clear understanding of what beliefs we have about ourselves and our abilities and if those beliefs are not serving us, we need a proven method to change those beliefs and replace them with ones that serve us better.
All of the beliefs that you have, influence the decisions that you make and 90% of those daily decisions come from the non-conscious part of your brain that you’re not even aware of. Those decisions dictate what actions you take. Ultimately it’s the actions that you take or don’t take, that determine the results you see. If what you want, is not aligned with what you believe and is programmed into your subconscious, you’ll have what’s called cognitive dissonance. Unchallenged cognitive dissonance is a Block and it will prevent you from getting the results you desire. You will get stuck in an endless cycle of overwhelm, perfectionism, distraction and lack of clarity and direction, because what you want, is not aligned with what you believe.
But once you know how it all works, you can re-engineer it. You can remove those unhelpful neural pathways otherwise known as beliefs and replace them with new neural networks that allow that automation process to work for you, rather than against you.
But here’s the thing….97% of people will never tap into it.
This will all sound great, they’ll like the instagram quote and give it a couple hearts, but then they’ll hit a resistance point and their brain will say ‘this is too much work, come back over here where you’re comfortable and procrastinate, be overwhelmed, be a perfectionist, never put yourself out there. It’s much easier to stay where you are right now, than it is to change and grow. That’s risky and your brain’s primary job is to keep you safe and familiar.
However….If you change what you tell yourself, you can hardwire your brain for success. If you want to be a top performing Realtor, you need to Create the thoughts, that create the reality you want.
But if we’re being honest, it’s really hard to just think differently because once again….We get in our own way.
For starters, we have all sorts of internal dialogue around achievement, success, money, impact & what we are worth. This internal dialogue was formed from experiences during our childhood when we were extremely vulnerable. When those thoughts were repeated over and over again…
They became automatic negative thoughts, meaning we no longer had control over them and they became hardwired in our subconsciousness. As we repeated these ants – I am not smart enough, I’m not good enough, I’m not outgoing enough, I’m not articulate enough….and the list goes on, uur brain saw those repeated thoughts as truths and created a neural pathway, which formed a belief. A limiting belief. Negative thoughts stick around because we believe them, not because we want them or choose them. They are automatic because of the neural networks you’ve built over time. It is a pattern that served you as a child (albeit poorly) that now sabotages you as an adult.
So is it possible to retrain our brain to think differently, erase old self-limiting beliefs and form new neural networks that allow us to make decisions and take actions to see better results? Absolutely! Does it take hard work? Hell yes. If you wanted to get into the best physical shape of your life you’d have to work at it right? It would have to become a part of your lifestyle right? Well mindset work is the same thing. In order to see change, we must rewire the faulty programming in our brain to create an achievement mindset and I’m not going to lie, it takes consistent effort. But if you are finding yourself in a pattern of overwhelm and distraction that is keeping you stuck and not taking the actions you know you need to be taking to get the results you’re looking for, then it is so worth the effort to work on your rewiring your brain.
Now I couldn’t possibly cover the entire process of how to do this on the podcast, but it is part of the foundational training that all agents in my coaching program go through. I know without a doubt it is the key to success. I can give agents all the how to’s they need to build a thriving business…. but 97% of people won’t implement what they learn. They will just stay stuck in the same patterns of overwhelm, distraction and procrastination. There is a reason the top 1% of realtors make more than the other 99% combined and it is not rocket science ladies. They don’t hold some underground secret to success that you’re not in the loop on. They’re all doing different things too. There’s a 100 different ways you can build a successful real estate business. Lots of different strategies work.
The only secret is…. that it’s not the strategies that get the results. It’s the consistent actions.
One agent can make a million dollars a year door knocking, another one cold calling, another one networking, another one on YouTube, another one using google ads, another one using funnels, another one using social media. They all work! But ONLY when you’re committed to doing it consistently, day in and day out. That’s the only secret to be learned.
The only thing that stands in the way of you reaching your goals is you. You and your habits are the only thing that will get in your way.
So every time from now on when you’re feeling overwhelmed and find yourself getting easily distracted, I want you to ask yourself:
Am I overwhelmed because I don’t know what to be doing? If so, figure out what season your business is in, prioritize projects and focus on one at a time.
Are you overwhelmed because you don’t want to do what you’re being told? If so, decide if it’s because it’s not aligned with your values or because you don’t know how to do it or you’re scared.
If you don’t know how to do it, either learn yourself, hire a VA to learn or hire a professional.
If you’re scared or you’re just not taking action even though you know what to do and how to do it, there’s a limiting belief that is keeping you stuck and until you rewire the faulty programming in your brain, you will stay stuck in the same patterns that aren’t serving you. If you feel like you need help working through this, I do have spots opening up in my Attract Coaching program in September. You can sign up for the waitlist to be notified when registration opens and learn all about the program on my website.
If you’ve been listening to this podcast for awhile, you’ll know that I end every episode with the more you learn the more you’ll earn. Well I’m changing it because it’s not entirely true. The more you learn, the more you’ll earn…..but only if you actually implement what you learn. Learning on it’s own isn’t enough, you’ve got to take consistent action to implement.
If you’re enjoying the podcast, don’t forget to subscribe and as always I’d love it if you took some time to leave me a review on apple podcasts if that’s where you’re listening.
Until next time.