Double Your Productivity Using The Science of Willpower

Did you know, your brain is roughly 2% of your body weight but it uses 20% of your energy?1

Why is that?

It’s because discipline (willpower) requires our brain which in turn depletes our energy.

Throughout the day, we exercise discipline to make a million decisions.  This is why it’s much harder to do things later in the day that require our brain (and energy).  This psychological principal is known as Ego Depletion.

In the most famous study on Ego Depletion, half of the participants were told to resist eating radishes (a presumably simple task), and the other to resist eating cookies (not so easy). Afterwards, both groups were given an unsolvable problem. Those who had their willpower depleted by resisting the cookies gave up twice as fast as those who only had to resist eating radishes.

This study and numerous others show that willpower can be depleted. So, what can we learn from this, and how can we apply it to our work in real estate? Sometimes, we make life more difficult than it needs to be. What we need isn’t more willpower, it’s just a different way to prioritize the day so that willpower doesn’t become an issue at all.

Do The Most Important Tasks First

The most important appointments you will ever have in your life are not the appointments with other people, they are the appointments with yourself – the appointments that most people will never see, but cause the best results. So here’s the secret.

Schedule appointments with yourself in the morning and appointments with others in the afternoon. What do I mean by this?

As I’ve talked about before, there is something I call the BIG 5. These are the 5 most important activities all top producing agents should be spending the majority of their time doing:

  1. Listing presentations
  2. Negotiating an offer
  3. Showing property
  4. Prospecting
  5. Lead Follow Up

The first three are all appointments with other people. These appointments don’t require as much discipline to keep because they involve meeting someone, which holds you accountable. So let’s leave those to the afternoon, when willpower is low.

But the two most challenging appointments are lead follow up and prospecting – both appointments with yourself. Appointments with yourself are very difficult to keep.

You need to do those when you have the most amount of discipline and the least amount of distractions – first thing in the morning.

If you could consistently make room at the beginning of the day for these more challenging tasks, I would argue that you could DOUBLE your productivity. Not to mention, you will feel more accomplished, knowing you started off the day by eating that frog.

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.” – Mark Twain

Remember, it’s a beautiful life. Make it count!



[1] Articles/Baumeister et al. %281998%29.pdf