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3 Productivity Hacks to Get More Done Each Day

By Brian Buffini

Do you want to get more done each day? Many of us struggle to get through our to-do lists and we may feel frustrated if we’re unable to check everything off. It’s thought that productivity hinges on working harder; while it’s important to work hard, working smarter is critical if you want to complete the activities that drive your business to succeed. What does ‘working smarter’ entail? Prioritizing your activities, working in bursts and automating your life.

worksmarter

Pick your priorities.

Many of us write to-do lists with every intention of crossing everything off of it. Then life happens and we get so distracted by the events of the day that we may not cross anything off the list. Break the cycle by narrowing your list to one or two priorities that you have to complete no matter what. When you focus on one or two priorities, instead of a laundry list of activities of varied importance, you’re less inclined to become sidetracked by distractions. Once you complete your priority items, then you can move on to the less important tasks.

Work in focused blocks.

The key to getting more done isn’t pressing your nose to the grindstone all day; it’s working in blocks with short breaks in-between. All work and no breaks is the fast-track to burnout. Why? We’re not wired to focus on one thing for long periods of time, and when you do, you may be left feeling tired, unmotivated and less productive. However, if you focus on one thing for a chunk of time—typically 60-90 minutes—and follow it with a break, you’ll get more done. Breaks are vital to your productivity. Your brain needs time to process the information it receives and refresh itself before you jump into the next task. Working in defined surges ensures you’ll get the most out of each hour of your day. Schedule breaks into your day to ensure you’re taking them.

Automate.

The fewer decisions you make during the day, the more productive you can be. Little decisions, such as what to eat for lunch and what to wear each day can take up valuable time you could spend working on your business. Instead, plan your outfits and your meals at the beginning of the week.

Use for CRM (on your laptop, smartphone or tablet) to plan your day and week. Additionally, stay consistent with your marketing by scheduling your social media posts, marketing emails, etc. The more you can automate your life, the fewer decisions you’ll need to make during the day, freeing up more of your time to be productive.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

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Millennials Look beyond Urban Areas When Putting Down Roots

By Keith Loria

The 2016 National Association of REALTORS® Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends study revealed that more millennials are purchasing single-family houses outside of urban areas than ever before. In fact, millennials represented 35 percent of all buyers compared to 26 percent from Generation X, and 9 percent from the Silent Generation.

The numbers show that millennials buying in an urban or central city area decreased to 17 percent from 21 percent a year ago, and the younger the buyer, the older the home they purchased.

“The median age of a millennial homebuyer is 30 years old, which typically is the time in life where one settles down to marry and raise a family,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Even if an urban setting is where they’d like to buy their first home, the need for more space at an affordable price is for the most part pushing their search further out.”

While the number of millennial renters continues to climb in urban areas, the generation is choosing elsewhere when making the move to buy. This decision is boosted by price, limited inventory and the need for space.

Appealing to the millennial buyer starts in a digital world. It’s important that your home is shown on the Internet in the best way possible. This includes plenty of photos, creative language and that special something to make it all stand out.

The survey showed that almost all millennial house hunters used the Internet and a real estate agent during the home search process, most likely turning to a mobile device or tablet when conducting a search.

Millennials are said to be tech-savvy and big believers in multi-tasking. In addition, they thrive on instant gratification and are said to have shorter attention spans. Inside the home, millennials are impressed with entertainment rooms over dining rooms, and offices over extra bedrooms. They care about technology and environmentally friendly fixtures, so highlight those in your materials.

Many are just starting to have children, so make sure your agent has information about nearby pre-schools and family-friendly activities in the neighborhood.

And since many are buying a home for the first time, it’s important to provide information about mortgages, taxes and insurance issues. You’ll also want to have checklists prepared that your agent can easily email.

If you’re truly looking to attract millennial buyers, stage the home with unique furniture. You could also bring in some millennials and ask their honest opinion in regard to the house and what’s in it. If there are certain items that they feel are old-fashioned, it’s a good bet that their opinion will be shared by others.

At a time when millennials are gobbling up houses like never before, make sure you do all you can to attract them to your home.

Contact our office today for more information about attracting millennial buyers.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

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Smart Home, Happy Pet: How Today’s Tech Is Changing the Game for Pet Owners

By Terri Engels

The smart home revolution has led to some mind-boggling advances to our daily routine. From brewing a world-class cup of coffee from your smart phone to streaming your favorite Spotify playlist through a lightbulb in the kitchen, it seems there’s no end to the daily life hacks now available to us. However, it’s not just humans that are benefiting from this otherworldly technology.

It should be no great mystery to the devoted pet parents out there that in 2014 Americans spent $19.7 billion on their beloved furry children. This means most owners want the very best for their pets and are willing to spend the necessary money to achieve that. There have been several smart home innovations geared towards keeping pets happy, healthy and stimulated that showcase this trend – so what are they?

Staying Cool and Keeping Warm

One of the main concerns when leaving a pet at home during extreme weather is how they would fare in the sweltering heat or blisteringly cold. Heat especially can put your canine compadre at risk. Did you know that a dog is susceptible to a heat stroke when the heat index hits 105°F – a level that can be reached when the weather is actually as low as 90°F?

In the past, pet owners would simply set the thermostat before they left for the day and hope for the best, disregarding rising temperatures and the inherent inconsistencies of many animal systems. But luckily for the more diligent pet owners, smart thermostats now enable you to tinker and toy with the temperature of your home in order to completely meet your pet’s needs. This is because your smart thermostat can be accessed by your smart phone, tablet, or computer regardless of where you are.

Many smart thermostats are relatively inexpensive to purchase and install and offer energy savings for your home. Sometimes smart solutions are a complete no brainer; this is one of those cases!
 

Meal-Time Innovations

Another struggle with busy pet parents can be ensuring you get home in time for their dinner. As pets thrive on routine, skipping or delaying feeding times can be to their detriment.

However, smart technology is now enabling owners to make feeding time happen from afar.

For example, the Petnet SmartFeeder is making waves due to its wealth of features, ease of use and low price tag. Not only can you dispense food from your smart phone, but you can also control how fast the food comes out of the feeder and into the bowl. This is helpful for dogs (and cats) who treat their mouths like vacuum cleaners, which in turn can lead to a dangerous amount of bloating.

In fact, these smart feeders are so smart that they can also notify owners when the food supply is running low, as well as offer completely customizable scheduling options. A welcome innovation for when your plate is full but you want your pets’ to be too!

Potty Time

Regardless of how well-trained your dog is, it’s simply not fair to force your pup to hold it in if you’re away from home for an extended period of time. Happily, smart home innovations have made it much simpler for your canine to go outside without fear of letting anything else in.

This is due to the wave of smart dog doors that have entered the market. These smart solutions go beyond the traditional doggy-doors by using radio waves to let your dog in and out. This is accomplished by a simple key that attaches to your dog’s collar and alerts these devices to open and close accordingly. Now your dog can take care of business regardless of your situation.

Safety Solutions

Above all else, you want your pet to be safe when you aren’t around. So how can smart security devices help you kick your worry to the curb?

“You’d be surprised about the number of calls and emails we get from people specifically asking about security for their pets,” says Jay Robertson from Home Security Company Protection 1. “It’s important to note that many systems you find aren’t specifically set up to monitor pets, which can cause false alarms and a lot of unnecessary worry. Utilizing sensitive motion detection is key.”

Further, a smart security system is important due to the fact that pet theft has increased each year since 2012. Many smart security solutions offer real time video feeds that can be accessed through any smart phone or computer at any given time.

From temperature setting to feeding scheduling and all the way to motion sensors, there are a lot of new answers for your smart pet concerns, ensuring that tail will be wagging for years to come.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for real estate tips and trends.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

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