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8 ways Realtors can use Gmail to increase productivity during the busy season

Whether you’re a beginner or an advanced Gmail user, there are ample ways to eliminate wasted time, critical as we enter the busy season.




No matter how hard we try, when the busy home selling season comes around, it may feel impossible to get it all done. From generating new leads to servicing your current clients, you could work nonstop and still have more things to do.

When this time of year is in full swing, you need to have the right tools to help you focus your day-to-day workflow, decrease inefficient business practices, and increase your productivity. To that end, Gmail can help more than you might think.

Gmail Can Streamline Your Productivity

  1. Unfiled inbox. Did you know that you can configure your Gmail account to receive email from all of your different email accounts? Long gone are the days when you check one email address in one place, and another somewhere else. Go to Settings > Accounts and you can set up all of the email to be received within your Gmail account. (Level of Difficulty: Medium)
  2. Labels. Labels are akin to folders, and they are a great way to keep each transaction, prospect, or project together. What’s nice about Labels is that once an email is labeled, the Label shows at a glance in the inbox. Go to Settings > Labels and you can create a label for each one of your current transactions, clients, or projects. (Level of Difficulty: Easy)
  3. Filters. Used in conjunction with labels, filters will increase your organization without taking any of your time. A filter is a rule (so to speak) that Gmail will follow for a group of emails. For example, you can create a filter which states that any past and future emails from your seller on Pennsylvania Avenue will automatically be labeled The White House. Or, you can create a filter for all of the invoices you receive to be placed somewhere else or even deleted. Go to Settings > Filters or use the search bar at the top of the Gmail inbox to create filters that will save you time and keep you organized. (Level of Difficulty: Medium)
  4. Signature Lines. You can set up a signature line for each email address you configure in Gmail at Settings > General. Previously unavailable, Gmail now allows for text formatting, insertion of hyperlinks, and other nifty features. (Level of Difficulty: Easy)
  5. Canned Response Lab. Do you always send the same to different parties? Do you waste time typing that message every time you send it? If so, then you need to enable the Canned Response Lab. Go to Settings > Labs and you can enable the lab there. One other cool feature of the lab is that it can be used to house multiple signature lines. While Gmail does allow a single signature for each email address you configure, users who want to use multiple signature lines from a single email address can use the Canned Response Lab to get the feature they need. (Level of Difficulty: Medium)
  6. Gmelius. This browser extension (according to their website) helps enhance privacy and boost productivity. With free and paid versions (a one-time fee for the paid version), Gmelius has many options for email inbox configuration. Generally, Gmelius helps users to configure a cleaner, more efficient inbox. Through Gmelius, you can select to have an ad free workspace, add attachment icons, remove Google+ activity, and customize navigation buttons among other things. (Level of Difficulty: Easy)
  7. Streak. Best explained, Streak is a CRM that lives inside Gmail (only for use on Google Chrome). With a strong pipeline management feature and the ability to customize fields, it is a quick and efficient way to manage your sales pipeline within your email (so that you do not have to jump between email and your CRM). While you can customize any pipeline, the folks at Streak recently added a Real Estate Pipeline, which is a good place to get started. Note that there is also a Streak app that you can install on mobile devices. (Level of Difficulty: Medium to Hard)
  8. Gmail app. If you are going to work hard on getting your inbox organized to increase your productivity, then by all means you should be using the Gmail app on your mobile device. Within the Gmail app, you can see the labels you created to control the enormity of your inbox. Considering abandoning the built-in mail product and install the Gmail app on your smartphone or tablet. (Level of Difficulty: Easy)

It’s true that getting organized to increase your productivity and streamline your business may take time. But, if you devote a few hours to the tips and organizational tools provided here, the time you will save on the back end will be ten fold.

Got any more cool Gmail productivity tips? Feel free to share them in the comments section below.

Melissa is an in-demand business success speaker and author, as well as a real estate broker with thousands of short sale transactions under her belt. She leverages her experience as a short sale insider to motivate thousands of business professionals to plan their careers better, execute more effectively on their plan, and earn more because of it.


Malls repurposed as housing could bring back discrimination

(EDITORIAL) Recycling dead malls into community colleges and libraries are smart ideas, but is there a deeper, darker implication behind the affordable housing idea?



malls changed into housing

Clever investors want to transform defunct malls into affordable housing. This sounds like a win-win-win at first. It’s helpful, useful, practical–and doesn’t necessarily require federal funding. What a warm and fuzzy idea that can help people and make use of existing structures. Yaaaay!

We need more affordable housing. Nobody will deny that. According to Pew Trusts, the 2018 U.S. housing market was at its least affordable in ten years. Adaptive reuse is a brilliant idea on paper. However, “affordable housing” is not merely a phrase; it holds legal connotations and requirements, both on national and state levels. It’s…complex.

Then my inner skeptic popped up and whispered in my ear, “Careful. What if it’s a trap?” History tells us to be wary of separating people by socioeconomic status (often–though not always–related to race). I started thinking about the long, troubled history of the “projects” in the U.S., which served to effectively segregate low-income families from the post-New Deal era until modern days. This in turn led to less investment in the area, meaning residents had to contend with fewer schools, grocery stores, public transportation routes, and the like.

Perhaps the adaptive reuse of the malls is not so nefarious. After all, these malls are already in residential areas. Therefore, one hopes, decent schools, supermarkets, and public transportation already exist, just as in other areas of a given city. The residents of one mall, one housing development, should not significantly change the housing market and available local resources by much, right? It will be a seamless integration of a whole new group of people into a neighborhood, right? We hope that’s true.

Maybe it won’t be a case of white flight, AKA “There goes the neighborhood” all over again. After all, the ethnic diversity isn’t specified beyond “workforce, student and 55 plus housing,” future residents, as defined by Richard Rubin, CEO of Repvblic, the company leading the charge to invest in old malls and big box stores. It sounds like a positive thing that the new, “recycled” housing developments he’s investing in don’t require federal funding to get built.

Affordable housing is a challenge wherever you look. Investors in multi-million dollar, sexy and modern high rises aren’t traditionally going after the affordable housing market, because what’s in it for them? In Austin, where The American Genius is based, developers already balk at the idea of including the mandated affordable housing units required for new construction. Some developers have even paid the city millions of dollars to get around the requirement.

Adaptive reuse by recycling dead malls into affordable housing feels like a creative, beneficial idea. Yet, I encourage us to delve a bit deeper and ask the hard questions. I mean, there must be a reason there are more movies about hookers with hearts of gold than real estate investors with hearts of gold. This calls for cautious optimism, but also reading between the lines and paying close attention to the details as this type of housing develops.

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Want to move past your burnout? Stop using multiple lists

(EDITORIAL) How my evolving understanding of “burnout” helped me learn an important distinction between being busy and being productive.



too busy to burnout

When I used to hear the word “burnout” I would picture the freaks from the gone-much-too-soon series, Freaks and Geeks, as they would bum around outside, smoking in between classes. Now when I hear the word “burnout,” I think of myself a few years ago as my brain was being fried by life.

I wasn’t smoking between classes, rather running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to figure out how to manage all of my tasks at hand. I’d make a to-do list, see everything I had to do, and drown in overwhelm.

I’d spend my days fretting over how busy I was, and nights catching up with friends via phone, talking about how busy I was and how there just wasn’t enough time in the day.

Notice that nowhere in here was I actually doing anything productive. I fell into a vicious hole of being so consumed with how much I had to do, I wasn’t taking the time to do anything but stress.

At first, it made me feel interesting and somewhat important that I had so much going on. I quickly realized that no one cares and it’s not that interesting (I also quickly remembered how much I love to just relax and not have something planned every day of the week).

This is where I learned the of the most important lessons to date – being busy does not equal being productive.

It got to a point where I was running on fumes and eventually had this epiphany that how I was operating was doing nothing to help me. This was in part brought on by seeing someone close to me behave the same way, and I was able to actually look at how defeating it was.

From there, I made it a point to change my tune. Instead of wasting time writing and re-writing to do lists, I challenged myself to make one master to do list and accomplish at least one item upon completion of writing the list. This helped shake off the cobwebs and I was able to feel a bit of weight off of my shoulders.

The ideas surrounding the hustle mentality had me so consumed and all I was doing was hustling my way to nowhere. After feeling the burnout, seeing someone else operate that same way, and seeing that hustle mentality mocked, I was finally able to break free and get stuff done.

And, guess what? I have even more to do now, but feel more calm and collected than ever. I just have to repeat the mantra: being busy does not equal being productive. Being productive – especially in silence – is so much better and much more rewarding.

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10 Productivity tips to get the most out of yourself and your team

(EDITORIAL) Keeping up productivity can be a hard goal to shoot for, so sometimes It helps to see what others are doing. Here’s our list of 10 ways to stay productive



productivity in a team

Funny thing about inverse relationships, they are so counterintuitive. Like working hard. That is an example of doing what you think will be beneficial, but usually just makes the job what you expected, hard. When it comes to productivity, harder isn’t smarter, as the saying goes.

And, if you are sick of the word “hack” we hear you. But, finding ease in work will allow you to be more productive and with better results.

We offer you this list of stories to meet your productivity needs. Here’s to finding work-life balance, seeking ease in the moment and rocking out a productive day!

1. If you’re trying to be more productive, don’t focus so much on time management. Instead, consider energy management to get more out of less effort.

2. Meetings suck, wait I mean they are a time suck. Yeah, that’s it. Everyone knows some meetings are unnecessary and could easily be handled through an email. Yet, many supervisors are hesitant. But, there’s an app for that now. Here’s to meeting less and actually getting work done.

3. Kondo your desk, for God’s sake. If you say you are more productive with a messy desk, yet you have a sandwich from last week and those TPS reports you were supposed to turn in weeks ago somewhere under a pile of crap, you need to clean up your act. Nobody wants to get a report covered in coffee, chocolate and mustard.

4. Are you agile? I mean, really. Is your team as productive as it could be? Whether you are a PM or a real estate agent, if you need a tool that helps your team stay agile and nimble, this will help you and your crew kick ass and take names.

5. Cut the team some slack. Too many messages and you forget what you were originally doing. Slack thought about that and has a way to make the app work for your team so you can be more effective and keep the workflow moving.

6. Working remotely has some serious benefits, notwithstanding working in your PJ’s. Convincing your boss you will actually work and not binge on Netflix may be the challenge. And, for many folks, working from home is a much more productive option. Yet, anyone who has worked remotely also knows it can be easy to get caught up in work and miss human interactions, leading to burnout. Here’s how to make the remote transition work for you.

7. Sometimes more is less. That is the truth when it comes to work where quality beats quantity all day long. Our 9-5 workdays may be good for some, but not for all. And, putting in 80-hour weeks may seem righteous dude, but what do you really accomplish? Kick productivity in the butt and consider are you using your hours wisely.

8. Want to be a baller in the workplace? Then get focused. According to the experts, those at the top of their game aren’t necessarily working harder or smarter, they are just hyper-focused. Here are some good habits to have if you want to get ahead.

9. If it seems everyone has a podcast, you are correct! Some of those podcasts are useful, especially if you are trying to get ahead and find ways to use your productivity to the fullest. Here’s a list of podcasts that will fill your free time with useful information.

10. Creative folks love to start new projects. They can be like kids in the candy store any time they have a new idea they must explore. The problem is that whether you are an artist, writer, graphic/web/software designer or developer, you may start a lot of projects and finish few. Here’s how to finish what you start!

By now, you know what information to keep and you are ready to get your rear in gear. We wish you all the success with your future projects. We know you will be diligent and hyper-productive!

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