Hours turn into days, which blur into weeks and then months, and often we’re left blinking into the bewildered eyes in the mirror, no better off today than last year.

Holistic planning coupled with dogged determination and consistent follow through can squeeze the most out of every hour, resulting in more productive weeks and months. Here are my personal top 5 tips to accelerate your professional and personal growth.

Your Schedule

This is about broad strokes, not micromanaging. Annually, plan your life first.  Schedule the priorities for you and your family; birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, school schedules, date nights, volunteer commitments, personal time, recreation, etc. Then create your business plan around it. Your business plan should be simple. Include what you want to accomplish this year, how much money you want to make, how many transactions you will have to close to reach that number and which activities will get you there. Then commit to a 6-week action plan; every six weeks, take the time to step back, review your life and business plans, and complete the activities. Analyze what works, do more of that, and learn from and change what doesn’t.

Plan the night before

Write down the top three tasks, in order, you want to accomplish tomorrow focusing on the tasks that will take your life and business further. Then, before you go to bed, take 120 seconds to close your eyes, breathe slowly and visualize what worked today. First thing tomorrow, take another 120 seconds to visualize how you want the day to go. See yourself accomplishing your list. Imagine being well-received by everyone you meet. Creative visualization and planning my top three activities the night before have made more of a positive impact on my progress this year than anything else.

Keep learning  

Regardless of how experienced you are, you can always fine tune and improve what you’re doing. Seek out books, podcasts, courses, people to shadow.  Schedule time for learning and personal development into your life and business plans. Think of the last six transactions you closed – what could have been better; your negotiation skills, your presentation? Ask yourself, would you buy from you?

Make it personal

Do everything in your power to keep track of what’s important to other people. Update your database as soon as you return to your car following an appointment (not while driving of course!), write note cards and schedule follow-ups.  Be sincere in your interest and concern for others and act on it.

Aim higher

Aim higher every year. Be kinder to yourself. Aim for better connections with the people you love, close more transactions, make more money, be more consistent, hone your skills.  Surround yourself with people who are already achieving what you want to achieve. Reach out to the movers and shakers in your company and ask how they did it. Ask yourself effective questions like, “How can I get the most and best out of myself?” and “How can I make a positive impact in this situation?”

Strive to raise the bar in your life, your business and in the real estate industry. I’ve seen people who have been in this business a long time who become complacent. They stop learning, stop making connections, and sooner or later their business dies. Aim higher. No one woke up this morning and prayed, ‘Dear God, please make me average.