This week I’m going to talk a bit about time. We all have it. We all want more of it. Lots of us are wasting it.
Real Estate agents particularly know the sting of poorly managed time. It’s easy to get caught up with clients or clause dates or closings and everything else that comes up in the run of a week. But what about lead generation? What about personal time? Family time? We all need a balance.
So here are a few time management tips to help you increase productivity, feel less stress, and maybe even find more free time you didn’t know you had/could have!
1. To Do Lists and Timelines
This one is obvious. Look up any time management article and “set priorities” is usually the first tip. Humans are creatures of habit. We LOVE wasting time on the easy or fun tasks. We push back the big tasks on our list. Maybe if we ignore those tasks they’ll go away? Nope. You’ll get up in the morning and there it is, staring at you from the bottom of your to do list. Waiting…and waiting. It’s not going away. So do it already.
What’s your biggest priority? Put that first. Set time limits to each task. Creating deadlines will increase the sense of urgency, which will ultimately increase your production.Think about your day. When are you the most productive? Is it first thing in the morning? Late at night once the kids are in bed? Organize your to-do list accordingly. If you know your brain is fried by 9:00PM, do NOT try to return 10 emails before bed. Do you really think you’re writing quality material at 10:47PM? Go to bed. Save email follow up for the morning.
2. Book Appointments Earlier
The time before an appointment is often wasted. If you know you have a meeting scheduled for 3:30 PM, what are you doing at 2:30 PM? Either prepping for that meeting (which you should have done earlier by the way) or you’re wasting time on small, meaningless tasks—because it’s hard to start a task when you know it will be interrupted. If you plan meetings earlier in the day you leave your afternoons open for productive work and avoid wasted pre-meeting time.
3. Set a Dollar Value to Your Time
Think about how much you could earn this year. How much does that mean you make per hour? If you’re hypothetically paid $500/hour for your time—how much did that last half hour you spent on Facebook just cost you? Stop wasting time on brainless, useless activity.
4. Stop multi-tasking
Okay, you have a to-do list and have laid out your weekly schedule. You know what items need your attention. Now stop trying to do them all at once! Working on a document? Close your browser window. Close your email. Close everything but that doc and focus. Trust me. All those Facebook notifications will still be there when you’re finished your task. They can wait. By trying to work on several items at once you’re misdirecting your attention and slowing yourself down. Give a task your full attention. You will be more productive and produce better work.
5. Choose The Right Atmosphere
Work from a space that suits the task. Why are you trying to write strategic email responses to an irate client in the middle of a noisy office? Go home. Find a quiet café with wifi. If you have a hard time concentrating when you’re surrounded by your office family, work on the mindless tasks then. Maybe that’s a good time to update your database or print off flyers. Be aware of your surroundings.
6. Stop Trying to Be Perfect
Okay, maybe try a little… But don’t let the fear of perfection freeze your production. I tell this to one of my administrators all the time. “It doesn’t have to be perfect. Just put something together and we can always revise it later.” She likes things to be perfect—and that’s great. But when you wait for something to be “just right” before using it, you’re only wasting time and a potentially good resource. Materials, systems, anything can be revised and mastered as you go along.
7. Choose Your Battles
Is there a task on your list that you know is more work than it is really worth? Do you know you’ll spend a lot of your time for very little return? Or perhaps you’re working with a client who you know deep in your gut will only waste your time. Or you know they will most likely cause you stress. Is it worth it? Sometimes the best way to combat time-waste and stress in real estate is: knowing when to walk away.
Whether you’re in real estate or another career, I hope you find at least one of these tips helpful. If you know someone who might find these tips useful, please share!
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