One of the biggest advantages of being a real estate agent is that you are your own boss, and one of the biggest advantages of being your own boss is creating your own schedule. Having a flexible, adaptable schedule is one of the biggest perks of being a realtor; that being said, it’s important to know how to manage your time well if you want to be successful in your business. Without concrete direction from a supervisor, it can be challenging for some agents to structure their time in a way that will make them the most productive and efficient. That’s why it is absolutely essential to learn great time management skills in order to be an accomplished real estate agent. Making small changes in your daily habits can lead to big changes, and eventually increase your overall productivity and success.
One of the most valuable skills that will contribute to your success as a real estate agent—or any field of work, really—is organization. This means organizing your daily plans, your physical workspace, and your short-term and long-term goals. When it comes to daily planning, find a method that works best for you and stick to it. In this day and age, many people prefer to manage their schedules electronically. Apps such as iCalendar and Google calendar are a great place to start, as they are extremely user-friendly and seamlessly coordinate with e-mail accounts and mobile apps. Start your day by making a to-do list of all the small, yet important tasks that you wish to complete, such as making calls to clients, sending e-mails and completing paperwork. Then, review your calendar, highlighting the essential events of the day, such as in-person meetings and conference calls. Once you’ve identified your previously scheduled events, fill the rest of the time with tasks from your to-do list, and schedule out specific times in your day to complete each one. If you start each day with a plan and stick to your schedule, you will find yourself accomplishing much more in a shorter amount of time.
Another great tip for managing your time is following the “3D” system—for every task you must complete for the day, ask yourself, “Do I Do it? Do I Delegate it? Or do I Dump it?” Delegation and elimination are absolutely essential for good time management. There are certain tasks which you should certainly be accomplishing yourself, such as making important client phone calls and following up with leads, but when it comes to smaller things, many times we find ourselves spending too much time focusing on smaller tasks that others can do for us. If you have a personal assistant, utilize them for things such as daily scheduling and smaller administrative tasks. And of course, if you find yourself spending too much time on smaller items on your list that are not contributing to the growth of your business, it’s time to eliminate those. When you take a moment to re-evaluate your priorities each day, you will find that you will become much more industrious with your time.
So, where should your priorities lie and how should you be spending your time in order to grow your business?
Your first priority should always be client communication. Be sure to schedule time in your day to return phone calls, texts and emails in a timely manner. Maintaining efficient communication with your clients will make them feel valued and important, and you will be more likely to have successful sales. However, be sure to let your clients know your preferred times that they contact you, and give them a response window. That way, you will be able to manage good communication in an allotted time frame and won’t feel overloaded with constant texts, calls and emails.
It’s also very important to take some time to evaluate your long-term goals. It’s easy to get caught up scheduling every tiny task you must complete for the day, and it can be easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. However, keeping on track with your long-term goals is absolutely vital to growing your business. Having a 3-6-9 Vision Board in your office can serve as a reminder of the goals you wish to achieve for the long run. Create a 30-day section, a 60-day section and a 90-day section. Under each section, list specific and attainable goals that you wish to accomplish within these time frames. By creating feasible deadlines and placing these deadlines in a visible place, you will always have your long-term goals in the back of your mind and you will find it easier to accomplish these goals when you design a time-frame and stick to it.
One final tip that is sure to enhance your time management skills is to unplug. That’s right—take some time each day, even if it’s only for twenty minutes, to turn off your computer, phone, iPad and all of your electronic devices. While it might seem counterproductive to turn off the devices that are generally vital to your productivity, it is essential to set aside a short amount of time each day to reflect, brainstorm and create. Often times, overuse of our electronic devices can cause stress and make us feel overwhelmed. As realtors, we are in constant contact and communication with everyone; checking emails, texts and calls becomes an obsession, and we often feel that losing even a moment of connection will set us back. However, this is not the case. Taking a few moments each day to unplug and disconnect can allow the quiet, thoughtful time that is essential for reflection and creativity. Setting aside your distractions for a short time each day will allow you to think about how you plan to move forward with achieving your goals. You will certainly find that making a habit of briefly disconnecting each day will leave you calmer, more collected and prepared to face your challenges head on.
When it comes to time management and productivity, remember that the ultimate key is to find the system that works best for you. Everyone has their own organizational style, so experiment with different methods and tools until you find the style that makes you most productive. Once you find your unique style, start building good time management habits and you’re sure to be successful in no time.