When you’re working in the fast and frenzied world of real estate, there are never enough hours in the day to handle everything that gets thrown your way.
How can you get everything done when you’re being pulled in every direction? These five time management tips will help you find balance in your day and make the most of every minute.
1. Know the difference between urgent and important
When you’re a real estate agent, things are constantly popping up. Being able to sort out what’s actually critical, what can wait and what can be delegated will go a long way in making you feel more in control of your time.
For example, new leads need to be responded to as quickly as possible. Self-promotion efforts, however, may fall lower on your priority list than direct interactions with clients.
Checking your email is also important, but if something is truly urgent, you’ll typically get a phone call. Break free from your inbox by setting specific times each day to check your email.
2. Set daily, weekly, and monthly goals
It only takes a minute to map out your intentions. Use your monthly goals to work out your weekly goals, and then break those down into daily objectives and tasks.
Write out your goals and post them where you can see them. (A whiteboard or a note on your desktop are two good options.) This will help you keep focused and properly evaluate distractions as they come up.
Use your daily goals as a barometer for every task, request, or new opportunity that comes up. Will accepting a phone call, a meeting or a request help move you toward completing your goals? Or will they hinder or distract from them? Don’t feel bad if you need to politely decline or offer it to someone else.
3. Track your to-do list in one place
Don’t rely on your memory to get everything done. You’ll be much saner — and much more productive — if you start writing down everything you need to do, including new tasks.
The secret to making a to-do list that actually works, however, is to be sure you keep all of your tasks in one spot. If some of your to-dos live on your phone, others on your computer, and still more on various scraps of paper, you’ll end up even more frustrated.
Pick one place for your to-do list to live and stick with it. Try to do somewhere you can easily access it whenever you need, like a note-taking app on your phone.
4. Use time blocking and batching
Time blocking is getting a lot of attention these days, and with good reason. It can be an effective way to minimize procrastination and distractions.
Blocking consists of setting aside a block of time every day (or every week) for a specific set of tasks. That means closing out other browser tabs, turning your phone on silent and focusing solely on the task at hand for the allotted amount of time. This helps you tackle the critical stuff so you don’t have to worry about when it will get done.
Batching goes hand-in-hand with time blocking. The more you’re able to block out your days, the more you’ll be able to batch. For instance, you can block out your marketing tasks then batch them all together so you get them all done on the same day each week.
5. Set up office hours
If constant client calls and requests are bogging down your days, consider setting some boundaries. Decide what days and times you’ll be available to clients and colleagues, and post those hours everywhere (your website, your desk/door, your email signature, your voicemail, etc.). Then stick with them!
There will be times when you need to be responsive after hours (such as with new leads, during high-pressure negotiations, or in urgent situations), but in general, sticking to your “off hours” will protect your personal life from being consumed by the world of real estate.
The bottom line
Time management is tricky for many real estate agents, because your days are flexible and always changing. But focusing on what matters most and setting strict barriers around the rest will help you not only be more productive, but also maintain a balanced working life.