The Rules of Time Management
By far, the toughest ball to juggle when running your own business is time - managing it, using it properly, freeing up more of it, and not wasting it. The solution to this challenge eludes many real estate agents.
By far, the toughest ball to juggle when running your own business is time-managing it, using it properly, freeing up more of it, and not wasting it. The solution to this challenge eludes many real estate agents.
In real estate, there are so many things we have to do. We are also burdened with the fact that there are no set hours. We are not Monday through Friday nine-to-five. We are fluid - which can be both a blessing and a curse.
While we don't have to be at a desk every morning at 8:30, we do have to deal with the client who calls at 8:30 at night (just as we're about to sit down to dinner) and says, "I want to go look at this home right now."
Whenever you run your own business, as we do, then you need to pay particular attention to time. Time is your friend, if you treat it right. Time is also your arch enemy, if you don't. To help you, here are my Rules for Time Management:
Rule #1: There is NO SUCH THING as time management in real estate.
(Threw you for a loop there, didn't I?)
Seriously, you can't manage something that is unmanageable. However, what you CAN manage - instead of time - is TASKS.
Tasks always come first. In order to get tasks done, you need to be organized. And when I say organized, I mean very organized. This means putting together your to-do list and checking things off as you go.
My personal solution to organizing my tasks is what I call "The Hour of Power". This is one hour I set aside every day to work on my business. I could NOT run my business without my Hour of Power. It is what keeps me on track.
During this hour, I shut my phone off. I do not answer the door. I do not respond to emails or text messages. I am completely closed off from the world to ensure maximum focus on my tasks.
Most agents, however, let the interruptions of the day stop them from working on the projects that they need to get done. It gets to the point where many begin to believe that they have a procrastination problem.
It's not a procrastination problem as much as it is a task management problem. They don't know how to say no to all the interruptions that come their way.
So, to master your time in real estate, you must learn to master your tasks - which is as simple as setting aside an hour a day, five days a week, for your Hour of Power. This is YOUR time - nobody else's. Use it to get caught up, to get projects done, and to do everything you've been putting off.
Here are some rules to help make sure that your Hour of Power is yours and yours alone:
- Do NOT Look at Your Email
If you do, you'll get sidetracked and before you know it, you're responding to a ton of people and not getting your tasks done.
- Only Work on Your Project List
Do NOT work on the client who called you last night at 10:00 thinking about selling their house. The Hour of Power is NOT client time. It is YOUR time. Client-sensitive issues get completed during client hours - which is all the hours in the rest of the day. The Hour of Power, though, is inviolate. No clients allowed.
- No Interruptions
No kids. No animals. No co-workers. Make sure you're in a place where you won't be interrupted. If you're in a place that you may, lock the door and put a sign on it that says, "Don't interrupt me. I'm unavailable until ____."
- Do Not Deviate From This Plan
When you spend one hour per day doing this, you will see a huge difference in your business. In fact, I believe you'll experience it in your first week of The Hour of Power. There is nothing like a clear focus on your tasks for 60 minutes a day to get you energized and excited about what you do.
- Keep Track of What You Get Done
You will eventually see that the projects you're working on - the ones that seemed like they were monumental tasks - get done faster than you ever imagined. By keeping track of what you get done and checking off each item as it is completed, you will feel very accomplished at the end of the week.
Sometimes, tasks that appear large in our minds aren't so large in real life once we put diligent focus into them - which is exactly what The Hour of Power allows us to do.
- Break Big Projects into Smaller Pieces
If you're having a hard time with a project, cut it into smaller segments, one for each Hour of Power.
So, stop trying to manage time. As a real estate agent, it can't be done. Instead, learn to manage your tasks. The best way to manage your tasks is to set aside one hour a day for yourself, your Hour of Power.
Start using this technique today. When you do, you'll have a better handle on your projects and your business will be re-energized with your enthusiasm for getting things done.