(This is Part 1 of a four-part series. See Part 2: Time misconceptions hurt real estate productivity; Part 3: Real estate success: For love or money? and Part 4: Time tips help the real estate day fly by.)

Are you struggling with too much to do and not enough time to do it? Are you exhausted from working 60, 70 or 80 hours a week? Are you wishing for more time to take a vacation or just have two days in a row off? If so, making a few simple changes can have a tremendous effect on how much time you have.

Cellular technology coupled with poor time management is now stealing our most private time. I remember attending a conference where an agent proudly said she was available 24-7 for her customers. She went on to add, “I even sleep with my cell phone under my pillow.”

Even worse, you have probably observed people walking into a restroom stall while they’re having a business conversation on their cell phone. Are we so busy we no longer have time to disconnect?

Most real estate professionals struggle to manage their time effectively. Emergencies crop up constantly. Each client feels he or she should have first call on our time, especially when something goes wrong. Because of this, many agents put their clients’ needs ahead of everything else, including their families. The question we must address is how to regain control of our time.

The first step is simple awareness. Many agents function in reaction mode. This means whatever is most urgent grabs their attention. In contrast, effective time management requires a shift to response mode. Response means you consciously decide to stick to your priorities rather than being distracted by urgent situations that are not as important.

To increase your awareness, begin by tracking where you spend your time. Don’t try to change anything. Your only goal is to discover how you spend your time each day. You can use your computer or your appointment book for tracking. For the next week, record how much time you spend on lead generation, appointments, handling transaction problems, family time, personal time, commuting, chores, etc. You will be surprised at how many wasted hours appear when you keep track of your time. Be sure to note time you spend surfing the Web, playing computer games or chatting at work about non-business matters. Most people miss these subtle time wasters.

The second step is to take the quiz below to see how well you currently manage your time. Mark each item as True or False.

1. I know exactly how many hours I spent last week prospecting for new clients and referrals.

2. I have written goals for the year, for this month, and for each week.

3. I have a daily list of 3-7 activities I much accomplish each day.

4. Lead generation is always one of my top three priorities.

5. When I have a time conflict, my lead generation time has the same priority as a listing appointment.

6. I seldom feel anxious about how much I need to accomplish in any one given day.

7. I know the lead generation activities I most enjoy and have built my business on these core activities.

8. I know the real estate activities I hate doing and have delegated these to a partner, an assistant, or a transaction coordinator.

9. I schedule recreation for myself every week.

10. I track how many hours I must prospect to generate a signed listing as well as how many hours I must prospect to generate a closed sale.

11. I have at least three dinners a week with my family or other people I enjoy outside the real estate business.

12. I can concentrate on a single activity for an hour without difficulty.

13. My work area or desk is free from magazines or other material that could distract me from my work.

14. I feel I am in control of my time rather than being a slave to it.

Scoring: If you answered “False” to four or more questions, you are not in complete control of your time!

To learn how you can create more time when there isn’t any, look for next Friday’s column, “Ridding Yourself of Time Management Myths.”

Bernice Ross is an owner of Realestatecoach.com and can be reached at bernice@realestatecoach.com.


What’s your opinion? Send your Letter to the Editor to opinion@inman.com.

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