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

Awareness is the first step to controlling your time, but is your thinking holding you back from having the life you deserve?

One of the greatest blocks to personal and business success is the myth, “I don’t have enough time.” Some agents spend 60 hours per week closing fewer than 20 transactions per year. Other agents who close more than 100 transactions annually may work fewer than 40 hours per week. What is the difference? Most top producers have learned how to circumvent the five time management myths listed below.

Myth #1: “I have to be available 24/7 in order to be successful.”

This is a common trap. Agents who feel they must be available 24/7 are afraid their connection is so weak they will lose the client relationship unless they are available on a moment’s notice. To avoid this trap, build strong client relationships by taking the initiative. Each week, update sellers on showings, new listings and sales, as well as your weekly marketing plan. When you must leave a phone message, avoid interrupting a client at work by leaving a message at their home. In terms of your buyers, update them twice weekly with new listings in their price range. Better yet, have an assistant handle these tasks. Remember, the biggest complaint about our profession is that we don’t stay in touch–not that we are not available on a moment’s notice.

Myth #2: “I’m the only one who can do it.”

If you make more than minimum wage selling real estate, you are not managing your time wisely if you are doing minimum wage jobs such as pasting labels on postcards, filling brochure boxes, running documents, or picking up keys. Consider hiring someone to do these routine tasks. If your office has a transaction coordinator, try using this service for at least one transaction. Delegating these chores creates more time off and gives you more time to work with buyers and sellers.

Myth #3: “I can’t afford to take time off.”

When you’re overly stressed and running on adrenaline, your life can spin out of control. You may be stopped for speeding, have an accident, provoke an argument with a client, or become ill. When your life is in chaos, you will attract clients and situations that are chaotic as well. To break this cycle, take a minimum of one day a week off and at least one weekend a month. If you are worried about being available for emergencies, pair up with another agent you trust and cover for each other on your days off.

Myth #4: “Taking time off will cause my business to decrease.”

Surprisingly, the exact opposite is true. Have you ever noticed that the moment you plan a vacation (i.e. create lots of space in your schedule), your business immediately increases? Creating space actually allows you to attract more business. When your schedule is jam-packed, you lack space for new business to appear. To create more space in your business, clear your schedule for a vacation, clean your closet, or clean your desk.

Myth #5: “I can’t live without my beeper/cell phone.”

Did you know that your beeper and cell phone might make you less efficient? Each time you interrupt another activity to answer a call or a page, it can take up to 20 minutes to regain your concentration. If you take calls or pages when you are with clients, you send a nonverbal message they are not as important as your incoming call. To break this pattern, try this experiment for one week.

1. Leave your beeper/cell phone turned off. Forward all calls to your office voice-mail system.

2. Leave a message like the one below on your office phone:

“Good morning, this is Sally Agent. Today is Friday, October 15. I’ll be out of the office prospecting for buyers for my listings today and will be returning phone calls between 3:00 and 5:00 PM this afternoon. Please leave your name and a number where I can reach you at that time. If this is an emergency, I check this machine throughout the day and will return your call as soon as possible. 1022 Spruce and 1630 Bay are under contract. The rest of my listings are still available. 145 Oak will be open Sunday from 2:00-5:00 PM. Thanks very much for calling and have a great day!”

Return your calls within the time parameters stated in your message. In addition, even when you are in the office, avoid interruptions by letting calls go to voicemail.

Try the suggestions listed above for a week. You will be surprised by how much more time you have!

Dispelling the myths is not enough to have effective time management. To learn more about managing your time effectively, don’t miss next week’s column, “Making Effective Use of Your Time.”

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

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