(This is a Part 3 of a four-part series. See Part 1: Struggling for time in real estate; Part 2: Time misconceptions hurt real estate productivity and Part 4: Time tips help the real estate day fly by.)

Would you like to free up eight hours this week in one effortless stroke? If so, the 80-20 rule can help you “make time when there isn’t any.”

If you’re struggling with too much to do and too little time in which to do it, a simple reorganization of your schedule may be all you need to reclaim your control. The process of regaining control begins with understanding what your highest priorities are.

The Pareto principle says that 80 percent of the benefit comes from the top 20 percent of our activities. Putting this a little differently, concentrating on a few key activities is all you need to be extremely successful. Furthermore, eliminating the bottom 20 percent of what you do each week will have virtually no effect on your customer service levels or your profitability. To identify the 20 percent where you need to concentrate as well as the bottom 20 percent you need to eliminate, follow the process below.

Step 1: Begin by dividing a sheet of paper into four separate parts and label each corner:

  • Love to do and profitable (upper left corner)

  • Hate to do and profitable (upper right corner)

  • Love to do and not profitable (lower left corner)

  • Hate to do and not profitable (lower right corner)

Step 2: Identify the moneymaking activities you enjoy doing (Love to do and profitable)

List at least five areas of the business you do well and enjoy doing. This could be farming a specific geographical area, networking, telephone prospecting, open house, etc. Of those areas, identify the three that are the most profitable. Place these three activities in the upper left hand corner of your matrix.

Step 3: Identify the moneymaking activities you must force yourself to do. (Hate to do and profitable)

List at least five aspects of the business you hate handling. This could be working with buyers, handling Web marketing, door knocking, filling out transaction paperwork, telephone prospecting, etc. Now identify which of these activities were the most profitable. List these in the upper right corner.

Step 4: Identify what you enjoy doing that is not producing any income (Love to do and not profitable)

Have you been farming the same area for over a year with no leads? Do you attend networking or charity events to gain business, but forget to tell people you are in real estate? Even though you may enjoy these activities, it would be smart to severely limit or eliminate doing them. Place these activities in the lower left corner of the matrix.

Step 5: Identify what you hate doing that is also not producing any income (hate to do and not profitable)

If you door-knock and never generate any leads, do something else! If you never make any income from sitting open house, pay someone to cover for you. Don’t waste your time engaging in activities you hate that do not generate income. Place these activities in the lower right corner.

Step 6: Experiment with the 80-20 rule for the next 30 days.

Focus on those activities you labeled, “love to do and profitable.” All of these activities are in the 20 percent that produces 80 percent of the benefit in your business. Some of the activities in the “hate to do but profitable” category will also be in your top 20 percent. Delegate these activities. For example, if you hate working with buyers, consider forming a partnership with a buyers’ agent. If telephone prospecting is an important profit center, consider hiring a telemarketer. If you hate paperwork, consider using a transaction coordinator. By focusing on your strengths and delegating your weaknesses, you will not only be more profitable, you will provide better service to your clients as well.

Step 7: Eliminate all non-profitable activities for the next month.

For 30 days see what happens if you skip all non-profitable activities. You will be amazed at how much time it will create.

Step 8: Set your priorities.

Your top three business activities each day should be lead generation, lead follow-up, and transaction management. With the time you save, make a series of appointments with yourself using the 4-3-2-1 approach.

Schedule at least:

  • 4 weekend days off each month

  • 3 nights each week where you have time for a leisurely dinner and evening with loved ones

  • 2 days each month where you take a full day to spend time with friends and/or family

  • At least 1 day exclusively for yourself where you play golf, get a massage, or do whatever is necessary to escape from the business for a day.

Experiment with this approach for one month. Chances are you will have more energy, be more efficient, and sell more property than you did the month before.

Need more time saving tips? If so, look for next week’s column, “Time Efficiency Tips.”

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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