I wonder if it is a coincidence that after a long drought of no money I had two closings very close to June, the month where I wrote everything down. For those of you who missed last week, I made a spreadsheet and entered every activity, every client.

This week I was working on another rental. So much of the week was spent pushing toward yesterday, a showing marathon where we went through 10 properties. Prep for that took awhile. Other than that I tried to think about my life.

New rule one: I do not work Saturdays. This is a very soft rule, because it’s much easier to spend a little time on Saturdays to keep the e-mail flowing than to drop it completely and be behind on Sundays. But still, once I do sort of chatty things for an hour, that’s it. There’s no one who needs to see a property on Saturday that can’t wait for the other six days of the week. I have had my share of millionaires flying in from out-of-town, and I am now experienced enough to say that the ones in the biggest hurries are never the ones that sign the contract. If they’re interested, they’ll wait a day.

New rule two: I must file more. It is clear from the state of my desk that I don’t know how to do this. I keep thinking that maybe I can trick myself by playing some sort of game, that just around the corner is "Grand Theft Auto Five: Clean Desktop," but I just can’t figure it out. However, I did see from my total of filing hours: one — yes, that’s for the month — that I’ve just gotta be better about this.

New rule three: More lunches. When you’re desk-bound, lunch is great — a port in an otherwise stormy day. But when you’re a freelancer, lunch just takes hours! It becomes this weird special thing, and you get all excited about it and wonder what you’re going to wear. I hate lunching now, because it takes three hours out at one clip. But it’s also prospecting, and I can see from my little magic numbers that I could stand a few more hours a week of that.

Don’t get me wrong, some things I do work well. I may not be doing enough prospecting now, but the prospecting I do is effective. (I think some of that is the experience of having tried different things and learning what worked. Also, over time I’ve found that I sell more naturally, because with more experience I’ve become a real estate agent instead of that awful bit in the beginning, where I was play-acting one.) I’ve got a sale I’ve been plugging along at, and I’m continuing to plug, and I’m advancing my cause.

And those are just the everyday things that are effective. Now that I’ve got a little money in my pocket, I can put some of that back into the business, which will help, too. I’m getting all excited about doing some promotional items, to the point where I just asked a friend if she’d be interested in making our firm’s logo a little more camera-ready. (Those of you who work for Century 21 probably don’t have this same exact problem, but you can still extrapolate what I mean — part of marketing is taking a little time to meld your firm’s branding with yours).

Anyway that’s the plan, to bounce along with just those rules for a couple of months and then write everything down again and see what’s changed.

Alison Rogers is a licensed salesperson and author of "Diary of a Real Estate Rookie."


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