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What’s next in time-management hacks? Ask Sarita Dua

The top agent talks about striking a work-life balance that works for her life

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Sarita Dua’s real estate career began as an insurance plan.

After getting her MBA In Entrepreneurial Management and Marketing, she spent fourteen years in high tech sales and marketing. After witnessing layoffs and other signs of instability in the startups she was working for, Dua realized that she needed a safety net.

“I never thought I would become a real estate agent but wanted ‘layoff insurance’ — a plan if the company I was at didn’t make it,” she said. “With two young kids and a job that required travel (and a husband who travels too), I needed to have flexibility.”

After exploring several options, Dua decided that real estate was the best bet, because, “it seemed like such a great way to have my own practice without needing a lot to get started.  I got my license in 2003 and started in early 2004 and never looked back.”

Dua now manages a small team of buyers agents and administrative coordinators that is focused on big results. She has an innovative approach to selling real estate that utilizes her background in high tech. Additionally, Dua is a MAPS Coach for Keller Williams.

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How does she manage all her time? She’ll share some of those secrets at Agent Connect, Tuesday, January 26, in New York City.

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As if having a family and a demanding career wasn’t enough, Dua is also an avid traveler and recently made a commitment to a healthier lifestyle, having just completed her fifth half-marathon since 2012.

“Your health, your faith, your finances, your family, your business — you have to balance all of it and check yourself when you are not where you want to be and identify what you need to do to get back into alignment. The first step is being aware and then taking actionable steps towards the life you want.”

Finding balance may seem like an easier-said-than-done accomplishment, but Dua has a few tricks up her sleeve that really are simple.

“When I think of things throughout the day, I put them in Evernote and it syncs with my notebook and my iPad. I get things out of my head and onto something that I can easily track,” she said.

“My No. 1 time-management tool is my ‘Top 3 List,’ which is a list of my top three tasks for the day,” Dua explained “Out of all the stuff I need to do, I identify the three most important tasks. I write them down, and I will not go to bed until those three things are done. If I get only those three things done for the day, I know I have been very productive.”

Of course, no matter how organized we are, and how successfully we manage our time, sacrifices must be made in order to find your personal balance.

“For me, taking 139 days out of the office this year meant I could not service every client the way I would have at home,” Dua noted. “There were lost opportunities from people who wanted to work with me but could not wait until I got back.

“But I don’t consider that a major sacrifice, as the time I had with my family more than made up for the lost business in terms of memories and precious time together.”

Dua prefers to view these sacrifices as tradeoffs. Putting one aspect of her life on hold doesn’t mean she’s giving it up entirely — it’s just going on a shelf for the time being.

“If I am sacrificing something in my work life, I am making gains in my personal life. When returning from vacation and jumping back into work, personal life or health might get sacrificed. It is all a balancing act, counterbalancing as you course-correct. The key is being aware and constantly making adjustments.”

She believes that striking a healthy work-life balance isn’t something that the real estate industry (or any industry, for that matter) should be responsible for.

“It’s up to us and how we manage our lives. Our job is to set expectations and get support where we can so we can live the lives that we want.

“For me there were two places in my business life that were taking a lot of time: paperwork and showing homes,” she noted. “I got great people in both those areas to help offset the time I was spending away from my family and it translated to a better client experience as well. Having a rockstar transaction coordinator and listing coordinator helped with paperwork. Getting buyer specialists that focused on showing homes as showing agents.

“We can’t force clients to work the hours we want, but we can put a team in place or set boundaries on how and when we work. That is the way to make that balance easier and more attainable.”

Spoken like a true time-management ninja.

Join us at Inman Connect New York to hear Sarita Dua discuss the fine art of work/life balance on Tuesday, January 26th.

Email Jennye Garibaldi.