When you first start out in real estate, you may find yourself trying to fill the time while you wait to sign that first client or two. It may seem difficult to imagine that at some point you will be scrambling to juggle multiple clients, transactions, and appointments each day. That’s why it’s so important to start early putting together a plan for daily, weekly, monthly and yearly time management to stay on track.
What follows are 20 time-tested and proven strategies to help you start your career on a solid foundation so that as it takes off, you’re able to keep up.
Daily time management
1. Plan your day
Set aside some time every morning to think through your plan for the day. It may be while you are in the shower, in the car or waiting for your French press to do its thing. Think about what you must do, should do and want to do — and put together a plan.
2. Eat the frog first
This advice from Mark Twain is all about priorities. If there’s something that you dread ahead of you, go ahead and get it out of the way early in the day. This will make the rest of your day go more smoothly and allow you to embark on the day with a sense of accomplishment.
3. Know thyself
You’ll get a lot of advice from friends, family and colleagues, but you know what works best for you. Schedule your day around your times of peak productivity. Give yourself breaks or rewards as needed. Optimize your personal performance for greater professional success.
4. Avoid distractions
It’s fun to post up in front of the TV while you catch up on paperwork, but you’ll probably find that sitting at a desk or stopping in at Starbucks allows you to be more focused and more productive. When you truly focus and accomplish your tasks more quickly, you leave yourself more uninterrupted downtime.
5. Just say no
When you’re first starting out, it’s tempting to say yes to every class, meeting and opportunity that comes your way, and coming from a positive place is definitely a plus. However, you need to be willing to say no to the things that are time-sucks and energy drains and don’t really add value to your personal or professional life.
6. Learn your tech
Everything from your phone to your tablet to your computer to the apps and platforms you’ll find there contains a wealth of untapped resources just waiting to be put to use to make you more productive. Learn how to optimize your tech so that you can save yourself time and energy everyday.
7. Master mobile
Similarly, many of the platforms you use in the office have mobile versions that are incredibly robust and well developed. Master the mobile versions of your CRM and transaction management platforms so that you can keep up with office work on the go and avoid late-night catch-up sessions.
8. Record info in the moment
If you find yourself buried under a mountain of business cards and scribbled notes, you may need to get better at keeping up with information in the moment. Take that extra time to enter information in your phone’s contacts, including notes of your conversations if needed, so that you can follow up in a more accurate and timely manner.
Instead of allowing everything to happen at once, time-block for greater efficiency. Dedicate specific chunks of time to lead gen, content creation, market analysis and other professional activities while also setting aside time for personal and family activities that you want to sustain on a daily basis.
10. Set alarms
Take a look at your calendar in the morning and set alarms for five to 10 minutes before each of the major items that you find there. It will keep you from losing track of time, keep you on schedule and automate a few minutes of transition between tasks.
Long-term time management
11. Play well with others
Remember the wise words of RuPaul: “There’s enough pie for everyone.” Stop thinking of everyone around you as a competitor, and learn to collaborate when it makes sense. The more you can communicate and cooperate with your colleagues, the more you’ll find that they are willing to lend a hand when you need it.
12. Avoid drama
By the same token, avoid office politics and gossip sessions as much as possible. Drama is a time and energy waster that you simply don’t have time for. If you find yourself getting caught up in this type of pettiness, ask yourself what you could be doing to be more productive instead of focusing on everyone else.
13. Find a coach or mentor
A great coach or mentor can help you avoid mistakes and implement best practices that will serve you well throughout your career. Even a well-regarded book for new real estate agents or a YouTube channel hosted by an experienced top producer can offer practical advice and keep you from reinventing the wheel as you launch your career.
14. Fire your worst client
You may find that there is one client who is taking up an inordinate amount of your time and energy, keeping you from accomplishing the things you need to do every day and even undermining your personal and family time. If you find yourself completely consumed with one problem client, it might be time to set them (and yourself) free.
15. Cultivate mindfulness
Just a few minutes of daily quiet time, meditation or another mindfulness practice can have tremendous physical, mental and emotional benefits. Make a habit of spending some time either first thing in the morning, during the midday lag or late in the evening in quiet reflection, and find out what a difference it makes in your energy and effectiveness.
16. Stay healthy
Don’t give in to the temptation to handle stress with alcohol or junk food or to forgo your regular daily workout because there’s just not enough time. The more you take care of your body, the more it will take care of you. Healthy habits can make a difference in how you feel and how productive you are every day.
17. Visualize a perfect day
One of the best ways to motivate yourself is to spend some time each day visualizing a perfect day in your real estate career. What would you do? Where would you go? Who would you meet with? As you begin to define these elements, you also develop a mindset that will help you clarify the things you need to do and the people you need to meet to grow in your profession. Soon, you’ll find yourself in the middle of the perfect day you’ve been imagining.
18. Set personal goals
Part of ensuring that you stay on track is to focus on your personal goals. Whether they involve financial goals, relationship goals or family goals, having a focus for moving forward keeps you from wasting time and helps you to stay the course when the struggle gets real.
19. Keep good records
Being a real estate agent is like running your own small business. You’ll need to keep track of
- Transactions and milestones
- Expenses and income
- Contacts and leads
- Training requirements and optional designations
- Investments and insurance
- And so much more.
Don’t get behind on your record-keeping. Include it in your time-blocking and make sure it gets done consistently so you’re not trying to recreate timelines and details after the fact.
20. Constantly refine your routine
Spend some time every month, quarter or year taking a look at your routine and figuring out how you can be more efficient.
Take a class to improve your use of your transaction management system. Watch a webinar to get better at marketing. Outsource bookkeeping or find a virtual assistant to help you stay on top of your administrative tasks.
Never be satisfied with your current system — it can always improve.
Christy Murdock Edgar is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant with Writing Real Estate. She is also a Florida Realtors faculty member. Follow Writing Real Estate on Facebook, Twitter, Instagr