Here are 20 time-tested productivity strategies to help you start your career on a solid foundation so that as your business takes off, you’re able to keep up and scale as needed.

New to the industry? Get started with everything you need to know about the early decisions that’ll shape your career, including choosing a brokerage, learning your market, creating an online presence, budgeting, getting leads, marketing listings and so much more. If you’re a team leader or broker-owner, New Agent Month will be jam-packed with resources to help your new hires navigate.

As a new agent, you have a lot to absorb and a lot to do on any given day. There are many facets of this business to learn and master. Your business growth will depend on your productivity level, organizational skills and time management.  

What follows are 20 time-tested and proven productivity strategies to help you start your career on a solid foundation so that as your business takes off, you’re able to keep up and scale as needed.

Daily time management

1. Plan your day

Set aside time every morning to think through your plan for the day. It might be while you are showering, driving in the car or waiting for your coffee to brew. 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. Tackling that dreaded task first 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, 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 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 every day.

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 at the moment

If you find yourself buried under a mountain of business cards and scribbled notes, you might need to get better at keeping up with information at 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.

9. Time-block

Instead of allowing everything to happen at once, time-block for greater efficiency. Dedicate specific chunks of time to lead generation, content creation, market analysis and other professional activities while also setting aside time for personal and family activities that you want to sustain daily.

10. Set alarms

Take a look at your calendar each morning, and set alarms for five to 10 minutes before each of the critical items on your list. It will prevent 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 for which you don’t have time. 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 might find that one client is taking up an excessive 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 forgo your regular daily workout because there’s never 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 visualizing a perfect day in your real estate career. What would you do? Where would you go? Who would you meet? As you begin to define these elements, you also develop a mindset that will help you clarify what 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 you are consistent so that 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 figure 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 — aim to improve constantly. As the saying goes, “Always grateful, never satisfied.”

Christy Murdock is a Realtor, freelance writer, coach and consultant and the owner of Writing Real Estate. She is also the creator of the online course Crafting the Property Description: The Step-by-Step Formula for Reluctant Real Estate Writers. Follow Writing Real Estate on TwitterInstagram  and YouTube.

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