You can make more deals. You can make more money. But what can’t you make more of? Time. It’s one thing that comes in a finite package. Twenty-four hours in a day, seven days in a week. No matter how hard you work, time is time, which is why it’s so critical to pay attention to how you use it.
At Weichert®, we value the art of time management. Yes, it truly is an art because it requires discipline and hard work. Time management is the ultimate “OPS” process—organization, planning, and strategy. When done effectively, time management allows you to get more done in less time, even when you have tight deadlines and an endless to-do list in front of you.
Time management for real estate can help you to:
- Meet business objectivesPositively impact your ROILead with greater confidenceCreate a healthy work/life balance
These tips from Weichert will help you utilize time management skills to be the most successful leader you can be.
Conduct a “time drainer” audit
Before you can focus on how to improve your time management skills, you have to know where there are leaks in the system. We suggest that you put on your “time drainer” glasses for one week and track how and where you’re spending your days (and nights). Keep notes to help spot where you used time well and where you got pulled down a rabbit hole.
Look for patterns, like were you constantly putting out fires, whether your own or those of your team? Did you spend hours responding to emails? Did you start researching interior designers to stage an open house, but somehow found yourself ordering groceries on Amazon? (This happens to all of us!) Did your tasks and objectives get completed, or did you shuffle to-do’s around without being able to check them off your list?
- Quadrant 1: Necessity (urgent and important)Quadrant 1: Effectiveness (not urgent but important)Quadrant 3: Distraction (urgent but not important)Quadrant 4: Waste (not urgent and not important)
As you perform your “time drainer” audit, you can use this tool to help you sort and bucket your tasks. Which quadrants did most of them fall into? Once you see the areas for improvement, you can then conduct the same exercise to help you plan future tasks.
Plan your day and include built-in boundaries
As a real estate broker, your day is likely filled with tons of to-do’s. For example, managing your email inbox. Forbes says, “According to a McKinsey analysis, on average, professionals spend an estimated 28% of their workweek managing email. Harvard Business Review broke this down further by revealing that professionals check their email 15 times per day or every 37 minutes.”
So, while you can’t eliminate email correspondence from your workday, you can set boundaries in your planning process. You can use a time management strategy called “time blocking” to schedule out every part of your day. At Weichert, we’re big fans of time blocking. As our founder, Jim Weichert, always said, “What gets scheduled, gets done.” Time blocking is different from an open-ended to-do list because it helps you focus on one task at a time. By doing this, you create boundaries.
For example, schedule finite time slots each day to focus on emails. You might find that the 8:30-9:15 am window is the perfect time for reading, writing, and responding to emails. You might find it’s quieter and therefore easier to focus first thing in the morning.
You can also bookend the day with another session, such as 4-4:45 pm, to address other emails that may have been deprioritized from the morning. Try not to multitask during these time frames so you can really focus on the task at hand. When the time frames are up, shut it down. This is where discipline kicks in.
Another key activity to time block on your calendar is recruiting and agent one-on-one’s. These are critical activities, so make sure you or your managers block them out to ensure they get done. Ultimately, this can affect the lifeblood and core of your business—recruiting and retaining productive, engaged agents.
Meetings are often another big-time drainer. Try these tips to help you include built-in boundaries:
- Practice good meeting hygiene. If a meeting is set for one hour, stick with the agenda and keep to the time frame. Blocking will help with this because, most likely, you have something scheduled right after the meeting.Rethink the meeting before sending the invite. Pause for a moment to decide who really needs to attend, how long you need to meet, and if you really need to meet at all. As often as you can, keep meetings short and focused.Schedule healthy breaks. Time management also includes doing things to care for your wellness. As an example, consider incorporating a “avoid meetings from 12-1 pm” policy, especially on days when the team is working off-site, to encourage taking time for lunch.
Built-in boundaries serve everyone. It not only helps you use time well, but it also reinforces that you respect and appreciate your team’s time.
Prioritize what’s hot and what’s not
As a real estate broker, how can you spot the difference between what’s hot and what’s not? Tasks that are hot are usually time-sensitive and people-sensitive. You may find that there are other things disguised as hot, such as news of the latest interest rate, but be on the lookout. Take a pause and then decide what, if anything, you need to do at that moment.
Keeping the focus on customer relationships is the foundation of success. So, when you’re thinking hot versus not, imagine the impact on people—from your agents to your customers. If you prioritize a task, who will it impact? Conversely, if you don’t prioritize a task, who will it impact—and how?
Entrepreneur.com also uses the analogy “rubber balls versus glass balls” to help you prioritize tasks. They state, “When you drop a glass ball on your team or business, you’ll feel the consequences. Rubber balls, however, bounce. So, if you drop them to address the glass one, it’s not a big deal.”
In a world where distractions are everywhere and to-do lists run long, time management matters. As a real estate broker-owner, find what works for you and your team and continue to build these new habits over time.
Learn more about how time management skills and leadership skills work hand-in-hand at Weichert. Contact us today.