Had a fantastic show last night in the SWS Virtual Studio on the subject of Time Management for Real Estate Agents. I wasn't really expecting a huge turn-out - after all, managing your time is not nearly as sexy a topic as real estate commissions, sphere of influence marketing or prospecting to expired listings! But apparently I was wrong! We had over 250 agents register for the show and over half show up which is a fantastic show-up ratio!
Anyway, I had a blast with my guest, Mike Baird of The A Team Real Estate Professionals in Northeast Tennessee. We traded tips for about 75 minutes; we agreed on some and not on others, which is just dandy... there are many paths to success so hopefully the audience was able to learn a thing or two or three or four that will help them both in their business and personal lives.
At the end of the show, I asked the audience to vote on their "favorite" tips of the evening... and here are the results:
Favorite-est Tip #1: Do Your Quickie Tasks FIRST
Every morning, pile everything up on your desk into one pile. Go thru the pile one item at a time and when you get to an item that will take five minutes or less to do, DO IT, regardless of its importance. Do the same thing with your to-do list. In half an hour, you might be able to wipe out half (or more) of your to-do list which is incredibly satisfying, and will clear up your mind so you can focus on the bigger fires and projects.
Favorite-est Tip #2: Know when to Decline The Monkey
Based on a series I did last year here at AR, Declining the Monkey means that you are able to respectfully delegate responsibility to your clients when it's appropriate to do so. You can read more about the Art of Monkey Declining here: http://activerain.com/blogsview/1233851/avoid-burnout-stop-taking-responsibility-for-stuff-that-s-not-your-responsibility-to-take-
Favorite-est Tip #3: Put your "wish-list" on a white board
That this tip was so popular surprised me since I almost took it out of the show. What it means is to make a list of projects you'd really like to get done, but don't know when you'll find the time. Write this list on a dry-erase board, and hang the board somewhere out of your immediate view. Look at your board every week or so (any more often and it'll just frustrate you) and you may be surprised how many of these wish-list projects ARE getting done!
Favorite-est Tip #4: Use a (paper-based) planner
A real estate agent without a planner is a frazzled real estate agent indeed. C'mon, we have a lot of important things to remember to do (our clients are counting on us!) and sticky-notes posted on our computer screen, dashboard and bathroom mirror won't cut it. GET a planner and learn to use it and love it. And unless you're really really technologically-inclined, a paper-based planner (that is, a physical planner that isn't electronic) will probably work better for you. Don't feel pressured to learn that fancy calendar feature on your Smart Phone if you don't wanna.
Favorite-est Tip #5: Files Are Not Artwork
Your client files are where you store pieces of paper that frankly, you'll probably never need again. Don't waste hours of your time trying to make your client files works of art. As long as the piece of paper you might need someday is IN the right file, you'll be able to find it. But chances are, once that transaction closes, you'll never open the file again.
Other tips from the show...
- Color-coordinate your scheduled blocks of time.
- Plan ahead and make sure you schedule in time for your personal life, including days off.
- Spend 30 minutes a day on "connection time" (i.e. staying in touch with your SOI).
- Buy and use manilla folders for any project with more than once piece of paper
- If you're a control freak about your business, consider hiring a personal assistant to help you with domestic duties instead of a real estate assistant.
- Consider recruiting brand new agents to "intern" for you to help them learn the business and help you get things done.
- Don't be afraid to refer business to other agents, and FIND those agents to refer to before you need them.
- Do the ugly stuff on your list first.
- Always take care of your clients as your first priority. Prospecting can wait.
- Use an inbox and an outbox.
- Don't be afraid to say "no" when clients make unreasonable demands of your time. They will usually accommodate your schedule.
Good stuff, huh?