101 Ways to Manage Your Time (Well, not 101, but some really good ones)

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

Crazy busy

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?



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Re-Blogged 6 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Sue Puleo 09/23/2010 06:22 AM
  2. Kim Boekholder Utah Real Estate 09/24/2010 01:55 AM
  3. 'The Diamond Group' 'A Cut Above The Rest' 09/24/2010 05:32 AM
  4. Lori Bowers 09/24/2010 05:48 AM
  5. Susan Laxson CRS 09/25/2010 03:35 PM
  6. Virginia OnullConnor 09/25/2010 04:48 PM
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Jason Piedrasanta
Seth Campbell Realty Group - Worcester, MA

I clicked on it hoping to read 101 ideas, and I am grateful their want's that many.  My A.D.D. would have kicked in. :)  Thanks for the Great article

Sep 24, 2010 03:39 AM #36
Graziella Bruner
NCS Premier Real Estate - Detroit, MI
Associate Broker - Serving Wayne & Oakland County

Great Post Jennifer - I'm a fan of #4 - I'm a paper planner myself,  I carry my planner with me at all times, can't be on the phone and write out your time via your phone planner.  If you buy a real nice planner, you'll tend to keep up with it better.  I've seen agents use notebooks as a planner????? but I guess that's their choice and I guess the most important things is their keeping up with dates and times. 

Sep 24, 2010 03:39 AM #37
Stephanie Arnett
RE/MAX Partners~ Starkville, MS - Starkville, MS
SRS, IMSD, Broker Associate, REALTOR

I agree about the PAPER planner!!  My BlackBerry is great for on the go stuff, but my paper planner is my "go to"!!  It's much easier to see your week or month at a glance.

Sep 24, 2010 04:00 AM #38
Peggy Noel
RE/MAX Commonwealth - Chesterfield, VA
Bouchard, ABR, CDPE, SFR

Jennifer I always love your posts - this one racks!  I committed to pulling an idea a day from AR to improve my business and this is a piece of it.  Thanks for the paper planner shout out - I caould not agree more!  You rock1

Sep 24, 2010 04:16 AM #39
Morgan Evans
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

Lots of great information, I do like having my planner be a tangible item I can work with and having with me.  It really helps out.

Sep 24, 2010 04:16 AM #40
Phil Stevenson, CRMP
PS Mortgage Lending 305-791-4874 or 888-845-6630 - Miami, FL
"Mortgage Nerd" in Miami, Florida and Texas

THANK YOU Jennifer for #4!  People look at me like I have 3 eyes when I say I use a paper planner.  To me, it works much better than your phone or electronic organizer.  My brain just works better when I see it on paper and can scribble quick note or check something off.

Sep 24, 2010 04:27 AM #41
Virginia OnullConnor
Realtor®, Photographer, Artist - Temecula, CA
Realtor - Temecula, Anza, SoCal

Excellent tips, Jennifer. Thank you so much for sharing! This is the part of Active Rain I love the most. Agents selflessley sharing with one another and learning from one another. So good....

Sep 24, 2010 05:19 AM #42
Rosalind Nicholas
RE/MAX Condos Plus Corporation, Brokerage - Toronto, ON
Toronto Condo Real Estate Agent, Toronto ON

There are many new young agents in my office, who are very tech-savvy and I thought I was really way behind the times in using a paper planner.  Jennifer, your post and the many comments above are re-assuring that I am OK and on the right path.

Sep 24, 2010 05:33 AM #43
Lori Bowers
La Quinta, CA
The Lori Bowers Group

I love the tips and how you communicated them. Very well done and does not take alot of time to implement. Thanks

Sep 24, 2010 05:46 AM #44
Catherine Ulrey
Keller Williams Capital City - Salem, OR
Equestrian and Acreage Property Specialist

I would like to think I have gotten better at this over the years, but there is always room for improvement! 

Sep 24, 2010 06:22 AM #45
Anna Tolstoy
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Natick, MA

Jennifer, what a  wonderful post! I love the power of  a timer, MANY tasks take way less time that I thought they will, especially when you measure it and have a proof on the timer, how long (actually short!) it took... 

I love paper planner. To those who cannot decide - I'd use both for a while, a smart phone and a paper one, and see which works best. Besides, there are unexpected disasters, when having all info in a different source (say paper versus an electronic device) can save you big time. 

Sep 24, 2010 07:17 AM #46
Bob Willis
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties - Orange, CA
Orange County & L.A. County Real Estate Agent

Regarding your Tip #4, using a paper-based planner:  Just yesterday I came to the conclusion that I need to start using a paper-based planner.  A few months ago I decided to stop using Outlook as my mail client, and switch to an online client so I could access my email from any computer.  Then, for months, I looked at different online calendars, and found them all lacking.  So, I am making the switch.  I'll have a simple calendar planner that I can take with me wherever I go, and not be dependent on the Internet.

Sep 24, 2010 08:30 AM #47
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Jennifer, great thoughts. I like to do the IMPORTANT tasks first. Hopefully I can find some quickie important ones.

Sep 24, 2010 10:19 AM #49
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

I constantly jot things down; to-do lists, domain ideas, songs to look up, etc. Love the written list.

Sep 24, 2010 12:27 PM #50
Patty Luther
RE/MAX Rock-n-Roll Realty - Lewiston, ID
Lewiston ID Real Estate, Idaho-Washington

~Jennifer you are awesome! and I read every word of this post! thanks!

Sep 24, 2010 08:27 PM #51
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Good tips and I could use a bit of a refresher! 

Sep 25, 2010 03:42 PM #52
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life

Hi Jen,

I find that if a task migrates 3 days or so and I haven't gotten to it, it's not happenning, It's dead.

Difficult for control freaks, but it's a time saver for me.

Sep 25, 2010 06:25 PM #53
Christine Pappas - REALTOR®
eXp Realty - Willoughby, OH
eXp Realty - Because Experience Matters

I listened to the audio 3 times while cleaning up my chaos!  My favorite is tip is your tip # 1 too.  I really liked the "Visual" of the written calendar, to do list and dry erase board and I liked how he called his database connections.

Sep 27, 2010 07:56 AM #54
Li Read
Sea to Sky Premier Properties (Salt Spring) - Salt Spring Island, BC
Caring expertise...knowledge for you!

That referring to other agents is a powerful one...especially as we will have confidence in their abilities.

Sep 27, 2010 09:22 AM #55
Wendy Rulnick
Rulnick Realty, Inc. - Destin, FL
"It's Wendy... It's Sold!"

Jennifer - The wish list white board is a very good idea.  Visualize, complete.

Sep 27, 2010 11:21 AM #56
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