One of the best things about being a real estate agent is the fact that you get to make your own schedule. One of the most difficult things about being a real estate agent is the fact that you get to make your own schedule. While making your own schedule sounds fabulous in theory, it can be difficult to implement.
Time Management is a Struggle
Being a real estate agent is a second or third career for many people. When coming from corporate America, where you are told when to show up for work, when to take lunch and when to leave, it's understandable that new agents have difficulty coming up with a new work schedule. But if they have any hope of being a successful real estate agent, they will have to learn how they work best and come up with a schedule.
Step One - Know Yourself
The first step to putting together a realistic work schedule is to be completely honest with yourself. Are you a morning person or an evening person? More importantly, when do you do your best thinking? Don't think you have to conform to someone else's schedule, this is all about you. Nobody knows you like you. What is your morning ritual? Do you ease into your day or do you hit the ground running? If you have children, a spouse or pets, it may take you a few hours to get everyone else started on their day before you can start working...and that's okay. The important thing to know is when you can start work. For some it may be 8:30 in the morning and for others it may not be until 10am. Everyone is different.
Step Two - Schedule Your Activities
Get into a routine. Just like you have a morning ritual, you should have a work ritual. As a real estate agent you have several tasks that you need to do on a daily basis and others that need to be done on a weekly basis. Your daily tasks include activities like checking email, returning phone calls, checking the multiple listing service, previewing properties and prospecting. Use time blocking to determine how much time you will schedule for each activity. Time blocking is an effective way to manage your time because it makes you adhere to a schedule. Parkinson's Law sums it up best, "Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion". In other words, if you give yourself one hour to make 10 phone calls, you can do it. Conversely, if you don't time block, those same 10 phones can take you the entire day to complete. Put everything on your calendar, both personal and professional appointments. This is important when it comes time for you to schedule appointments with clients.
Step Three - Be Flexible
Yes, it is extremely valuable to have a routine, a schedule for how you will get your work done. But it is equally important to understand that you will need to be flexible. Properties will come on the market that your client will want to see immediately or you may get a last minute listing appointment and you have to drop everything to meet the demands of your client. But know, these are exceptions and not the rule. Most of the time you will be able to adhere to your regular routine.
Step Four - Put in the Work
Being a real estate agent doesn't mean that you work seven days a week, ten hours a day. You can do that if you like, but you won't have much of a life outside of real estate. When you put together your schedule you will be able to clearly see how much time you need to devote to real estate. In general your days will range from four to eight hours a day of work. During those times, you need to really work so when you stop working you can enjoy your time off without feeling guilty about not working. Start each day with a "To Do" list and focus on those activities. Once you have completed everything on your list you have the option of continuing to work or calling it a day.
Schedule Your Success
By putting yourself on a schedule you become more focused on the activities you need to do to become a successful real estate agent. Your activities are now intentional instead of random. You will find that you have more time to spend with your family and friends, achieving the work/life balance you were looking for when you become a real estate agent.
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