Through many books, classes and my coaching with Brian Buffini founder of Buffini & Company , I've received my Masters Degree in Time Blocking and Energy Management.
There are many of you that are so self disciplined and organized, my post will be a refresher at best, but those of you who are like me that struggle with this discipline daily, you will find some nuggets in here.
We only get so many heartbeats, so many summers, Christmas Holidays, annual vacations and so on. Assume you'll all live to be 100; how old are you today? Subtract your age from 100 and that is how many remaining birthdays remaining to celebrate with your family, wedding anniversaries with your spouse and that's how many years you have left to realize your full potential. "What will you do with this one wild and precious life?" asked poet Mary Oliver.
When you look at it that way and realize we won't all live to age 100; how we spend our time becomes quite important, almost urgent, pending your age, genetics and current health. Ask yourself, "How will I spend my remaining years? Will it be with "I'm glad I tried that!" or "Maybe someday." ?
We don't really manage time, since we all get 24 hours per day and that is a man-made notion in itself; the measure of time. The energy we bring to each hour and the priority and focus we dedicate to each hour is what produces results and provides us with more energy!
More energy, how?
Focus on one choice at a time.
Have you ever gotten a rush from furthering a big project down the pipeline to completion? Or a few smaller projects checked off the list? That sense of accomplishment and if you've prioritized well, that sense of time well spent gives us a little extra jolt; a sense of accomplishment and highest and best use of your time.
I am a fan of time blocking and (activity)-score keeping. I block out periods of time in my day for dedicated projects and each project has a points value.
Here's an example, the points are arbitrary, so is the finish line; devise your own system that makes sense to you:
Day off = 100 points
Cheat on the Day Off = -100 points (so commit to one true day off)
Showing Property 7.5 (per home)
Marketing Projects 3
Meeting with Clients 3
Points are what I assign to my daily duties, so I can score their value, hence create a priority list. Everything I should be doing in a day or a week, I list and assigned points to it. I learned this through a previous real estate partner of mine at Fusion Real Estate in Sacramento, CA; it took a while to wrap my head around it, but it caught on and motivated me.
It became a competition with myself on how soon in my day I could score 100 points. 100 points meant I could close up shop for the day, no matter what time it was, because 100 points represented "down tools" (enough was accomplished today) that would generate new business or further existing business or implement new ideas.
The sooner I could hit 100 points, the earlier I left the office. Now I know what you are thinking, "Suppose I'm done by 10am on a Tuesday? I can't walk away from the office, calls and emails come in still!" Yes, but this is where I share the energy management.
First of all, the soonest I've ever finished is about 2:30PM, it's not as easy as it looks to score 100 activity points. The harder activities are worth more and I naturally avoid what's hard. But, some days I do take the early leave and enjoy time with my bride or go for a hike with my dog, etc. I may let all remaining calls go to voice-mail and then just do a last round of returning calls & emails before dinner, but I got a couple hour recharge in between.
Other days I don't get home until after 6PM, because some days it's harder to score 100.
Activities like opening an escrow are worth (50 points), but texting or leaving a message vs. having a conversation only (2.5 points) is a lower value than calling and actually having a conversation (5 points) . The points and the total you consider the end of your day is up to you, the habits they develop are what the goal is.
No more wasting away the day, working late because from 11 am -2 pm I blew it with low level tasks. Taking a listing is worth 25 points, showing property is worth 7.5 points each, but social media personal messages are only worth 2 points and posting an business related article is worth 1 point. Posting non-business is -1 per post. These are my disciplines, you create your own; you know you best. I just make the tasks that get me to a closed escrow most effectively the high point value activities and the time bandits get low to no points.
Oh by the way, I did go home at 2:30PM that day, it felt so good, no guilt! I took a swim, walked my dog and then checked my voice-mail and emails, returned a few that needed it and then I stopped again. I went outside and read one of my CRS magazines and 3 chapters of a business book, then took my bride to an early dinner. See the benefits? A full day of work done by 2:30pm and a minor check-in before dinner and I got to squeeze in some exercise, reading and a date.
See, I'd already completed my whole days work by 2:30PM, I then got in some exercise, spent time with my dog, reading and a nice evening with m bride Ailina, only needing to check in once more at that point to feel good about closing. Most of you that can not imagine doing this, it may be you're business is running you, instead of you being an owner running it?
But, tomorrow I was back to zero points and had to re commit to 100 points. Next day, start again on the high points priorities, but it's a new day, new challenges, that next day took me until 6:30PM to complete my 100 points due to interruptions, but then I went home at 6:30-down tools.
Bonus: If I do 120 points today, I need only 80 points tomorrow and maybe I do that to plan more for an early day off rather than leave it to chance, should I want to ensure being off work by a certain time.
Here's where the energy kicks in: I'm getting more done on this points system and time blocking my day than I was without it.
I'm reaping the benefits of more energy because some days I get to go home earlier than others, which allows me to power through the later work days since they are fewer.
I'm also getting more done personally, from exercise to more relaxing work like reading and then bonus time with my family. My home, my office, my head-health and my body-health all need to be at their best; they are the four legs of my stool (life) and if is broken, the other three are affected and my stool (life) is off balance or worse, topples over.
Time blocking fails because you fail to Foxhole. See, you need to dig in and protect your time blocks. This means working in a place that prevents the time bandits from finding you.
You need to have all your resources needed to accomplish your time-blocked activities in your foxhole already so you need not leave it.
Finally, you need support, a foxhole buddy that has your back to stop the time bandits from flanking you: Staff, a spouse, a business partner that can field your calls and emails for that period of time.
For some of you on your own, that is your auto-responders and voice-mail with specific instructions that assure callers you'll get back to them by 11 am for example. It takes discipline and that discipline is being eroded by the weapons of mass distraction we call smart phones.
Ultimately you need to see the value in what you accomplish when you have blocks of uninterrupted hours to focus on your business, your marketing, your prospecting, brainstorming and so on. You can also have dedicated hors to return calls and e-mails. You do not need to answer your phone or email every time it rings. Unless you are a heart surgeon or a SEAL team, people can wait an hour.
You can remain mired in the minutia with the Turkeys on the ground or you can get focused and soar with the eagles; the view is better up here though!
It's Finally Here!
& THE HISTORY BEHIND "STOP ZILLOW"
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- Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net