Poor Time Estimation is killing your productivity

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Hamm Homes

Do you often find yourself looking at the clock and being surprised at how much time has passed — or worse, at how little you’ve achieved during that time? If you’re struggling with time management, it’s likely a result of overestimating how much time you have available, underestimating how long tasks will take, or some combination of both.  I know there are times that I have this problem and then I go old school and pull out a sheet of page to track my daily activities and at the end of the day look for time wasters.

It’s easy to overestimate your availability on any given day. Sure, you may have eight hours on the clock, but once you factor in thirty minutes of checking emails when you first arrive, an hour for lunch, an hour for a few important phone calls, maybe an hour for a meeting, and then whatever small chunks of time you’re losing to distraction, snack and bathroom breaks, and switching gears between tasks, you may find that you only really have enough time left in your day for one or two tasks. If you go into your day assuming you have eight hours but you actually have half that, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

To prevent this overestimation from giving you unrealistic expectations for your productivity, account for everything while planning your day, even small tasks. If you know that you’ll need fifteen minutes to grab an afternoon pick-me-up coffee at 2:00 pm, it won’t take you by surprise and put you behind on your goals to lose that time.

By that same token, it’s also easy to underestimate just how long it will take you to complete a task. We tend to assume the best case scenario, which means that our time estimates often don’t account for running into obstacles, being interrupted, or getting distracted. When that quick, twenty-minute to-do turns into an hour and a half long debacle, your whole schedule for the day can be thrown off. You can counter this by cultivating a better awareness of how long your work takes. Spend a week jotting down what time you start and finish certain tasks, and then compare your actual numbers to how long you predicted those things would take. If you’re consistently underestimating, you can factor that into your estimations in the future to make them more accurate.

Nobody’s perfect, and you certainly don’t need to execute every to-do list with mathematical precision! But being more aware of the reality of your time can help you match your expectations with reality and ultimately improve your productivity — and lower your stress.


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Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Will - watching the clock may be as interesting/useful as watching paint dry.  

Dec 12, 2019 08:43 AM #1
Mike Bjork
Pinnacle Home Loan - Redondo Beach, CA

Great point, Will!  Perfect timing, as the Holidays seem to distract us even further; and we're all working on our 2020 Business Plans.

Dec 12, 2019 08:44 AM #2
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Will, for sharing this message.

Have a great day!

Dec 12, 2019 08:45 AM #3
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hi Will Hamm, no matter how disciplined we are, there will be distractions. A phone call, text, email, social media..Thankfully, we have the ability to redeem our time.  

Dec 12, 2019 09:01 AM #4
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Hi Will Hamm time managements is one of the most important factors influencing how successful one's real estate career will be....

Dec 12, 2019 10:32 AM #5
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


Practicing mindfulness regularly results in an abundance of time available.  A

Dec 12, 2019 10:53 AM #6
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good afternoon Will Hamm - these are all good ideas.  And also, look at what you are doing that really does not need to be done.

Dec 12, 2019 10:53 AM #7
Curtis Van Carter
Better Homes & Gardens Wine Country Group - Yountville, CA
Your Napa Valley Broker Extraordinaire


This is one time where way too longer may be better. That is on course one count shortness in their lives, cheers cvc

Dec 12, 2019 12:31 PM #8
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

HI Will Hamm - If I spent time watching the clock, I should probably find another way to occupy my time! LOL

Dec 12, 2019 12:51 PM #9
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

Time management is always something we should all master early in our careers, and as long as Active Rain doesn't mess me up when posting by losing all my words or refusing to upload photos or something then i am usually good.

Dec 12, 2019 02:11 PM #10
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

I put everything on my calendar, even when I plan to take a swim that way when someone wants an appointment I can either fit it in or not.

Dec 13, 2019 06:04 AM #11
Abby Stiller
REMAX Realty Group - Cape Coral, FL
Professional Bilingual Realtor (239) 284-8637

Hi Will Hamm Time management is something I need to work on it next year. 

Dec 13, 2019 08:13 PM #12
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