Time Management is a myth. We can’t manage time. All we can do is make better choices about what we do with our time. Time is the great equalizer. We all have exactly the same amount of hours in our day. So why do some real estate agents seem to get so much more done in a day? Let’s break this down a little bit.
How is your Busyness Doing?
No, I did not mean “Business” but if you tell me how your “Busyness” is, I bet I can tell how your Business is doing. We too often spend far too many hours attending the busy-work of the business, which leaves us tired and short of our goals.
What is on your to-do list for today? Are these items that will get you closer to your goals, or are they just things that you HAVE to do. I can almost bet that if you are getting up every day and just plowing through a seemingly endless to-do list, that your Business may be “surviving,” but you are not “thriving.”
An important way to tell if you are doing busy work or not, are ask yourself the following questions:
- Which goal will doing this activity get me one step closer to?
- Can someone else do this for me?
Sometime things don’t really need to be done at all. And sometimes, things need to be done, but just not by you.
You will need to prioritize those items that have to get done by you. If the majority of your business over the next five years will come from leads generated from referrals and sphere, then the “have-tos” are clear: contact and service well that group of people. Invest your time and money in that quadrant of contacts. Stay away from the nagging “to-do” list that says you need to update the expired system that you drafted two years ago and have failed to implement yet.
Next, ask some hard, frank questions of yourself and your business.
- First, can you reach your goals alone? In order to achieve the numbers you’ve put forward, do you need to expand your human resources?
- Second, do you need a different business model than the one you are currently using? (Told you they were hard questions!)
If you are looking to increase your production by ten percent over last year, perhaps you can obtain your goal within the status quo. But what if you are looking to double your business in couple years? Or quadruple it in five years? Is it reasonable to think that you can succeed under the same manner and with the same number of people that you have been previously?
You know the answer: undoubtedly not. As a matter of fact, this can often be the tipping point of decline or failure in a business, when you fail to realize that you, alone, cannot be chief cook and bottle washer and grow your business. A team or staff to support you may become essential when planning for your future goals The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Business Don’t Work and What To Do About It, by Michael Gerber, talks about this at length in his book.
It’s all about the numbers today in terms of goals and in terms of human resources. Plan accordingly.
To better understand the importance of the concept of time management, take a look at how you spend you time when working. Begin with a work day and then expand your analysis to the entire week. How much time do you spend “IN” the business? This refers to the crucial everyday details of the job. It includes the showings, the opens, the listing appointments, and the negotiation of contracts. How much time do you spend on the technical aspects of the business? The accounting, the scheduling, the entering of data and working on files? Without question, this can take the lion’s share of any given work day. However, danger awaits you if that is the case.
Working “ON” the business is vital if your business is to ultimately succeed and cannot be ignored. These tasks include management of the business and visionary activities. It includes mentoring, motivating, training and tracking accountability. It also includes “the big picture” activities like studying, reading, attending speakers and seminars. The problem with working ON the business is that it is too easily set aside for the daily “put out the fire” duties of tending to clients and paperwork. But that is why it is critical to create a physical time management plan that you abide as religiously as your budget. Chart it out, mark it in your Outlook calendar, and pay attention to it.
Similarly, you must think ahead in terms of the number of tasks that have to be completed to successfully make your business run. You cannot do it alone. Again, you cannot do it alone. (At least, not for very long.) If someone else can do it—delegate! If the person responsible isn’t doing the job, confront the problem and replace him/her as needed. You are running a business. Without delegating responsibility, you are doomed to crash and burn. And you won’t be having any fun, either.
In order to delegate, you have to have people to delegate to. Let’s talk about your team. You need to have team of people to support you. The bigger your goals, the bigger your team. Team members don’t have to be employees, or even traditional team members like Buyer’s Agents, but you do have to surround yourself with quality people who can help you reach your goals.
The Book The Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller goes into great detail on how to create a team and in what order. The Venturi Team followed this book as their bible to amazing results. I highly recommend that book for more direction as you are building your team. We will cover some of the basics here in this Chapter.
Even if you don’t have a formal team, you have support around you that you should be tapping into. You have your Manager and Broker who are great at training and giving advice. You have office staff that may be able to give you some help with administrative tasks. You can also hire per transaction help from Transaction Coordinators.
Eventually, you will need to hire some administrative help. You can hire a Virtual Assistant who helps you a certain number of hours per month on marketing, database management or a variety of other things. This may be a great first step for you if you limited on space for an assistant or hours you can give them. Most VAs work for several agents and that way you don’t have to guarantee part time or full time hours.
As you get busier and start making more income, you will want to bring on an administrative assistant. If you find the right person, they may eventually be your Office Manger. You want someone who can do all of the administrative, marketing and busy work you don’t have time to do. Having the right admin person helps you spend time in front of prospects, which is where you can make more money. This may grow to several assistants over time.
As your business increases, you will find yourself need help with prospects. Hiring a Showing Agent or a Buyer’s Agent will help reduce the time spent driving buyers all over the place. Many newer agents who don’t have their own leads to work with would love to work under an experienced agent and would gladly split the commission with the lead agent for the opportunity to work with good solid leads.
As time goes buy, you may end up with several buyer’s agents, a Lead Buyer Agent and a Listing Agent or tow. Again, these agents work with your leads on your team. As your business grows from your excellent marketing, repeat and referral business comes in and your excellent reputation, your team will work with you to provide the same excellent service for more and more people.
Delegating to your team is an important part of getting it all done!
How do you manage your day? How do you keep from letting the day control you?
It is important to plan everyday on paper before it begins. Spend 15 minutes in the morning, before you open your email, check Facebook messages, get out the to do lit or open the calendar and ask yourself a series of questions. The questions are something you have to come up with yourself, but they will get your mind thinking about what is important for you. Here are some sample questions:
- What can I do today bring in more leads for my Real Estate Business?
- Who do I need to follow up with today?
- What can I do today to bring me closer to finishing up a project I am working on?
- What can I do to support my team today?
- What can I do today to improve my relationship with my spouse, kids?
- What can I do today to improve my Real Estate knowledge?
- What can I do for my own personal development today?
- What cards do I need to send today?
- Who do I need to call today?
- What can I do to improve my health today?
Come up with your own list of ten questions that you will ask yourself in the morning. Your brain will answer any question you ask it. Take the time to think about them and write your answers. After you have written down the 10 answers, star the top 2. Make sure these two things get time blocked into your calendar. These are things that are important, and not just urgent. These two things will make a bigger impact on your business and your life in the long run, than 80 percent of what is on your to do list. Your brain will answer any question you ask it.
After taking the time to really think about the important things based on a series of question you created, you can then pull out your calendar and go over things you have schedule for the day. Reach out to your appointments and confirm them. Look over any meetings you have. What can you do to prepare.
After reviewing what has already been scheduled, take out your Master Project List and your to do list. Your Master Project list is a living document that you created when you did your yearly planning. You should review this document and the main projects daily. Is there anything you need to schedule today to get done off this list? Then review your to do list. After the import things are schedule, review the to do list for things you can delegate or delete. Also not anything that you need to do today and make sure they are time blocked, or scheduled in your calendar. Things that are scheduled get done.
Another tip for managing your activity is to not over schedule your day. Really think about how long something will take, including prep time and drive time if needed. You should also consider leaving “white” space on your calendar. Instead of scheduling for the entire hour, schedule for 50 minutes. This will give you time to get up and stretch, grab a snack or return a phone call.
Focus on what is most important, the rest will get done, or not. We are all busy. Every Real Estate Agent I know has more to do in a day than can possibly get done. Set your intentions at the start of the day, time block and adjust and reschedule, as you need to. If it doesn’t get done today, it will get done tomorrow. Or not. Remember, it is about time choices, not time management. Happy choosing!