Perhaps one of the most difficult skills to master for any entrepreneur or agent is time management. Plenty of agents will tell you they’re busy, but not all of them are productive. Real estate is a competitive industry with new developments and changes constantly emerging. If you can boost your time management, your productivity will automatically improve.
Avoid burnout in your career by learning the best practices for managing your time each day. When you become master of your time you’ll:
- List and sell at higher volume
- Have more time to enjoy family and personal pursuits
- Reduce drastic swings in your income and maintain a steady growth rate
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: top performers in your farm are not better than you, they just work smarter. They work smarter because they’ve made all the mistakes you’re making now, they’ve learned from their mistakes, changed their mindset, and apply the success principles they learn DAILY.
Are you ready to be more productive than you ever have before?
Then let’s take a look at my list of productivity tips, which can be applied to solo agents or brokerage teams.
12 Real Estate Productivity Tips For Better Time Management
1) Set specific goals
Quite often, we fail to reach our goals because we haven’t defined them clearly. It’s simply not enough to say, “I want to make more money this year,” or “I’d like to spend more time with my family.”
Take the time to define your goals with specifics. How much more money do you want or need to earn? Write that number down. Then, set a time frame, and work incrementally towards your target. Set a goal for each day, week, month, until you reach your target.
2) Find The Why That Makes You Cry
Once you settle on a goal and a specific target, you need to clarify your purpose or ‘the why that makes you cry.’ If your goal, for example, is to earn more money, determine WHY you need more money. Are you saving towards retirement, a vacation, or a new vehicle?
The ‘why’, in fact, is more important than the ‘what’. Because if you lose sight of why you have settled on a particular goal, it will be much more difficult to stay motivated.
3) Stop Trying So Hard!
Building a long-term real estate career isn’t easy. A lot of agents burnout within the first 2 – 5 years. They lose the passion and the drive that is necessary to stay competitive, especially when inventory is low.
Being busy is not the same as being productive. Top performers focus on the activities that support their goals. They leverage technology to help them be more productive.
So, instead of booking more listing appointments, learn to qualify leads better so that you actually see fewer prospects and close a higher percentage. It’s much more productive to close 1 out of every 2 appointments, rather than 1 out of every 10!
You may discover that your choices are actually working against you. You may decide that you need to re-evaluate your goals or your priorities. Either way, you’ll suffer burn out quickly if you don’t prune your daily tasks down to the essentials.
4) Create A Daily Checklist
OK, some of you might think a checklist is somewhat juvenile, but I use a checklist every day!
A checklist helps me to actually visualize and prioritize my daily tasks. With a checklist on my desk, I can systematically work through my list and easily assess my productivity for that day.
Your daily checklist can be a simple template you create on an Excel or Google spreadsheet. It can also be a pad of paper you write your tasks on. Start the first 10 minutes of your day writing down all the things you need to accomplish. Cross out the tasks that don’t directly contribute to your goals. Then, check off each task as you complete it.
Believe me, there’s a rush of satisfaction you get from crossing off an item on your checklist. It’s almost addictive and highly rewarding to review your checklist at the end of the day. By using a checklist daily, you’ll start to recognize patterns in your daily/weekly routine and solutions to improve your results.
5) Prioritize Your Tasks Each Day
Prioritizing your daily tasks will make you so much more productive and mindful of how you spend your time.
Start by asking yourself: which activities generate the most income for you?
Then, begin each day prioritizing your most income-producing tasks first:
- Transactional tasks: active listings, existing clients, MLS research/updates, submit paperwork to brokerage, lawyer, bank, provide documents to clients (waivers, listing agreements, etc), follow-up appointments
- Prospecting tasks: cold calling, door-knocking, networking events, social media engagement
- Marketing Tasks: client newsletter, update your website, advertising open houses, lead generation, etc
- Training Tasks: brokerage training, seminars, webinars, coaching events, etc
- Administrative Tasks: bookkeeping, website maintenance, social media maintenance, etc
Now, if you’re a new agent, training should be a top priority until you land your first client. The more knowledgeable you are, the more effective you will be at prospecting and marketing.
6) Avoid Multitasking
Guess what? You can’t fry an egg, watch Netflix, and practice your downward dog at the same time. I mean, you can try, but one of those activities will suffer.
Multi-tasking is for people who lack focus and don’t care about producing a stellar outcome.
Don’t cold call prospects while you surf the internet. Instead, set aside an hour, remove all distractions, and hunker down. Give each call your undivided attention, and you’ll be much more productive.
7) Learn To Be Flexible
The T-Rex was the most frightening predator of the Jurassic period, but they are all extinct because they couldn’t adapt. Even the strongest animals need to be flexible to survive.
If you scheduled an hour for prospecting in your neighborhood but you get an unexpected request for a listing appointment, are you going to turn it down because you haven’t finished prospecting?
That would be ridonkulous, right? Schedules are helpful for keeping you on track and mindful, but they are not written in stone. Be open to changing your priorities if an opportunity actually supports your goal. Then, adjust your targets accordingly to make sure you can still reach your goals.
So, for example, if you spent more time on open houses than prospecting, you’ll need to adjust your prospecting goals for the month.
You should also assess the time you spent on open houses to determine how effective you were. If the time you spent on open houses produced 0 leads, perhaps you need to spend more time next month improving your open houses, or devote more time to prospecting.
8) Leverage Automation Technology
It’s the 21st century, folks! Sure, we may not be driving around in flying cars yet, but automation and AI technology are rapidly evolving how we do business, including real estate.
There are literally a ton of real estate apps and software designed to help you work smarter, faster, with less effort. Everything from emails to your social media content can be automated.
Find out what more experienced agents are using. And check out our list of essential real estate apps in 2018!
9) Batch Small Tasks Together
Let’s say you want to interview local business owners and feature them on your website as part of your prospecting strategy. Rather than trying to book an interview each day, schedule a series of interviews for the same day, or a week.
Produce the interviews all at the same time, and release them strategically. In other words, spend an entire week producing the final interviews (video, blog post, etc). This way, you can focus the rest of your month on income-producing tasks.
Don’t overextend yourself either when you batch tasks. Set a realistic goal. If you have 5 social media accounts, spend an hour or two scheduling your posts for the entire week. You’ll be much more focused and more productive with your time by batching similar tasks together.
10) Limit Your Time On Social Media And TV
How many times per day do you spend surfing on YouTube or checking your Instagram? Calculate that time, and assess how much income you were able to earn as a result.
Chances are, the answer is ZERO. So, why are you watching someone else’s success when you still haven’t reached your goal? The time you spent scrolling on Instagram could have been better used creating an Instagram post branding you as the local housing market expert.
Limit your time indulging in distractions, and you’ll use your time more productively. Eventually, you’ll realize how valuable your time is, and you won’t want to waste a second on activities that don’t empower you.
11) Track Results And Assess Inefficiencies
I couldn’t run my business, Parkbench, without tracking my results. Data informs every decision I make because the data doesn’t lie. I may have a hunch about why a landing page isn’t converting, but A/B testing gives me the metrics I need to make informed decisions.
If you don’t track and measure your results, you’ll be like most agents who fail to hit their revenue targets. So track your cold calls, your listing appointments, and all of your lead generation efforts. Use the web analytics provided by your Facebook, your website, or other social media, to calculate your ROI.
With accurate, timely data in hand, you can adjust your marketing budget or your schedule as needed. You can then invest more wisely in actions and resources that generate positive results.
12) Outsource When And Where Possible
No one is good at everything. Would you try to be the catcher, pitcher, and outfielder? Of course not! So why are you wearing so many different hats to build your real estate business?
Focus on what you do best, and outsource the other tasks. There are very affordable services that will match your need with the right freelancer for just about any service you can think of.
You could, for example, hire someone to manage your social media accounts, or an assistant to handle administrative tasks. Hire a freelance videographer or graphic designer to create a batch of content.
Ballers aren’t born, they’re made. You don’t actually have to work harder than the competition if you’re working smarter. So do yourself a favor and make it your goal to streamline your productivity. Become more mindful of your time, and you’ll be making strides towards truly becoming THE local leader of your neighborhood!
Were these tips helpful for you? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear your feedback!