As part of our contributor series, John Walker talks about his best time management strategies for real estate agents and brokers.
Real estate is an industry that attracts a lot of entrepreneurs, self-starters, and big dreamers. Why? The short answer is the real estate industry offers virtually endless amounts of opportunity and in many cases, there are fewer roadblocks in order to get started than there are in other industries. Most entrepreneurs, self-starters, and big dreamers also greatly enjoy the prospects of being in charge of their own schedules. A real estate agent, at least in theory, has the freedom to structure their schedule in a manner that fits their preferred lifestyle. The reality, however, is most new agents find that managing their time effectively in real estate is one of the most challenging aspects of having a successful practice.
Time management strategies for real estate
If you struggle in the area of time management or have reason to believe you will, try putting some of these time management strategies for real estate into your practice.
Step 1: Punch the clock
Unless you are working as an hourly employee for a real estate firm, chances are you do not have a required schedule to keep or a clock to punch on a daily basis as an agent. And my guess is you like it that way, it’s one of the reasons you are in the business in the first place. The challenge is that while it is nice to not have to punch the clock, it is probably going to be necessary to punch one to find success. Real estate is hard. If nobody has shared that with you yet, allow me to be the bad newsperson in the room.
Real estate is hard (I wanted to say it twice to make sure you read it).
Most new agents wonder, “how am I going to spend all the free time I’m about to have as a result of being in real estate?” Most experienced agents wonder, “how am going to find any free time? There is not enough time in the day to get everything done!” New agents should force themselves to allocate as much time as possible in the early stages of their practice to building their business. If they punch the clock and begin doing specific designated activities every day, soon enough they will probably be busier than they want to be.
Step 2: Break your goals down to size
Punching the clock is an important first step to positive time management, but identifying the necessary activities that need to be done during that time is even more important. I highly recommend that you put specific activity goals into place. Create a goal sheet of big things you would like to accomplish, then break that down to specific activities that you need to do to make the goal a reality.
For example, if my goal is to get five properties under contract in the next six weeks, how am going to achieve that? Well, it will not happen by simply stating the goal, punching the clock, and waiting for clients to arrive. No, I need to say, “what activity will result in five contracts?” Identify activities needed to make the goal possible.
Lastly, break those activities into daily tasks that you need to complete. What might that look like? If our big goal is five contracts in the next six weeks, perhaps I identify two areas of focus like social media and door knocking as the channels to attract new clients. For social media, perhaps we commit to posting on three different platforms twice a day, five days a week. For door knocking, we commit to identifying three local neighborhoods and canvassing over a three-week period. If you force yourself to do the small item action steps when you punch the clock, the big level goals will take care of themselves, and it will keep you from wasting time on non-impactful activity. Try breaking your goals down into practical action steps, your use of work time will be far more effective.
Step 3: Leverage is key
It has never been easier for real estate agents to “work smart.” There are ample tools available to help with time management.
For instance, try using a customer management platform that automates follow-up communication to your past clients. For tips on lead scoring and helpful links to software you can use, check out this informative post.
Agents should consider implementing platforms like video conferencing, electronic signature software for handling documents, video tours for listings, social media for marketing.
When a tool is doing its job effectively, it should allow the agent to better allocate their time to things the tools cannot help with. Leveraging the tools available will help free up the precious minutes of the day that would otherwise be tied down by logistics. There is only one of you, let the tools make you more efficient with your time.
Step 4: Develop a work hard, play hard mentality
The last point about time management is to make sure you build in time to enjoy your life. I always tell new agents to “work hard, play hard.” When it is time to work, be committed to making that time valuable. But at some point, stop enjoying your life outside of work. Block off specific sections of time to be with your family and loved ones. Build-in time for recreation and personal development. Clients and transactions will come and go, and there will always be another deal to chase. But when it is all said and done, most of us will remember that we work as hard as we do for the people and causes that mean the most to us. Work hard, play hard, and enjoy your time both on and off the clock.
About the author: John Walker is a real estate broker, educator, and consultant who specializes in helping clients achieve operational success in all aspects of their business.