Being productive is a great feeling. To sit back at the end of the end, review your accomplishments and assess what your day will be like tomorrow is the ideal scenario for realtors. The nature of the business, of course, can sometimes steer you away from a neatly planned day, throwing your wrenches with offers, cancellations, client inquiries and more. It seems that chaos has become the norm, and a structured day seems less likely. Believe it or not, you can still plan for chaos in your day. There are some simple rules that you can follow to help you achieve more productivity for your real estate business.
So let’s break down how your day can be better structured, so you are more productive.
1. Preparation is Key
I’m going to insert one of my favourite quotes here by Abraham Lincoln, “Give me 6 hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first 4 hours sharpening my axe.” The importance of preparation will determine how well your day is executed. The more you plan in advance your tasks, priorities and how to solve your problems, the more productive your day would become. The best practice would be to set your agenda the night before. The more detailed this is the, the better. Write down the task and timeline, with any additional steps needed. Here’s an example: Give Jennifer the files to be sent to the client, and send a personal follow up email to the client to notify them the documents are on the way before 10:00am.
Another reason why it’s important to write down your task list the night before, is due to the fact that you are allowing your subconscious mind to absorb your list while you sleep. Writing down tasks improves memory, alertness and motivation to complete your tasks by bringing more focus.
2. Understand the Pareto 80/20 Rule
The Pareto Effect states that 20% of your daily efforts will produce 80% of your results. So focus on the tasks that will yield you your biggest results. Often, people will bombard themselves writing a task list of 40 items, most of which will not have as large of an impact compared to other items. Focus on what the 20% is that will yield you the results.
3. Set Your Priorities
If Realtors really wanted to, they can make an endless list of tasks, as there is always something that needs to be done. The trick is to learn your priorities. Even if you make a list of 20 items that needs to get done, group them by level of priority. For example, the most important priorities can be ‘A’ items, followed by lesser priorities noted by “B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’, being the least important task. Group your items together and choose which ones need to be completed for the next day. Where possible, do not move on to a ‘B’ item, until all ‘A’ tasks are complete. Get the most important, or difficult, tasks first thing in the morning, will yield you better results. The moment you overwhelm yourself with having to respond to emails, check messages, call backs, update listings, approve marketing material, post on social media, check your ROI and much more, you are overwhelming yourself. This puts on pressure that you have no time, you have to hurry up and are more prone to making mistakes. Write it down, set your priorities, and take control.
4. Use Block Times & Pomodoro Technique
When you have a tasks at hand, such as cold calling, content or marketing, it will be more useful to set aside block times. Block times can be in 30, 60 or 90 minute intervals. This means that for this block time, all devices are silent, all other tasks are put on hold and your focus is solely on one particular task. The more prepared you are beforehand for this focused tasks, the better outcome you will receive. For example, if you are setting a block time of 30 minutes for cold calling, already have your list and scripts ready. This way you are using the full 30 minutes to actually make calls, instead of the first 12 getting yourself organized, and cutting your productivity in half.
The Pomodoro Technique can be the solution to really enhance productivity. You can either find this for free online or download the app. The Pomodoro technique times you to work for 25 minutes, then prompts a 5 minute break. After the break, you again are concentrating for another 25 minutes, until it’s time to take another 5 minutes break. This is an old, and proven, technique that boost productivity. Taking 5 minute breaks will contribute more to your outcome, than skipping those 5 minutes to continue working. Get up, walk around, stop staring at the screen and genuinely take a break.
Schedule your block time or pomodoro technique during a time or day of the week, where you typically have less interaction with clients. No two days are the same in real estate, however, you have most likely picked up a pattern where it is less likely clients will require your attention.
5. Have a Work Life Balance
Our determination to succeed can actually sabotage our outcomes. We keep repeating mantras such as, success doesn’t take days off, or hard work is what it takes. To a certain extent, this is true. However, to work 7 days a week, for 12-15 hours a day, does not necessarily mean this is the formula for success. Studies show that after 7-8 hours of working, we become less productive. So on the 9th hour, it may take you 60 minutes to finish a task compared to only 15 minutes when you are more refreshed. The key is not to get 12 hours days, but to become more productive during your 7-8 hour days. Hence, working smarter is better than working harder. Remember, you are 500% more productive if you focus on one task without distractions. This means, silencing everything around you, including someone knocking on your office door to ask you “a quick question”. It takes longer, and more energy, to get your focus back on track. In addition, take a day off every week, without feeling guilty or having a nagging voice about work in the back of your head. Completely shut yourself off, and throw yourself into something that does not relate to work. Relax, get involved with your hobby, spend time with friends or family. This is the only way to really recharge, and not develop resentment towards your career. Even if real estate is your passion, and your love what you do, it’s still important to take a step back and put yourself first.
As an entrepreneur, real estate agents have the flexibility to maintain their schedule the way they would like to. It also means that realtors will have to work evenings and weekends, as the nature of the business requires them to. This is why productivity is needed more for realtors, as the layer of responsibilities to maintain a successful business is heavy. The rewards, however, can also be equally amazing. Controlling what others may seem as chaos, is just all in a day’s work of a real estate agent, especially since no 2 days are alike. That’s what makes them, and the real estate business, so awesome.