It has often been said that time is the only level playing field. Each of us is issued exactly 24 hours every day. Over the years, how we invest the sixty minutes in each hour makes the difference between a rich and satisfying career, and an extraordinary life, or regret.
Being efficient with our time enables us to be more productive in our careers and also have the time to enjoy the fruit of our labor.
As a real estate professional, what is the most productive use of your time?
- It isn't scheduling your listing and home showing appointments. Your personal assistant can do that, or you might consider a virtual assistant. (This is 2014, and there are some very good services available.) You might also consider sharing an assistant with another agent in your office.
- It isn't preparing documents and delivering them. By all means check to make sure all the t's are crossed, and i's dotted, but your assistant(s) can handle most of this.
- It isn't running errands. A personal assistant can take care of these, or you can schedule these to be completed in a single block, a few times a week, during the least productive times. Running to the dry cleaners during prime selling time is inexcusable.
- It isn't researching the market, the MLS or the competition. Again, your assistant can handle this. There are also many licensed people that would love to do this for you from their homes.
- It isn't camping out at an open house. Your assistant can put in many of the lonely hours, and call you when there's a genuinely interested prospect. If you choose to sit there, invest the quiet times nurturing the leads in your CRM with thoughtful follow-up emails and calls.
- It isn't researching and writing the next brilliant blog post. Consider having your assistant coached in effective blogging, or hire a content marketing professional.
- It isn't preparing your email newsletter. Jot down the news you want covered, then let the copywriter and creatives at the content marketing agency prepare it for your final approval and emailing.
- Social media… it may or may not be productive. If you are curating content, or making an announcement of a new listing or blog post, get someone else to do it. If you're actively engaging with “warm” prospective buyers and sellers from your CRM, this may actually be valuable selling time. Be honest with yourself, because social can be a huge time waster. This is an area you, or your assistant, will almost certainly want some coaching in, to maximize every minute.
- Just because you can, doesn't mean you should. If you have an aptitude for repairing your own car, keeping the computer running, shooting your own listing photos, entering data into the MLS, or being your own webmaster, the money you save may be penny wise, dollar foolish. Real estate can be a very lucrative profession, but you have to treat it as such. I very much doubt your attorney or periodontist closes the office to tinker on the website or do an oil change.
- I believe it goes without saying that television, shopping for ties at the mall and texting friends and family are bad for business.
The best place for you to spend your time is face to face with your clients. Period. You studied to be an agent or broker and adviser to buyers and sellers. And when you do that well, you are compensated handsomely. Every minute you're squandering in the “necessary evils of the business,” or worse, should be delegated to someone else or eliminated.
If you're not already doing this, you need to take inventory of your work week. Keep track of how you spend every minute of your time. With the many time logging apps available for mobile devices, this has become incredibly easy to do. Log your time by category. At the end of each week, re-evaluate how your time was invested. You may find something else you could assign to someone.