Real estate professionals who are still working 60 hours a week, even with all of the helpful technology and resources available, are smart to consider the importance of time management.
As a real estate agent, you might hear about colleagues who are putting in 80-plus hours per week, and you may feel you need to be at least that busy to succeed. While you are evaluating other agents’ time spent farming, showing properties and writing contracts, do a bit of research on how many deals they are actually closing.
The most stressed-out and hardest working agents are not always the ones who are the most productive. In fact, they are likely the least effective.
There is a better way to sell real estate than working 70 hours each week to get ahead, professionally and financially. With the right strategy and tools, you can stick to the time-tested 40-hour work week and thrive. Or, you might even be able to cut several hours of your week at work in favor of more personal time.
The choice between working too much and having enough hours in your week for downtime may seem obvious. Knowing how to work smarter, so that you can balance work and private time, can elude even the seasoned agent, however.
If you get one takeaway from learning the importance of time management, it should be that working smarter, not harder, will help you enjoy all of the benefits of being a top-producing real estate agent: money, freedom and meaningful connections.
Here are some time management tips for busy real estate agents.
Prioritize Daily Tasks
Figuring out which of your tasks are the highest priority is the first step to effective time management. To best manage your time, you are going to have to set aside a few hours to evaluate everything you do, day to day, in the course of selling real estate. Then, you need to place each one of your tasks into one of the following categories:
- Not So Urgent
- Not So Important
After you have categorized each of your tasks, determine which ones to tackle first, schedule for later, delegate or take off your to-do list altogether.
Take care of urgent and important tasks first. Prioritize all tasks that are marked urgent and important. Do urgent tasks first each day, followed by important tasks if you have time. Urgent tasks may include anything that directly earns you money or clients, such as managing ads on Facebook or responding to leads. Important but not urgent tasks do not need immediate attention every day, so you can schedule these for later.
Delegate what you can. Some agents have a hard time delegating tasks, either because they prefer to be in control or because they are not aware of available resources and help. Delegating is a great way to lighten your load as a real estate agent. Consider outsourcing someone to handle social media, screen inbound leads and optimize your online presence. Hire a virtual or in-house assistant, or transaction coordinator, to send client forms and keep track of important dates during escrow.
Do not do what is not important. Scratch the not-so-urgent and not-so-important tasks off of your to-do list for a while. When you have freed up time due to your attention to time management, revisit these tasks to see if you can delegate them or replace them with a new strategy for success. Non-important tasks include anything that you have been doing repeatedly, for a lengthy amount of time, and that are not producing the results that you want.
Automate Your Lead Generation and Outreach Approach
Most top real estate agents focus on automated lead generation and outreach in their time management strategies. A good CRM (customer relations manager) is your best friend when trying to save yourself from the time spent doing routine work.
CRMs help you target the best leads at the right time, with the best message. They allow you to automate outreach for communication related to new listings, open houses, client birthdays and anniversaries and all messaging that is critical for nurturing potential buyers and sellers.
Choose a CRM that will help you stay in touch with leads, close deals and get new referrals through content-sharing functionality. Many CRMs will directly integrate with your local MLS, which is helpful when you want to blast market updates, listings and neighborhood information.
Become Part of a Team
Real estate professionals often start or become part of a team, realizing that sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. A team estate agents, with each member focusing on a specific point of interest or expertise, is often much more beneficial to the individual agents involved.
Consider teams that have a buyer’s agent, seller’s agent, transaction coordinator, escrow officer, office assistant, marketing coordinator and closing expert on hand. What could you, as the leader of a team, delegate to other like-minded professionals – even junior members who are eager to learn – so that you can concentrate on what matters most and achieve greater success?
Strategize Your Time
Every real estate agent will benefit from sitting down for an hour or so each week to think about how time might be used more efficiently. As you focus on scheduling time for your new week, adopt strategies that others agents – or you – have shown to increase production. Block time in your days, and week, for urgent and important tasks. And, remember to focus on keeping a schedule that leaves time for relaxation.
Stay mindful that stuffing two weeks of work into one is not always the way to meet your financial and professional goals. Learn the importance of time management, and strategic schedule planning, and you will likely enjoy less time on the job and more hours spent finding fulfillment in other ways.
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