Finding the Time

Time management is a skill that all real estate agents and property managers need to master, but who has the time to do it? Julianna Forsyth shares some tips on ticking time management off your “to do” list.

I am the type of person who writes lists and systematically crosses items off – to the extent that if I do something that wasn’t on the list I will write it on there just to the have the satisfaction of crossing it off! You say that’s crazy? Well, it may very well be, but I do get “stuff” done.

So let’s look at this issue of time management. I have attended many seminars on time management and been told the same thing; plan and prioritise, then plan and prioritise some more. But does it really matter if you plan at the beginning or end of the day? Does it really matter how you plan, either written lists or computerised? Is it really true that “a tidy desk equals a tidy mind”? I think not.

I want to look at this in a slightly different way. Let’s look at our attitude towards time and see the way that effects how we complete tasks. Our attitudes toward tasks before us are far more likely to help achieve goals than a strategy we have read about. So, what attitude should you have? I think it is important to look at the following three points:

1. Don’t see time as the enemy.
We can’t actually change time so stop getting stressed about it and fighting against it. Sometimes it is so easy for us to get wrapped up in how busy we are that we forget we are all given exactly the same amount of time to play with. So why do some people seem to get much more done than others? Try to discover yourself – for just one week be more conscious of the way you spend your time. Become aware!

  • Listen to how people talk to you
  • Listen to how you talk to others
  • Reflect on the number of times you get annoyed or frustrated
  • Check how many times you smile
  • Monitor how many times you say “thank you” genuinely
  • Check how often you plan, implement and review your actions
  • Realise and enjoy when you are just sitting or day dreaming.

Don’t work all day and then relive it for four hours by telling everyone about it. Don’t tell everyone what a bad day you’re having, how busy you are, how you wished it was only February. Get home and start focusing on the other things in your life, like your partner, your family, your friends, your hobbies and that exercise that we all keep putting off.

2. Understand time properly.
Have you ever been on the treadmill and you are exhausted, in fact you are struggling to breathe, and you look at the timer and you have exactly one minute to go? Boy does that one minute take a long time. We waste a lot of those minutes every day by day dreaming, fidgeting, and getting that extra cup of coffee. A friend once said to me, “Julianna it’s not about how many hours you have in the day you should be looking at, but how many summers you have left.” Now that makes you think! After googling life expectancy of a non smoking female I realised that I only had around 40 summers left! Suddenly my management of time changed. I still had a lot to achieve professionally and personally and I only had 40 summers to do it!

3. We can’t make more time no matter how much we would like to.

I suggest you stop doing the things that you don’t want to do anymore, including within your personal life. Time management is not just about managing your time at work, but also at home. I have worked with many property managers and salespeople and after listening to their issues about time management I nearly always find that not only are they frantic at work but frantic at home. They have no time to themselves and their energy is being sapped by this habit of being “on” 120 per cent of the time.

It’s all about capacity. I have some rules:

Drop the things that you are not completely passionate about. If you find yourself doing something for the sake of it, re-evaluate it and decide if you need to continue. I was a happy social tennis player for 15 years, religiously played twice weekly and was the president of the club. One day I realised the passion had gone but letting the club down was not an option. Finally I resigned and the relief I felt and the time I had back was worth the initial guilt.

Buy the things that you are not good at or just don’t like doing.
This relates to all the ladies out there working ten hour days and still going home to clean the toilet! Cleaners could be the answer. This also relates to all property managers and salespeople that need to look at delegating some tasks to the right people or employing personal asssistants to assist them with their jobs. Review what you are doing and check if there is anything that you could concede, computerise or even stop. You need to find the time to sit and re-evaluate how you do your everyday tasks. Doing the same things the same way will give you the same headaches.

Learn to say “no”!
Some people are just “yes” people and learning to say “no” straight up is near impossible. But we have to know what our capacity is and we have to be able to say “no”. I often get told that at times you have to say “yes” and I agree but before saying “yes” just breathe and think, “Can I really do this efficiently and within the time frame asked without sacrificing something else at work or personally?” A great example was many years ago I was asked to help a fund raising event for my tennis club by making cheese rolls. It was going to be 12 hours of rolling cheese in bread. I had better things to do! However, I felt guilty and was just about to say “yes” when I asked,How much would my 100 packs of cheese rolls actually raise?The answer was $50! I paid outright and continued to enjoy my weekend.

Do a job, then you get a job.
Delegation is an art and one we need to learn. We also need to learn that control freak behaviour stunts the growth of any business.. If we find ourselves grabbing work that doesn’t really fit with our role then we have to sit back and think why. Is it because we think we can do it better, always did it in the past and have struggled to let go, or we just didn’t realise we were doing it? If we continue to do a job it will end up back on our desk! Learn how to teach and delegate effectively and remember to focus on others’ results and not the process.

Decide what is not negotiable in your life.
This is simple and probably one of the most important messages in this article. There are certain things in your life that are just not negotiable and you must know what they are. Put your non negotiable time in your diary now and stick to it! Good luck!


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Julianna Forsyth

Julianna Forsyth is Head of Client Services at Marsh Commerical UK and holds a proven record of designing, developing and rolling out quantifiable, visionary CX programmes.