ONE OF THE LAMENTS regularly heard in real estate is that there is never enough time in the day, says Coach Caroline Bolderston. How well are you managing your diary?
REAL ESTATE IS an unpredictable business. One phone call can throw out your entire plan for the next 12 hours, yet I firmly believe that we still have the power to achieve what we need to every day. I have seen over time that the industry elite tend to carry out their daily functions by removing excuses and taking ultimate responsibility for their actions.
The most important concept to adopt in work and in life is the 80/20 rule. Accept right now that you can proactively control 80 per cent of what occurs in your day; the remaining 20 per cent will cover situations that demand immediate action.
There are four key elements that I believe can help you take control of your time and become more proactive.
FOCUS ON ONE THING
Are you using your time effectively and making the most of the hours in your day? Have you looked at each day of your week and mapped out a mental or written list of your important recurring activities?
Prioritising the non-negotiable activities and actions for each day allows you to ‘check in’ each morning before you leave the house and be clear of what must be achieved by midday. Use this personalised list to steer you through the day and ensure you are doing one thing at a time, and importantly the right thing at the right time.
MAKE BETTER CONSCIOUS DECISIONS
How many decisions do you make each day? Hundreds? Thousands? The answer is impossible to define; we make a multitude of subconscious decisions every day, like simply getting out of bed each morning.
As we can’t account for every decision we make, it’s important to become more aware of conscious decisions, those that are taking up more of your time. Next time a thought or task enters your mind, consciously ask yourself ‘Is this urgent or can it wait?’ This applies to checking Facebook, getting involved in an office conversation or viewing something on YouTube. The decision is yours, so ensure you are making the best use of your time.
Warning: this next suggestion may take you out of your comfort zone! The best thing you can do to keep your mind focused on a current task or train of thought is to turn off your desktop and mobile phone alerts.
For the majority this pushes many boundaries, especially in an era where being contactable at all times is an expectation, but something has to give! Are you checking your emails during a listing presentation? If not, then why do you feel compelled to check them every minute of the day? Make a choice to limit your distractions and only check your emails three or four times a day for 30 minutes at a time.
I have found since adopting this practice several years ago my days are more efficient. You will often find that when you get to your emails many of them have already been resolved, allowing you to allocate your precious time more effectively.
MORNINGS IN, AFTERNOONS OUT
Four years into my real estate career, I found myself operating reactively every day, jumping from client appointments one minute to letterbox dropping the next. Making prospecting calls became secondary as I only had time to react to the constant interruptions and distractions that arose throughout each day.
I wanted to be more proactive and efficient with my time, so I started to cluster all face-to-face appointments in the afternoon, which saved about an hour of parking and travel time to and from the office. The overwhelming advantage of structuring your working day this way is that you dedicate dollar-productive activities such as prospecting, client nurture and booking appraisals all before midday.
It’s an amazing feeling to go home at the end of each day knowing you achieved more and have the results to prove it!