CONTRIBUTORSElite AgentMindset and Personal Development

Mastering time: The psychological edge for real estate success

Time is an invaluable asset.

For real estate salespeople, success hinges not only on their ability to close deals but also on their ability to manage time efficiently.

The demanding  and often unpredictable nature of the real estate industry can pose a significant challenge to professionals aiming to effectively prioritise tasks, maintain energy and motivation for long periods of time when listings aren’t closing, and adopt a proactive approach to their  workday. 

Understanding time management psychology 

Why don’t we plan? Planning can often go into the too hard basket because it requires  effort and sometimes making time for activities you don’t want to do.

But the fact is that managing time effectively inevitably equates to increased sales.

So how can we overcome  this hurdle? 

Sometimes being clear on your purpose, the purpose behind your job, can help to create and sustain the motivation to keep focused on the activities that generate results for you.  

The first step would be to write one sentence to figure out the purpose of your job.

Write down a simple sentence of what your job is and why it exists.

For example, as an agent, your purpose could be to get more listings to have a better lifestyle, or to be the most respected salesperson in the area. 

Planning can be boring as it’s much easier just to take action.

We have all been indoctrinated into the mantra of action as the be all as it’s easier to see the impact, not to mention, it’s easier to act than think.

The immediate gratification of feeling fulfilled upon doing a task is often given more importance than the strategic significance of the task.  

Time management is more than just a skill; it’s a psychological art.

It involves a complex interplay of thoughts, emotions, and behaviours.

To conquer this art, real estate professionals must first understand the psychological underpinnings of effective time management.  

The urgency Vs importance dilemma 

One of the fundamental psychological aspects of time management revolves around the distinction between urgency and importance.

Real estate salespeople often face a barrage of urgent tasks, like responding to client inquiries or attending last-minute meetings.

However, these urgent tasks can sometimes overshadow the truly important  ones, such as strategic planning of prospecting sessions or building long-term client relationships with vendors and buyers.

Here’s a tip, to overcome this dilemma, salespeople must learn to differentiate between urgent and important tasks.

The Eisenhower Matrix, which categorises tasks into four quadrants based on urgency and importance, can be a valuable tool in this regard. 

The cost of distraction is significant when it comes to allocation of time and energy to  important tasks.

It is believed that it takes 20 minutes to get back into the flow once your attention is compromised.

So, if you are distracted twice an hour, it will be difficult to get momentum.

This is one of the reasons why people can feel so frustrated at the end of the day, when they feel they have achieved very little. 

Understanding procrastination  

Procrastination is a common psychological barrier to effective time management.

Real estate professionals may delay important tasks due to fear, perfectionism, or a lack of motivation. Procrastination can lead to rushed work, last-minute stress, and a decrease in overall productivity. 

It’s important to understand procrastination is often not about avoiding doing the task that will make you successful but the fear of failing at the task.

To be seen as a failure by your peers, and in your own eyes, is often enough to stop most salespeople from attempting prospecting or any task that they fear failing at.

We often expect all our plans to be perfect the moment they are formulated. 

Unfortunately, this is rarely the case, and we don’t always achieve everything we plan for.  

An effective solution to combat procrastination is to break tasks into smaller, more manageable steps, setting clear goals, and finding ways to boost motivation, such as by visualising the rewards of completing a task.

It would also be advisable to understand your fears and work to overcome or deal with them better.

These are often ingrained and habitual.  

Managing stress and burnout 

The real estate industry can be highly stressful, and constant long hours can lead to burnout.

Salespeople who regularly work late into the evening may find it challenging to strike a work-life balance, ultimately affecting their mental wellbeing and job satisfaction. 

Implementing stress-management techniques, such as mindfulness, time-blocking, and regular breaks, can help salespeople maintain their mental health and avoid burnout. 

Specific concerns real estate professionals have

While the principles of time management psychology apply universally, real estate salespeople face unique challenges that demand a tailored approach: 

1. Work overload 

The real estate market operates around the clock, and salespeople often find themselves working late nights and weekends.

This can disrupt personal lives and lead to exhaustion.  

Establishing clear boundaries for work hours and leveraging technology to automate routine tasks, freeing up time for strategic work and review of the week can alleviate these problems.

Implementation of an accountability partner or system can help to remove the  emotion from reality.  

2. Delegation dilemma 

Many real estate salespeople struggle with delegation, feeling that they alone can handle their clients’ needs.

This reluctance to delegate can lead to overwhelm. Without delegation it is impossible to grow fast. 

It’s important to recognise that delegation is not a sign of weakness but a strategic move. 

Assigning important tasks to qualified team members can improve efficiency and reduce workload. 

3. Long-term planning

In a business marked by short-term transactions and often only one-off, long-term planning can be challenging.

Yet, it’s crucial for sustainable success. 

The key is to allocate specific time slots for long-term planning, setting achievable goals and creating a roadmap for your career.

Think about the behaviours and tasks that have  the greatest leverage of your time and energy and it becomes relatively simple to choose what to do and what not to do. 

Time management psychology is a critical skill for real estate salespeople seeking to thrive in a demanding industry.

By understanding the psychological aspects of time management, real estate professionals can better prioritise tasks, reduce overtime, and take a proactive approach to their workday. 

Recognising the specific challenges faced by real estate salespeople, such as work overload, delegation dilemmas, and the need for long-term planning, is essential in addressing these issues effectively.

With the right psychological strategies and a commitment to mastering time management, real estate professionals can not only boost their productivity but also enjoy a healthier work-life balance and long-term success in the industry.

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Pancho Mehrotra

Pancho Mehrota is the CEO of Frontier Performance and a recognised leading expert in the area of communication, influence and the psychology of selling.