Change the Way You Work: Time Management Tips
Mark Schnurman Dec. 9, 2013, 2 p.m.
For brokers, there never seems to be enough time to get everything done.
Balancing work, family and fun in a world of 24/7 connections is difficult. But here is some perspective: There are 168 hours in a week and 1,440 minutes in a day. That’s a lot of time if you manage it well, and no amount of time is enough if you don’t. Shockingly, poor time management results in the average broker performing at only 50 percent of capacity, yet the best brokers produce significantly more than others, because they are more focused, less distracted and obsessively protective of their time.
These time management tips can change the way you work and the amount of money you make:
Be intentional: Success is predicated on making choices that provide control over time. Time management should not be an accidental exercise. Take control. Plan. Be thoughtful about what activities to perform. Don’t waste time chasing unsellable deals or over-researching.
Prioritize: Make a list of all the activities you perform. Next, take the remaining tasks, and list them in order of importance and estimate how much time each one takes each week or day. Focus on high-return activities such as canvassing and appointments. There is a predictable imbalance between cause and effect, so focus on the activities that generate revenue.
Schedule: Every successful time management plan includes scheduling. Here are a few scheduling tips. Schedule higher priority activities first. Therefore, if you run out of time and cannot finish an activity, it will be a low priority. Second, set aside time for scheduling your week or day. Sounds a little strange, but taking 20 or 30 minutes to lay out your day or week will pay big dividends. Third, input the schedule on an electronic (with reminders) calendar such as Outlook. Lastly, small tasks may not need to be scheduled as they can be done during idle time.
Time block: I have found that creating hour-long “power blocks” is the single best way for brokers to efficiently create an interruption-free environment. For example, canvassing, research or analysis can all be done in distinct time blocks. During the block, ignore noncritical emails, phone calls or peers, and stay solely focused on the task at hand. Amazingly, individual work interruptions can cause a 5- to 15-minute loss of productivity, and that is why reducing interruptions is a great way to manage your time.
Manage idle time: We all have idle time, such as travel and time between tasks built into our days. For example, Brokers regularly travel between properties. Take work with you. I always travel with materials and an iPad or laptop. When traveling, make calls, send emails or review reports and documents.
Idle time can occur when unexpected such as a canceled conference call. Be prepared with quick work items to do, such as completing forms, reviewing a short document or writing emails. Then, while waiting for an appointment, conference call or meeting to begin, you can be checking items off your to-do list. By effectively utilizing every minute of your workday, you can create extra free time.
Create boundaries: Set acceptable and manageable limits to relationships, projects and technology. Many people do not want to set boundaries, because they are afraid of how they will be perceived. Don’t be. As commission salespeople, when you don’t work, you don’t earn. Feel free to close your door, not answering a ringing phone or saying “no” to unnecessary meetings.
Time management is one of the important factors that differentiates good brokers from the great. These tips can help you make the transition.