Time Management Tool & Tips for Realtors - PART 2

Part 2 all about THE MOST common road block that keeps women from getting the results they desire...TIME 

Last episode we laid the foundation for understanding:

  • your relationship with time
  • your own unique time budget and how to create one for yourself
  • how to allocate your valuable time resource for client-centered activities to avoid getting caught up in the “stop-drop-on-call” reactive activities

So if you haven’t listened to part 1 of this episode, make sure you go back and listen to that one first, as it sets the foundation for getting your time management under control.

Here’s what you’ll learn this month in Part 2:

  • How you can be more productive and in charge of your time when dealing with client centered to-do’s. 
  • How to find opportunities to automate, delegate or even eliminate activities entirely, so that you can streamline your daily processes for time optimization.  
  • How to rewire your habit-brain for practicing better focus, purpose, organization and structure. 
  • How all you need is 25 minutes a day

I really unpack a whole lot of HOW TO’s in this one, so make sure to tune in.

Well hey there and welcome to the Women Rocking Real Estate podcast. For those of you who are new here, my name is Jen Percival and this show is all about how to build a thriving and consistent real estate business in a way that isn’t salesy. I’ve been in the business since 2008 and ran my own real estate brokerage for 5 years. I was able to build a business that I loved in way that I loved and I share all of the ways I was able to do that in the hopes that you can finally feel excited and inspired to build a business in a way you’re comfortable with too.

This episode is Part 2 of a 2-part series all about time management and this topic deserves two episodes because if you can’t get your time management under control, you will never and I repeat never, build the consistent business you desire OR you’ll never have a life outside of your business. So if you haven’t listened to part one of this episode, make sure you go back and listen to that one first, as it sets the foundation for getting your time management under control.

Alright before we jump into today’s episode, I always need to make time to thank those of you that left me 5 star reviews on apple podcasts. So thank you to Maja, Lexi, Desiree, HillSchill, Boise Idaho Girl, love drawsoemthing, schmeidlersells, emarroquinerealtor, hummbajarose and Stephanie. Wow I butchered some of those, but thank you to each and every one of you.

Alright jumping into today’s episode, for those of you that did listen to Part 1 of this, just as a refresher….

No matter how badly you want it, your relationship with time is not going to miraculously change on it’s own. Anything that you decide to implement in your business is going to take an investment of your time or your money. When you are making decisions about how to invest your time, it requires the same planning and budgeting and compromising as you have to do when you’re deciding how to spend your money. The problem is that we treat time like it’s infinite, like we can just make more of it if needed. We commit to things, we say yes to things, we add things, we spend time on things, without acknowledging that we don’t have time for them. We can’t just create new time for things.

So that is the first step in getting your time management under control. You’ve got to know what your time budget is. So step number one is know your time budget. How much time have you got to work with. After your personal commitments are accounted for, what’s left? How many hours do you have left for work? Whatever that number is, allocate 70% of those hours to client-centred activities. The hours you have left after that are what you’ve got to work with.

That’s your time budget. That’s how many hours you have per week to focus on your business. So how are you going to spend that time? Once you see the true picture of what you’ve got to work with, you will likely quickly see that if you’re not super focused, strategic and self-disciplined with that time, you will continually find yourself time broke and in time debt.

This is an exercise that I highly recommend everyone does. It will be eye opening for you and allow you to re-frame your relationship with time and be more realistic with your time moving forward. To help with this, I created a free digital tool that you can use and it comes with a training video on how to use it for your personal situation.

So the bottom line, is that you need to know your time budget BEFORE you can ever decide what you spend time on. If you did this exercise and discovered that you actually only have 1 hour a day to work on your business, wouldn’t that change what you spend that one hour on? If you looked at your Instagram insights and discovered that you were spending an hour every day on the platform, would you decide that THAT activity is the best use of your time, given you will have no other time available to do anything else? If so, you are deciding that scrolling through instagram is going to help you grow your business more than any other activity would and we can all admit that is not true.

So step number 1 is to decide WHAT time you’ve got to work with.

Step number 2 is to decide HOW you’re going to spend that time.

Once you know what you’ve time got to work with, you then need to decide what are the most important activities you could do with that time. If you only had 1 hour a day to work on your business, what is the most important thing you’d need to do?

Depending on where you’re at in your business, that activity will fall into one of two categories: if you’re new or don’t have a consistent business, you need to spend that hour on client-attraction activities and that means activities that are most closely tied to generating leads. Remember I said Closely tied, not loosely tied. So your first step is to look at what all of those activities could be. Brainstorm all of the ways you can generate leads and then rank them from most closely tied to getting results to most loosely tied. Then look at the list and cross of ones you’re not willing to do. For a lot of you that will mean crossing off door knocking or cold calling or calling your friends and family every day bugging them, but what’s left on your list and how high up is it on the list? You’ve got to prioritize your available time doing that activity.

Now if you’re an established agent and your time issue is not related to having enough business, but is related to not having enough life outside of business, then the most important activities you need to focus on are business scaling. Your number one priority would need to be focusing on activities that leverage people, systems and processes so that you can free up more time.

So every one of you listening will fall into one of those two camps, what do you need to focus on more:

Client attraction activities or business scaling activities? Now that you know that, what are the specific activities that you need to prioritize during the time you’ve got available each week? The less time you have available, the more focused you need to be on spending that time on activities that will either a) generate leads or b) free up time.

Once you’ve figured that out, you will realize that you can’t start anything new, without understanding how much time it’s going to take and whether you have that time already available. If you don’t, you either have to say no to it or you have to say no to something else on your list. You can’t squeeze it in.

When we try to just squeeze more things in, without taking stuff out - that’s how we get into time debt. Getting better at managing your time, starts with treating your time like the finite currency that it is. It’s not like money, you can’t go make more of it. You’ve got 24 hours in a day and you need to decide and plan for how you’re going to spend it. That’s the foundational mindset that you need to start with to overhaul your relationship with time.

Once we’ve figured out how much time we actually have available and how we need to spend that time, the next area we often get tripped up on is making it happen.

So the rest of this episode is going to switch gears and focus on how you can be more organized with the time you have and and stay more focused and productive during that time. I actually want to divide this into sections and that is being more productive working IN your business and also ON your business.

When I talk about being more productive IN your business, this is referring to all of the time you spend on client-centred activities. If you remember, I recommend you allocate 70% of your time to things directly related to buying and selling real estate. 70% is a good chunk of time, so if we could be more efficient in how we do things, guess what? You can potentially free up more time for yourself or free up more time for client attraction activities.

So how can you be more productive with your time when dealing with client related things?

Resist being what I call a pop-tart agent. Now again, before you think I’m being judgy, I absolutely was a pop-tart agent and prided myself on it. For those that don’t know the term, it basically means dropping everything you’re doing and re-arranging all of your plans whenever a client demands anything from you - taking them on a showing at the last minute, running comps and looking up sale prices, running to turn the lights on at a listing because the client forgot. When you are new, it is very tempting and often needed to be at your client’s beck and call the second anyone asks. People love responsive and available agents and being this way can often set you apart. But and this is a big but, as soon as you start getting busy, it is not a sustainable strategy. The problem is two-fold, you will have made a habit out of it AND you will have trained your clients to expect it.

Let me just unpack both of those issues briefly. Problem number 1 - you’ve made a habit out of it. Be very careful not to underestimate the implication of this. When you are continually putting everyone else’s needs first and dropping what you’re doing or rearranging all of your plans to meet someone else’s need, you are inadvertently creating a neural network in your brain that you and your time are not as important as everyone else’s. That translates very quickly into an unconscious belief in your brain, that you are not as worthy and when you have an unconscious belief that you’re not worthy, that starts dictating up to 90% of the decisions that you make and the actions that you take. Not good! So making a habit out of dropping everything for other people is a slippery slope and you want to be careful about doing that unintentionally.

The second problem with being a pop-tart agent, is that you train your clients to expect it and because they expect it and are used to it, they will really notice when you’re not responsive or available and can become irritated by that. It’s obviously very important that clients have the perception that you’re responsive and available, but there is a way to give people that perception, without your life revolving around your client’s every waking need and without dropping everything you’re doing or have planned.

If you make it a priority to respond to clients within an hour, most people will view that as being highly responsive. You don’t NEED to respond in 5 minutes, which means you can focus on other things and only check your phone once an hour. The problem, is that most of us are incessant about checking our phones and it interrupts what we were doing and often sends us in a totally different direction down some rabbit hole that could have waited. And had we waited, we could have completed whatever task we were focused on before we got distracted.

Depending on your personality type, you may also be the type that views everything as urgent and must-do right now vs. The reality that it probably isn’t an emergency and doesn’t need to be addressed immediately. There are very few things that can’t wait, but that doesn’t mean you don’t respond at all, it means you respond within an hour to let them know you got their message and set expectations of when you’ll get them what they need. A client texted me asking if there was a survey when they purchased the house. I responded within the hour and said “I’m just on the road and will be back at my office at 12pm and will check right away.” Who is going to have a problem with that….if it’s not an emergency, which that clearly wasn’t. That would still be perceived as being responsive AND it allows you to finish focusing on what you were doing, before task switching.

I’ve talked about this on past podcasts I’m pretty sure, but I also gave clients a link to book appointments in my calendar instead of texting or calling me and trying to coordinate a time. It allowed them to book a time that was convenient for them, according to MY calendar. Now I always made sure there were ample options available and I also let them know how the process worked in my onboarding process. They knew that if it was urgent and they couldn’t find time that worked in my calendar to contact me directly to coordinate. But that was the exception, not the rule.

I used Calendly to manage this and it worked out beautifully for them and for me.

What are some other ways you can be more productive working IN your business? Take some time and look at all of the client-centred activities you do that take up time and look for opportunities to automate, delegate or eliminate each. Are there templates that you can create to automate creation of your marketing materials? Is there an in-house service in your brokerage for transaction and paperwork management? Are you answering the same questions from clients over and over again that you could turn into a video that is released in a drip campaign? Are there checklists or project management tools that you could implement so that you’re not so disorganized and forgetting important things? Could you create an intake form that new sellers fill out online about their property vs. Spending 2 hours driving there to meet in person to gather the information?

When I used to do open houses every Saturday and Sunday it felt like they took up my whole day and putting out and picking up the stupid open house signs was the bane of my existence. The second I found a company I could pay to do that and also put my for sale signs up, was the best money I ever spent.

My point here is don’t just do things on autopilot the way you’ve always done them and assume that’s the only way to do it. Look for opportunities to automate, delegate or eliminate everything you can.

Ok so that sort of sums up some strategies you can implement to be more productive when working IN your business, but the biggest problem most agents I work with have….is being productive working ON their business. This category of work activities always seems to take a back seat and it’s unfortunate because it’s these activities that grow your future business. If you’re only working in your business, eventually there won’t be a business to work on.

My foundations of success program is built on the premise that we become what we practice. If we practice disorganization, we become disorganized. If we practice distraction and task switching, we become more easily distracted and chase the latest shiny object, if we practice overwhelm we become easily overwhelmed. Over time, those patterns of behaviour form our identity and become our auto-pilot.  However it doesn’t have to be that way. Just because we BEHAVE in certain ways, doesn’t mean it’s who we are. We can be who ever we want to be. We can all change and it begins with practicing who you want to become. Just because you are one way today, doesn’t mean you can’t be another way tomorrow.

So If we instead practice focus and purpose and organization and structure, over time we will become focused and purposeful and organized and consistent. These will become our fall-back behaviour patterns instead. But we have to practice it first to become it.

So you are always forming habits whether you’re aware of it or not and if you’re not intentionally trying to form habits that serve you, you will unintentionally form habits that don’t. That is why morning routines are so important. They are about intentionally forming habits, so that over time you become what you practice.

I’ve talked about this a few times before on the podcast, but my morning routine BEGINs the same way every day. It stands for brain priming, which is affirmations on steroids, Exercise, Gratitude, Intention and Nuture. Now lately I feel like I need to add a W in there for Wordle because I’ve become obsessed with it when I wake up and started realizing what a huge time suck it was, so now I’m not allowed to do it unless I’m exercising at the same time.

The other part of a morning routine that I teach, is that the first thing you should be doing in the morning is to spend 25 min working ON your business, before looking at anything related to IN your business. That means don’t check email or go on social media or look at new listings or anything else until AFTER you’ve spent 25 minutes working on your business. The reason for this is multi-fold:

Everything else that you find yourself doing, you’ve already developed a habit around or you’re intrinsically motivated to do it, So you don’t need to put any effort into those activities. Do you have to remind yourself to check your email? Do you have to convince yourself to check your voicemail? No you do it on auto-pilot, so you have to do the hard stuff first. The stuff you don’t look forward to, the stuff you avoid or procrastinate about.
The side effect that happens when you set 25 minutes aside and focus on your business first, before meeting anyone else’s needs, is that you are teaching your brain that your time is worthy, your business is worthy, you are worthy. Not only are you teaching your brain that, but you’re acting in accordance with that belief. And when we believe in our subconcuios that we’re worthy and our time is worthy, we’ll make decisions and take actions that align with that belief and that is how we see long-lasting change. Does that make sense?

But it has to start with 25 minutes a day, 5 days a week. There are agents that I work with making 7 figures that are able to consistently start every day spending 25 minutes working on their business, so if you find yourself coming up with excuses why you won’t be able to do that, recognize what you’re doing.

Why 25 min you might be wondering? It’s based on the Pomodoro technique that anyone can stay focused on one task for just 25 minutes. It’s just 25 minutes, so it’s doable for even the busiest of agents, so there should be no reasons why you can’t do it.

Now it’s only effective if you know what to do in that 25 minutes and that’s where the next problem begins. We have a million things we could be doing or should be doing on our business, but if we don’t have a plan we end up wasting so much time in a state of paralysis and overwhelm. How many times have you sat down to work on something and you don’t know where to start? The project seems so big and overwhelming you try to release that discomfort by finding something else to do like laundry or watching tik tok videos. Not productive.

So in order for that 25 minute window to be productive, you need a plan. Because 25 minutes is such a short window of time, there’s no time to spend trying to figure out what you should be doing in that window. The goal for this 25 minute window, is that you sit down and open up your project management tool and select the next task on the list. You’ve already planned out the entire project and broken it down into 25 min task increments ahead of time, so there’s no thinking involved and THAT is the key to being productive. You can’t waste time THINKING about what you should be doing, you need to go straight into doing mode. So yes there is some brainstorming and planning work that has to go into this process, but that is actually the first task you’d do in your first 25 minute time block. You’d spend 25 minutes brainstorming all of the tasks you’d have to do to complete the project.

In my Foundations program, I teach how to use a project management system called Notion that you can use to manage so many aspects of your real estate business. I’ve created loads of templates to organize your business and plan projects and it’s all based on the time management principle of dedicating 25 minutes every day to work ON your business before you work in your business and to spend that 25 minutes focused on just ONE task related to the most important project that is either client-attraction focused or business-scaling focused.

If you practice this 5 days a week, you will become it and you will be blown away by how much you’re able to accomplish in just 25 minutes a day.

What are some other strategies to help you with time management, outside the 25 minute rule?

I am a big fan of time-blocking and batching in that window. I’ll use content creation as an example….If you need to create content, that requires creative energy. It’s much more effective to stay in that creative headspace and to batch multiple pieces of content in one sitting, vs. Creating on post one day and then another post a few days later. If you’re going to be filming videos, you’d want to batch that content. Filming 3 at one time is much more efficient than getting dolled up and filming them on 3 separate days.

So just to summarize a strategy you can use to once and for all get your time management under control, start by understanding what your realistic time budget is based on what personal commitments you have and then subtract 70% of that time for client centred activities. Whatever is left is your time budget to work on your business. Based on that, be realistic about what you can accomplish with that amount of time and prioritize tasks and projects that are closely tied to either client attraction or business scaling activities depending on where you are in your real estate career. Once you know what general activities you need to be doing with your time, block off 25 minutes 5 days a week to work ON your business before you begin any tasks IN your business. Brainstorm all of the tasks needed to complete that project into 25 minute increments so that when you sit down for your focused time, you know exactly what you’re supposed to be doing and then be very self-disciplined to not let distractions get the better of you for those 25 minutes. That means no phone, no google, no trying to multi-task. Practice organization, focus, purpose and consistency. If you practice it, you will become it.

If you didn’t download the free tool I recommended in the last episode, I highly recommend you do this exercise. You can find it on my website at women rocking real estate under episode 53 or 54.

Alright that’s it, remember the more you learn the more you’ll earn…..but only if you’re implementing what you learn.

Until Next Time.

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