Henry David Thoreau once said, “It’s not enough to be busy; so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?”
Time management skills are important for any working professional, but especially for real estate agents, who often work from sunup to sundown and rarely, if ever, take vacation days. So if you ever catch yourself at the end of what felt like a hectic day wondering what it was you accomplished, these time management tips may help you become a better real estate agent (and a more productive person!).
Set aside a few minutes at the beginning of every day to write down everything you want to accomplish that day. Then, categorize each task in order of urgency (i.e., Urgent, Important, Low Priority). Focus on the top three most urgent tasks for that day; once you accomplish those, move on to the next tasks. If you don’t make it past the first three tasks, be satisfied knowing that you got done what absolutely needed to be done.
2. Track Your Time
Use a free time-tracking app like RescueTime Lite or a Google Chrome add-on like TimeYourWeb Time Tracker to find out what you spend most of your time doing while you’re at your computer. For example, are you spending most of the day working in Google Docs or your CRM, or are you getting way more distracted by Facebook and Instagram than you thought you were? This is how you find out: track your time using one of these tools for a week, then identify areas of distraction and work to reduce them.
Maybe your time tracker shows that you typically spend 2 hours of every weekday replying to emails or 6 hours on Saturday staring blankly at a Google Doc while trying to think of what to post on your blog. If at all possible, consider handing these tasks off to an assistant or a freelancer. If you have employees working under you, resist the urge to micro-manage and do everything yourself. Delegate tasks that aren’t essential for you to do yourself and trust your employees to handle them.
4. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Getting enough quality sleep— you need both enough quantity and enough quality sleep—is crucial to achieving and maintaining peak productivity and energy levels. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” What he meant was that “sharpening his ax,” a metaphor for practicing self-care, made it possible for him to accomplish in only two hours what it would have otherwise taken the full six. As a result, you can sleep soundly for nine hours and accomplish more the next day than if you had worked all through the night.
5. Do One Thing at a Time
“The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.” — Michael Altshuler, entrepreneur and peak performance coach.
You might be thinking: how can I possibly get more done by only doing one thing at a time? For decades now, people have prided themselves on their ability to “multitask,” making them feel like they’re accomplishing more tasks faster. In truth, multitasking is a myth; the human brain doesn’t work that way. The ancient Roman author Publilius Syrus put it best when he wrote, “To do two things at once is to do neither.”