Chances are you often feel as if you don’t have enough time. It’s a common lament among real estate agents. Small wonder, look at all you do! Tracking your time for at least a week or two is probably the quickest way to begin to realize how much you do and to gain a sense of control over your time. Try this two step approach.
Start with your calendarFirst, on whatever calendar system you’re using, block out recurring times for regularly scheduled events like sales meetings and MLS tours. Don’t forget to include important family items that are scheduled in advance. Many calendar programs allow you to choose colors for different categories. This can a helpful way to signal to yourself visually when you’re booked. Mine looks like this, and I do find the colors helpful. The first time you do this plan on spending up to an hour. If you’re using a new-to-you calendar program, do it the first few times in 20 or 30 minute time-frames to avoid total frustration learning new software. It really helps if your calendar can also be used on your smartphone becasue you can update it in the field and see where you’re supposed to be next. Plan on updating your calendar in two ways:
- As appointments and other events are scheduled, plug them in right away.
- Once a week, take half an hour to make sure your calendar is as accurate as you can make it.
Track your timeOnce you’ve got a calendar that works reasonably well, track your time for a week or two. You can do this on a 3 x 5 card if you want, or other paper system. A program like Toggl can make tracking your time easy. It’s free, and it works on your desktop and on both iPhones and Android cell phones as well as on tablet computers. Plus it’s free! Although Toggl does let you set up categories and projects, don’t get too caught up in that for now. The goal is to see how you actually use your workday and how that actual use compares to your plan. I suggest you track everything for a week or two. Start with leaving for the office or your first appointment, and track everything until stop working for the day. Even if you only spend two minutes talking with a friend, if it happens during your work day, record it. The first time real estate agents do this they are often surprised to see how they are actually spending their time. Often they discover time leaks – blocks of time spent doing something that doesn’t truly support their business. Agents are often also surprised to discover just how much time they spend at their business. Examples of time leaks include things like:
- Time web surfing that isn’t work related.
- Coffee reading the newspaper.
- A gossip session with a fellow agent.
- Driving around neighborhoods that you know isn’t productive.