Real estate is an industry that attracts a lot of entrepreneurs, self-starters, and big dreamers. Why? The short answer is the real estate industry offers virtually endless amounts of opportunity, and, in many cases, there are fewer roadblocks to getting started than there are in other industries. Most entrepreneurs, self-starters, and big dreamers also greatly enjoy the prospects of being in charge of their own schedules.
A real estate agent, at least in theory, has the freedom to structure their schedule in a manner that fits their preferred lifestyle. The reality, however, is most new agents find that managing their time effectively in real estate is one of the most challenging aspects of having a successful practice. If you struggle in the area of time management or have reason to believe you will, try putting some of these time management strategies for real estate into your practice.
Set Up Your Schedule
Unless you are working as an hourly employee for a real estate firm, the chances are that you do not have a required schedule to keep or clock to punch daily as an agent. And our guess is that you like it that way, and it’s one of the reasons you are in the business in the first place. The challenge is that while it is nice not to have to punch the clock, it is probably going to be necessary to punch one to find success. Real estate is hard.
Most new agents wonder, "How am I going to spend all the free time I'm about to have as a result of being in real estate?" Most experienced agents wonder, "How am I going to find any free time?" There is not enough time in the day to get everything done! New agents should force themselves to allocate as much time as possible in the early stages of their practice to build their business. If they punch the clock and begin doing specific designated activities every day, soon enough, they will probably be busier than they want to be.
Put Specific Activities For Your Goals
Punching the clock is an essential first step to positive time management, but identifying the necessary activities that need to be done during that time is even more important. It is highly recommended that you put specific activity goals into place. Create a goal sheet of the big things you would like to accomplish, then break that down to specific activities that you need to do to make the goal a reality.
For example, if your goal is to get five properties under contract in the next six weeks, how are you going to achieve that? Well, it will not happen by merely stating the goal, punching the clock, and waiting for clients to arrive. No, you need to say, "What activity will result in five contracts?" Identify the activities required to make the goal possible.
Establish Daily Tasks
Next, break those identified activities into daily tasks that you need to complete. What might that look like? If your big goal is five contracts in the next six weeks, perhaps you can identify two areas of focus like social media and door knocking as the channels to attract new clients. For social media, maybe you can commit to posting on three different platforms twice a day, five days a week. For door knocking, you can commit to identifying three local neighborhoods and canvassing for three weeks.
If you force yourself to do the small item action steps when you punch the clock, the big goals will take care of themselves. Doing this will keep you from wasting time on a non-impactful activity. Try breaking your goals down to practical action steps, and your use of work time will be far more effective.
Get Leverage With Time Management Tools
It has never been easier for real estate agents to “work smart.” There are ample tools available to help you with time management. For instance, try using a customer management platform that automates follow-up communication or messages to your past clients. Agents should consider implementing platforms like video conferencing, electronic signature software for handling of documents, video tours for listings, social media for marketing. You can check out a list of the top apps that help real estate agents find the resources that will allow them to leverage their time.
When a tool is doing its job effectively, it should allow the agent to better allocate their time to things the tools cannot help them with. Leveraging the tools that are available will help free up the precious minutes of the day that would otherwise be tied down by logistics. There is only one of you, so let the tools make you more efficient with your time.
Develop A Work-Life Balance Mindset
The last point about time management is to make sure you build in time to enjoy your life. New agents should “work hard, play hard.” When it is time to work, be committed to making that time valuable. But at some point, stop to enjoy your life outside of work. Block off specific sections of time to be with your family and loved ones and build time for recreation and personal development.
Clients and transactions will come and go, and there will always be another deal to chase. But when it is all said and done, you will remember that you've worked as hard as you can for the people and causes that mean the most to you. Work hard, play hard, and enjoy your time both on and off the clock.