How do you like to spend your time?
For most of us, this seemingly innocuous question is a major source of pain. Sure, you can be a business rockstar, but get ready to never see your kids. Or yeah, you can get fit and healthy, but only if you cut an hour from your already crammed day.
No matter how hard we try, we can never have it all — especially, in real estate.
But a great time management system CAN give you more abundance in every area of life. And it’s not just about time blocking or waking up at 4am. (Although, those things can definitely help.)
We asked a group of expert coaches to share their best-kept secrets for how to squeeze more awesomeness out of each and every day. Take a look. Some of them will surprise you.
Everyone complains about not having enough time, but how many of us can accurately define what time is?
Effective time management begins with resetting your beliefs about what time is and how it should be used. Along with money, our time and our energy are the most valuable assets we have.
But unlike money, time and energy are finite.
Justin Devonshire is a serial entrepreneur, business systems coach and the creator of the Expert Business Blueprint. He recommends thinking about time as a currency.
“The really important currency is energy. Energy is a very important resource. And everyone gets this wrong. Time and energy are definitely linked, but they’re not the same thing.”
According to Justin, when we experience stress and burnout, it’s because we’ve been investing too much energy (and of course, time) and not enough leverage into our business. “Energy is what we call a sensitive currency. It’s easily knocked off pace by external events,” Justin says. Just like investing in currencies, if you invest in a country that’s been hit by a war or natural disaster, that currency is going to decline in value.
Think about it. Are you using the currency of time in a way that gets you maximum return on your energy? Or are you burning through both of these crucial assets?
This next tip will help you find your answer.
Many of us pride ourselves on being “hustlers”, “multi-taskers” and “hard workers”. But even Grant Cardone will tell you saving your energy is NOT lazy. It’s smart.
And many leading coaches agree. Donna Stott is the co-founder of Your Coaching Matters. A true time management master, Donna coaches mega teams on how to reach peak productivity. (In fact, she’s even writing a complete course on it now! You can learn all about it here.)
Donna’s best tip for time management mastery is to leverage the energy of fun:
“Learn what your current intentions are for your business and your life. Get them so clear you can taste it. Understand who you are at your core, as the person that is bringing those intentions into physical reality. Create goals that support those intentions and use the energy of FUN to do the tasks required to meet the goals.”
What does your perfect day, life and business look like? Visualize the life you really want. The one that feels the most awesome.
When you know in your core what you want most for your business and your life, it’ll be way easier to get clear on the tasks and activities that can take you there.
Want more time for the fun stuff? See how Follow Up Boss helps you nurture more leads in less time.
Owner of the GSD Mode, Joshua Smith knows the high price of poor time management first hand.
“For a lot of years, this was something I did not take seriously and unfortunately I wasted an insane amount of time and energy by focusing on the right things which not only cost me a lot of money and for several years I missed out on being able to spend time with my family, which I later discovered was 100% unnecessary,” says Joshua.
He recommends tracking your time and your results, then ruthlessly eliminating anything that’s not working.
Here’s his two-step process:
“#1: Get crystal clear on what you want in business and life. Then make sure everything you do with your time is getting you one step closer to making that a reality. It’s either a “Hell Yes!”, this is getting me closer to what I want to create, or it is a “Hard No!”. Eliminate all the BS, it’s just noise!
#2: Spend 30 minutes a day to plan and reflect. Each day you should have a plan in place so you know what needs to be done from the second your eyes open, until the second they shut. What must happen to today in order to be on track to make your goals a reality!
Make sure that you are reflecting each day on how you did. When you are reflecting, first identify what you spent time on that needs to be eliminated. Then identify areas that you can become more effective and efficient at so you can do more in less time. Do this every single day and you will find that “time management” will never be an issue for you again and you will absolutely DOMINATE!”
Eliminating tasks that feel necessary (but actually aren’t) may seem impossible. But with a little help from the right systems and people, it’s completely doable.
Don’t believe us? Check out these next two tips.
Bonus Tip! Leading real estate coach Dr. Lee Davenport recommends using ‘Time-Block Bouncers’ to set boundaries around your time. When you’re working on the routine part of your day (like placing calls or writing note cards), do the opposite of Ted Danson on Cheers and get yourself to a place where NO ONE knows your name. Lee recommends finding a cyber-safe workspaces (never put your client’s sensitive data at risk!). Try Coworking.com and DeskNear.Me to find a secure setting.
Across the board, top coaches all agree the #1 BIGGEST mistake agents make is not having a system to help them leverage their time.
Lori Ballen is the CEO of Ballen Brands, the bold leader of the Lori Ballen Team at Keller Williams and a coach you’ve definitely heard of. According to Lori, it IS possible to buy your time back:
“Leverage, which includes a great system, allows an agent to essentially “buy” their time back, which is priceless.”
And “priceless” is no exaggeration. For rockstar Realtors like Barry Jenkins systematizing his business means he gets to pick his son up from school every day, and still sell 240 homes a year.
Or, as leading coach and CEO of the Don’t Settle Group, Travis Robertson puts it, “The vast majority of real estate agents think they only work 40 hours per week, until we point out that if you’re answering emails in bed at 11:00pm instead of having sex or sleeping, then you’re working closer to 80 hours per week.”
If you’ve been trying in vain to time-block your day and it still isn’t working, you need to go back to steps 1 and 2, get clear on what time itself actually is and how you really want to spend it. Then, automate or delegate everything else.
(Psst, we took an objective look at how to choose a real estate CRM to help you get started.)
Why sugarcoat it? Our egos are usually the reason there’s never enough time in the day.
Nationally recognized real estate coach, Dr. Lee Davenport of Learn With Lee says it best. “The biggest time management mistake I see, and that I personally have made, is that we are too self-sufficient. It’s what I call ‘The Army of 1’ syndrome.”
Tenacity is great when you’re growing your business, but there will come a time when you just can’t do it all yourself.
Lee shared a cautionary tale with us that says it all:
“An agent had a 2-hour window to both deliver an original blue-ink signed Purchase & Sale contract (multiple offer situation) and meet with a developer of a multi-million dollar real estate project. The agent planned to deliver the contract first, then meet with the developer. Unbeknownst to the agent, there was a wreck on the freeway. She barely delivered the contract on time and missed the meeting with the developer altogether. I repeat: She missed out on being the agent for a multi-million dollar development. She could have easily stopped being ‘the army of 1’ and paid a courier service $50 or less to deliver the contract so she could focus on the meeting. Moral of the story: HELP is not a bad four-letter word.”
Whether it’s your very first VA or a quick call to FedEx, delegating tasks is absolutely crucial to using your time in the best possible way.
And by the way, if you think you’re ready to make your first hire, our deep dive on team-building is a must-read.
You’re going to hate this one.
I know we said you don’t have to wake up at 4am to be a rockstar Realtor. But would it kill you to get up a half an hour earlier?
Apart from using a system to help you leverage your time, starting your day earlier was the ONLY other tip consistently recommended by almost every coach we talked to.
Travis Robertson of The Don’t Settle Group doesn’t mince words on the matter:
“Wake up before 6am. Seriously. Most people don’t even know their clocks have a 5am setting on them. My most productive days are when I wake up between 3-5am. If you’re sleeping until 6am or 7am, you are forced to wake up reactively and you end up spending the rest of your day reacting to everyone else. If you wake up at 5am, you get to start the day with intention. You work on the three most important parts of your success: spiritual, mindset and body. Do that for 1 month and I guarantee your business will take off. How you start the day is how you will experience the day.”
We’re not saying you have go full Seth Godin and give up your TV time, but if you manage to wake up even just a little bit earlier, you might be surprised how much more you can get out of your day.
And as a bonus, coaches like Donna Stott say effective time management often comes with some surprising perks. “Here’s a funny side-benefit of using great time management. In my experience, people have something strange occur as they master these tools. Agents become more fit and healthy. They’re not catching breakfast, lunch and dinner on the fly. It doesn’t happen with perfection, but with ease and gratefulness,” she says.
Losing weight in a way that feels easy is one heck of a side benefit! But when you’re completely dedicated to the things that truly and deeply matter, it makes sense that things could actually start falling into place.
According to Dirk, “A solid time management strategy and system is paramount to success. It’s not a one-size-fits-all and needs to be customized based on goals, type of business, lead generation sources, marketplace, work rhythm.”
But one thing we all have in common is the occasional need to recharge our batteries. Ignore that need, and you can lose some serious cash.
Here’s a story from Dirk about an agent who was having trouble taking time off:
“We all have a specific number of weeks we can produce with high intensity before we lose our edge. Once we cross that line of those weeks our energy, intensity and focus drops. In sales when you are off a little you are off by a mile. I expressed this to a coaching client in the last month. He had not taken more than a day off here and there all year. I could tell he was tired, off his game, had lost the edge. The action plan was get 4 tp 5 days away to recharge. He did it and this month is a six-figure commission pending, making it his highest month ever.”
Once you have your systems and team in place, you should have no problem taking time off. But it is possible that until you get there, you’ll be even more stretched and stressed for a that period of time in between.
Don’t worry. Dirk also has some helpful advice for getting from point A to B. “It is possible because of expansion, recruiting, hiring and training your time will be more limited. Focus on achieving a 4 out of 5 day standard or 3 out of 4 day standard. Either of those will help you maintain your sales momentum as you work to scale.”
BONUS TIP: Dirk also advises agents that: “High productive use of your time starts with knowing what your premium time is for you. Premium time is the 3 hours a day where you have more energy, intensity and focus. That is the time you need to master. To win the day you must first master your premium time. You need to be doing actions that will generate high returns in that time frame.”
There’s no magic formula to becoming a true time management master. But don’t give up. When you finally find the tools and system that work for you, nothing can stop you.
And if you want to do more follow up in less time, you know who to call.