Time! Rarely do I have enough. On any given day I am torn between focusing on my business, responding to client needs and demands, managing administrative tasks, developing marketing strategies and materials, carting my eleven year old to various extra-curricular activities, carving out personal time for errands or the gym, coordinating schedules with my wife, family and friends, taking the dog for a walk or simply shutting my eyes for a moment’s respite. Although I cherish and enjoy my freedom and independence from a corporate environment, I’m often asking myself when and how to fit it all in?
Here are some key considerations when structuring and implementing your schedule:
· Know who you are and how you like to work. Do you work best alone or in the company of others? As a new agent, is working out of your home office the best scenario? I was so excited with my new found independence I did so for the first few weeks of my career until I realized I was finding excuses not to work or to focus on anything other than real estate. An office environment lends itself to laying that important early foundation to your business practices. Veteran agents offer a wealth of information and experience. Furthermore, they are a great reminder that, although we are independent contractors, we are not alone.
· Does your broker offer educational opportunities? If so, sign up for them. The more you are learning and practicing real estate, even if only in theory, the better you may serve your clients and the lower your risk for errors and omissions.
· Does your broker require you to tour new listings, attend sales meetings, sign up for floor time, etc.? Following these simple disciplines will enhance your knowledge and skill level.
· Invest in a good time/contact management software or paper-based product. I use Microsoft Outlook for e-mail, task and calendar scheduling, etc., synching regularly between my laptop and Pocket PC mobile device. Furthermore, I believe in consolidating technology. My mobile device also incorporates infrared communications capability so I can interact with our Multiple Listing Service’s key boxes and databases. As a new agent, I had a cell phone, Palm Pilot and electronic key. At any given time, I would lose valuable moments trying to locate at least one of them.
· Schedule everything. Whether it’s your weekly sales meeting, a client appointment or trip to the gym, put it in on the calendar. There are some appointments in my day which are personal and recurring. They are no less important to me than any other are treated as such.
· Show up for all appointments on time, prepared and appropriately attired.
· Record a daily voice-mail greeting on your mobile device. Not only does it make a positive impression, I find it tunes me into my day from the outset.
· Most importantly, in my book, carve out time for yourself. Whether a walk on the beach, hour at the gym or moment in the sun, take it. I find myself working for weeks on end without enjoying an entire day off. How, then, do I maintain my sanity? I take personal moments, (small breaks or “units of time” as my wife and I like to joke) during the day which are sacrosanct. Remember. If you are not taking care of yourself and managing your personal time, you’ll be no more successful at managing your professional commitments.
A career in real estate is a marathon, not a sprint. Managing your time effectively and strictly is an effective means of avoiding burn-out.