A Time Management Refresher Course for the New Year

Time, we often hear, is our most precious resource. There are only 24 hours in each day and as much as we might wish for more hours, we are much better off finding systems for using that time well than wanting what we can’t have.

While 2019 is still young, assess your time management skills for it’s an area with which many in the real estate industry struggle and it’s crucial to success.

Lucky you! Thanks to our recommendations, you don’t have to recreate the wheel.

1. Take inventory. As we’ve discussed before, no business remains successful without taking periodic inventory of services and systems. For a day or two, write down the amount of time you spend on each thing you do. Do you spend an hour checking and responding to emails? Do you do that once a day or more? Make note of that, and everything else you do in an average day, from commute time to prospecting time on the phone to checking Facebook to meal time. Only by doing that can you see where time is wasted and how you can deploy your time more efficiently.

2. Plot your schedule. Once you’ve assessed your inventory, it’s time to get a grip on your schedule and based on what you’ve discovered in your inventory, you’ll likely be making adjustments to your current one. First, plan for recurring deadlines – if you don’t book them in your Google calendar or write them down (if you are old school!) you may miss them. For at least the first few weeks of your new routine, formally schedule all your time – including sleep, meals, and commute.

3. Use tools to help. Thanks to the wonders of the smart phone, there are numerous excellent apps available to assist you in your venture. Lifehack.org recommends Rescue Time as their top-rated pick: the app sends you weekly reports with pie charts showing how much time you spend on business, how much on recreation and how much – shall we say – is frittered frivolously. Other top picks include Toggl, if you want to keep track of how much time you are spending on various projects; Wunderlist, which aids management of to-do lists; and TimeTree, an app for managing commitments with your family.

4. Don’t wait until the last minute. Even once you have set a routine, remember to view your schedule and commitments each night for the next day. You will start the day feeling prepared and relaxed, lacking the shot-out-of-a-cannon sense we may feel if you wait until morning-of to assess the day ahead.

Finally, there are two strategies that are simple but not easy for most of us to master. Learn to say no. Today’s ‘lean in’ culture makes it more socially difficult to do so, but no one can control your schedule but you. And, delegate if at all possible. For many, this isn’t an inborn skill but one that can be learned through practice.