As a Utah real estate professional, you know that your greatest resource is your time. And time, if left unchecked, has a tendency to slip away under the stress of the day-to-day grind. Between texts, emails, phone calls, and meetings, it’s easy to get lost in unproductive business.
When you’re in the business of real estate, you know that every second counts. Make the most of what you do by blocking out your time so that it works for you. Don’t devote your day to distractions. Spend a few moments each week preparing what’s most important for your goals, and then take action to make it a reality.
In a breakout session at the 2016 National Association of REALTORS® Conference and Expo, speaker Brad Warren spent some time discussing the necessity of time blocking your life. Warren, a real estate business coach, author, and seminar leader, has made an art out of segmenting his week in order to achieve his goals. With his help, let’s dive into some of the basics and the tough realities that come with time blocking.
It Starts with Goals
Before you divvy up your work week into blocks, you need to start with specific and quantifiable personal and business goals. While “I just want to be a more successful real estate professional” may be your overall goal, how do you become a more successful real estate professional? What’s the measure of success?
From here, make a detailed plan that illustrates the path to that goal. For instance, let’s say that in order to become a more successful real estate professional, you need more leads. If you want to increase leads to 70 a month, you need to make an action list of how you’re going to do that.
From To-Do List to Success List
While drafting a detailed plan is simple enough, you can waste a great deal of effort worrying about things that aren’t important. Warren suggests that we’re all victims of the Pareto Principle, which states that “20% of the invested input is responsible for 80% of results obtained.” In other words, you need to find the things on your to-do list that will make the biggest impact.
According to Warren, it’s about sifting through all the things you could be doing and finding the few opportunities that you should be doing. “A to-do list becomes a success list when you prioritize,” says Warren.
And after you’ve found your success list, you need to go one step further, or “Extreme Pareto,” as Warren calls it. On this success list, what’s the single thing that would create the most impact on your goal? In Gary Keller’s book The ONE Thing, he asks “What’s the one thing that (you) can do, that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” This is the big question.
Death to Multitasking
One point that Warren drives home is that multitasking is not the superhuman ability that people think it is. Instead, multitasking is getting in the way of you focusing and getting work done. Clifford Nass, a professor of communication at Stanford who studied multitasking discovered that multitaskers don’t focus nearly as well as those who do a single task at a time. “I was sure that (multitaskers) had some secret ability,” says Nass. “But it turns out that high multitaskers are suckers for irrelevancy.”
Don’t get caught up with multitasking. Instead, do a single thing, do it well and pursue it consistently.
Actively setting up time on your calendar “is simple,” says Warren, “but it’s not easy.” Making a habit of sitting down before the week begins is the best way for you to schedule out your goals. Simple behavior changes can have large effects, such as having a planner, packing things the night before and spending the time to review the lessons you learned from the week. These benefits are essential if you want to pursue your goals efficiently.
Once you’ve set up your time blocks, make sure you’re protecting them. Warren encourages you to make it a priority to defend your time whether that’s through saying no politely and effectively, asking others to help you stay accountable to your work or putting yourself in a location to better eliminate distraction. After all, making goals and setting up time blocks is only effective if you actually do something.