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How Do You Increase Business Productivity in Real Estate?

June 22 2015

ixact increase re productivityTime management can be a challenge for any professional, and even more so if you're an agent who is responsible for managing your own tasks, due dates, appointments, and relationships. Increasing business productivity will help you accomplish more during working hours, which can help you relax and enjoy your free time with friends and family.

Do you work from a home office? It takes a special kind of discipline to focus when you're working from your home. It's easy to get sidetracked by the kids, the TV and the refrigerator! Working in an office environment offers a different set of distractions. Did a colleague bring in a box of donuts? Is someone chatting loudly about their fantastic vacation? Whether you're on your own working at home or you spend time in a real estate office, there are ways to help you become more productive.

Building good habits is a process. Check out these tips on how to be a more productive real estate agent and incorporate some of them in your daily routine.

1 – Carve out time for prospecting calls.

Between late night meetings and Saturday afternoon open houses, agents don't always have predictable hours. While there are a lot of scheduling hiccups beyond your control, it is important to prioritize real estate prospecting on a daily basis. Experiment with your schedule to find what works for you, but set aside two hours each day to focus on prospecting. Many agents like to focus on prospecting initiatives in the morning between 9-11am. Treat this prospecting time as you would any other important appointment and stick with it!

This tactic of carving out time for a particular task is effective for activities other than prospecting, too. It can be helpful to designate time to write thank you notes, respond to emails, or schedule appointments.

2 – Take breaks.

Does taking breaks seem counter-intuitive when you're trying to increase business productivity as a Realtor? Believe it or not, regular breaks are an important part of a productive day. Studies have found that taking breaks during the work day can help you remain more focused, creative and satisfied. Try working in dedicated 90 minute blocks and then take a 10 minute break to stretch, get a coffee, walk around the block or eat a snack.

When you're on the road for meetings, be careful not to let "breaks" take over too much time. Some Realtors even set a timer to remind themselves when it's time to get back to the task at hand.

3 – Automate as much as you can.

Are you still struggling to keep in touch with prospects and past clients, painstakingly typing out individual emails in attempt to reconnect? This is a time consuming process that you can eliminate. Take advantage of the powerful tools available that will help you keep in touch effectively with minimal effort.

4 – Utilize the "2 minute rule."

The "two minute rule" comes from David Allen's bestselling book, Getting Things Done. Allen argues that most of the tasks we procrastinate on are not actually difficult or time consuming, they're simple and take little time. The rule suggests that if there is a task that can be completed in less than two minutes, do not procrastinate, do it immediately. Need to make a photocopy of a contract, write a thank you note, or Google a zip code? Take care of these quick tasks before they pile up and overwhelm you.

This handy rule will help you combat procrastination and feel more productive. You may even want to carry the two minute rule over to your personal life – it's a good way to inspire yourself to wash your coffee mug or hang up your shirt!

5 – Set expectations for phone and email.

You know how it goes; you're making progress on an important task when you hear the familiar "ting" of your smartphone. Research shows that we actually experience a rush of dopamine (which controls your brain's pleasure and reward centers) when we hear the notification of a text message or email from our cell phones, so no wonder you're all too willing to turn away from the task at hand to see who your message is from. Avoid this productivity trap by silencing your phone and turning off your email for an hour at a time while you complete a task that requires focus.

As an agent, being in touch is important, so I don't recommend you go off the grid for hours on end, but it's also important that you complete important things like presentation preparation and contracts. A helpful tip is to leave a message on your voicemail letting callers know when they can expect to hear back from you. Try something like, "I'm sorry I'm unavailable to take your call right now. I'll be checking voicemail this afternoon at 3pm and will be in touch shortly after that." This will ensure callers that they are not being neglected, and offer them a reasonable expectation of when they'll hear from you.

6 – Use car time effectively.

A common complaint from real estate agents is how much time they spend in the car driving to listing appointments, open houses and meetings. Instead of considering this wasted time, why not use it to invest in yourself and your business? Modern technology offers powerful tools to do so.

Use your smartphone to dictate the day's "to do" list, or even blog post ideas. We're often most creative when we aren't expecting it, so you may find you come up with lots of new ideas for your business. One way I enjoy using my time in the car is by listening to educational podcasts and audiobooks. It's an effective way to develop your real estate skills. I recommend Deliver the Unexpected by Richard Robbins. It's a great listen!

Like any habit worth forming, productivity takes practice and discipline. Try out these tips and continue adding to the list of ways you can manage your time more effectively. Remember to use a real estate CRM to automate many of your daily tasks and help you keep in touch and stay organized.

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