In real estate, success hinges on the ability to manage oneself effectively. Unlike many other careers, real estate agents do not have someone constantly supervising their activities to ensure a steady stream of leads. As a result, agents are solely responsible for their own success or failure.
One powerful technique that numerous successful real estate agents swear by is time blocking. Time blocking involves meticulously planning and organizing your schedule to allocate sufficient time for income-generating tasks. Whether you are new to time blocking or need to refine your approach, this article provides a comprehensive guide on how to get started, overcome obstacles, optimize your time blocking strategy, and adapt it as your business expands.
Setting Your Business Goals
Before you dive into creating time blocks on your calendar, it is essential to evaluate the amount of time you should allocate to different activities. To do this effectively, start by assessing your business goals. By working backward from your desired outcome, you can determine the daily or weekly actions needed to achieve those goals. At the beginning of each year, many agents establish specific targets, such as a desired income or a record-breaking number of deals closed. However, if financial gain is not your primary motivator, consider setting time-related goals, like creating more personal free time or establishing a consistent lead flow. Once you have identified your goals, assess the number of deals you must close to reach them. Determine the proportion of leads and contacts from your sphere of influence compared to new leads you must generate to bridge the gap. After breaking down your business goals into manageable pieces, you can delegate your time effectively to accomplish them.
What to Block Off in Your Schedule
The specific time blocks in a real estate agent's schedule will vary depending on individual goals, experience level, available resources, and other factors. However, there are several tasks that most agents will benefit from blocking off on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Consider incorporating the following into your time-blocking schedule:
- Morning (or Daily) Routine:
Despite the focus on business-related activities, it is crucial to allocate time for personal activities and routines that contribute to your overall well-being. By scheduling and prioritizing these tasks, you emphasize their importance to yourself and your business. Wake up consistently each morning, eat breakfast, practice mindful reflection or journaling, and exercise. The order may vary based on personal preference, but ensure you allocate time for each activity.
Regular exercise and stress relief activities may not come naturally to everyone, but they significantly impact productivity, mindset, and overall energy levels. Consider the trade-off between discomfort and the benefits gained from these practices when allocating time for them in your schedule. Whether you prefer to incorporate them in the morning or at the end of the day, treat them as non-negotiable appointments on your calendar.
- Lead Generation: Preparation:
Before diving into lead generation activities, there is often groundwork to cover. The tasks involved will depend on your chosen lead generation strategies, the number of strategies you manage, their relative newness, and the recurring work required. For instance, if you plan to generate leads through cold-calling FSBO numbers, your preparation time might involve obtaining a list of phone numbers, familiarizing yourself with common objections, crafting scripts, researching market statistics, and other necessary tasks. Similarly, if you intend to farm a specific area, your preparation time may involve compiling an address list, ordering postcards, or designing promotional materials.
Consider all the essential tasks you must complete before engaging in lead generation activities and allocate time blocks for preparation accordingly. As your lead generation strategies become more refined, the time spent on preparation will likely decrease, but some level of preparation will always be necessary.
- Lead Generation:
This time block is dedicated to actively generating leads. It involves making phone calls, knocking on doors, hosting webinars, or implementing any other lead-generation strategy aimed at connecting with potential clients who are interested in buying or selling properties. Coaches often emphasize the importance of spending as much time as possible on lead generation. Many agents get stuck in the preparation phase, continuously circling around it instead of moving forward. By allocating specific time for lead generation, you eliminate excuses and ensure that you actively reach out to potential leads.
The time you dedicate to lead generation depends on your business goals and the number of new leads required. As your career progresses and you build a solid client base through referrals and repeat business, lead conversion (turning existing leads into clients) will become a more significant focus, alongside new lead generation.
- Lead Conversion:
Lead conversion is where you invest time in nurturing and converting leads into clients. This includes scheduling and maintaining appointments, sending gifts or notes to clients with approaching milestone dates, fulfilling promises like delivering a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) or following up with potential clients who expressed interest in specific properties. The time you allocate to lead conversion depends on your career stage, the proportion of clients from referrals versus new leads, and your focus on building and maintaining client relationships. Ideally, you should balance lead generation and conversion to generate a loyal client base while continually filling your pipeline with new leads.
- Respond to Communications:
Surprisingly, checking email and responding to text messages are not mentioned until this point intentionally. These activities can consume a significant amount of time and distract agents from more critical tasks. To avoid getting lost in the vortex of emails and texts, it is advisable to set specific times during the day for checking and responding to non-urgent messages. Urgent matters related to ongoing deals should be addressed promptly, but for general correspondence, setting dedicated response times helps maintain focus and productivity. By treating these activities as scheduled appointments, you ensure that you only engage with emails and texts that require a response, avoiding unnecessary distractions.
- Administrative Tasks:
Administrative tasks are an integral part of being a real estate agent, encompassing various activities like marketing, transaction management, and paperwork. It is important to allocate regular time blocks each week to handle these essential but often time-consuming tasks. If your business allows, consider delegating some of these tasks to others, such as hiring assistance for administrative work, allowing you to focus on high-value activities.
- Training and Development:
Allocate at least a one-time block weekly to invest in your professional growth through training and development. This can include participating in courses sponsored by your brokerage, engaging in ongoing education offered by organizations like the National Association of Realtors, or attending industry conferences and seminars. Continuous learning and skill development are crucial for staying ahead in the real estate industry and providing the best service to your clients.
By implementing time blocking and consistently adhering to your schedule, you can effectively manage your time as a real estate agent. Remember, while the specific tasks and time allocations may vary, the underlying principle remains: dedicating focused time to activities that contribute to your business goals and overall success.