I’m often asked, how do you get so much done in one day? People want to know where to get the “magic pill,” and they think I go non-stop until I crash at the end of the day. Yes, I work hard and Yes, I get a bunch done in a day however, I do have a life! Some of us can run hard for a long period of time, yet if you think about it, no one can perform at that pace for an extended period of time. They’d just burn out. We’ve all seen that happen to people….they perform like no one else and months later, they are spent, burnt out and often they don’t recover and pick things back up. I can say, if you own your business, this isn’t the best approach because who will be there when you fizzle? So, how do you start maximizing your time so you spend more time with those you love, yet not decrease your business and your income?
I learned about time blocking through reading and research. The problem was, it sounded good in theory however actually DOING it was something different. The whole concept made sense, it was putting it in action that was the difficult part. I was coached for 2 years in another career field and for lack of better terms, I became a coach/consultant for 14 years. It wasn’t until I was in that position that the time blocking REALLY clicked. My workload was insane and I had to find a way to be more effective and become purposeful in my actions. When coaching agents or other clients, I stress that every minute of your day should be planned. There is much debate over whether it is best to use “pen and paper on a calendar” or “electronic”. My answer is always, “Use what works for you”. It will only work if you USE it!
The best approach I have found is to sit down and on your calendar, write in your non-negotiable appointments, specifically FAMILY TIME, Holidays, vacations and “me time.” Next, determine what “recurring” appointments or meetings you have and put them in your calendar. Don’t forget to put in lunch, breaks and anything else that is on a set schedule. If you are using a digital calendar, make them recurring, for example if your office meeting is every Monday at 10AM, set it for the year. By setting recurring appointments, you don’t have to add every single appointment in your calendar. Next, time block your daily activities. When I was selling real estate, I would time block lead generation every morning, now that I meet with agents to help them grow their business, I time block for those appointments. Again, I make this recurring. I work out of two offices, so the time is blocked for each office. If you travel, don’t forget to time block for travel time. Block every single function…My calendar even has “Broker Calls” where I have set aside time to focus on returning phone calls to agents that have questions. I have “email” blocked so I have time where I can focus and get it done much quicker that if I’m not on a schedule. If I end a task earlier, I make phone calls and check email in between. The biggest waster of your time will be social media. I guarantee, you are spending way to much time on social media and convincing yourself it is “work” because you have to “network.” Stop kidding yourself and time block no more than 20 minutes for your “networking.” Learn to set up news feeds so you can get to the posts you want to without being side tracked to other sites!
The best hint I can give you is COLOR code everything. As part of my leadership training, I had extensive training in LEAN principles, Six Sigma, and visual management. I have found this to be helpful in every aspect of my life. I color code my appointments to help me know what days and times I have to fill. All my appointments for agents are put on recurring (they don’t have to be the same time everyday, I often work them around other meetings/appointments) and they are YELLOW. As soon as I set the appointment, I turn them GREEN. That reminds me that each of these appointments, if successful will help the agent make more MONEY!! All of my family time is purple (my girls favorite color) and all standing appointments are red, so on and so on. The philosophy is if you erase, you must replace. Never take an appointment off your calendar without putting it back somewhere else. I guarantee that when you have to start working longer hours until your work is done, you’ll obey the calendar. You need to be dedicated, not cut yourself any slack and be accountable to the calendar.
Last and certainly not least, I am an alarmist….My definition for people like me who set their alarm for the important things. My calendar sends me a reminder for appointments by displaying it on my phone however the important meetings, activities and notes deserve an alarm. If my alarm goes off, I better get myself onto the next task. The smart phone has been a blessing because if I’m busy, I can just tell it to “Set an appointment for 2pm titled return John’s call.” Use the tools you have!
My calendar is so regimented some days I am literally in a fast paced walk (I won’t say run, although it’s close!) to make the next meeting. I remember the first day my assistant followed me and we were walking at a fast pace to my appointment and he said, “Is this how you operate every day?” Now he says, I knew that was you when I heard the footsteps and a quick click,click. That doesn’t mean I run myself ragged. I chose to be effective, efficient and purposeful in all I do. Our Keller Williams Market Center reached #2 in number of transactions in the County in less than 2 years, we became the largest agency under one roof in 16 months in a small market where no one knew Keller Williams and thought they couldn’t make it because we weren’t “Local.” Time blocking and becoming an alarmist are just two of the ways you can be more purposeful and learn to make more time to do the things you love with the people you love!
Janelle provides free business consultations to real estate agents and those thinking of starting a real estate business. She has helped agents build their businesses throughout the entire US, so don’t hesitate to contact her at (772)643-6104 or by email at: Janelle@VeroLiving.com