Whether it’s hitting meetings around town, prospecting or speeding through administrative tasks, most brokers don’t have much downtime. The sheer amount and variety of work that comes with brokerage is exhilarating, but it can also be difficult to manage.
To get the most out of your time and effort, learn how to prioritize like a champion.
From working deliberately to learning how and when to say “no,” use these six tips to prioritize your time to boost productivity and win more deals.
1. Track your time
Before you try to prioritize your work, ask yourself: “How am I currently spending my time?”
This is a surprisingly difficult question to answer, so instead of estimating what percentage of your time you’re spending on things like prospecting, administrative tasks or meetings, keep a journal to find out.
As you go through your day write down what you're doing. Make note of what time you start and end each task, and include simple things that only take a few minutes. Online tools like toggl.com make this easy, but you can also use a simple journal.
After one week add everything up by category to find out how much time you’re really giving to each task — the results may surprise you.
2. Structure your day
Now that you know where your time is going, focus on spending it deliberately. For example, after analyzing your journal you may discover that you spend way more time on administrative tasks than you thought. Or maybe you notice you’re always answering emails or calls immediately, which breaks your concentration and makes it harder to get important tasks done.
Use structure to make the most out of your time. Rather than working haphazardly, try setting aside half an hour each morning to answer emails from the night before. And to ensure you can focus on important tasks, don’t break your concentration by answering calls and emails immediately. Instead, set aside a certain amount of time each day, or several times throughout the day, to return calls and emails.
3. Allocate time according to importance
Take a step back and think about your business. What tasks generate the best return on your time? I’m guessing responding immediately to every single email isn’t high on the list. Find your answers and build as much time as possible into your schedule to focus on those tasks.
For the lesser tasks you need to take care of, try out the “2 Minute Rule”. This productivity trick is designed to cut through procrastination, and it’s mantra is pretty simple: if a task takes less than two minutes to complete, just do it now.
While this rule is great for helping quickly cut through minor tasks, it’s best to restrict its use to within clear boundaries. Set aside an hour a day and use the 2 Minute Rule to obliterate minor tasks, but don't let it keep you from focusing on your highest priority work.
Too many brokers get sucked into doing the majority of their work according to urgency. Get organized to beat this trap and start working deliberately on the tasks that will give you the greatest benefit.
4. Delegate and automate
In some cases, it’s possible to delegate tasks. If you have someone you could delegate to consider whether work is better suited for them or if they could complete it faster than you. You can also hire an assistant to help on important tasks that need some extra support.
When it comes to automation, brokers today have more options than ever before. The word of CRE tech is booming, giving brokers innovative solutions and new ways to create efficiencies. There is a ton to learn about PropTech, but every broker today should at least use a CRM to integrate your contacts, listings and deals. Beyond that, the sky is the limit.
5. Learn to say “no”
Of course, the best way to stop wasting time on trivial tasks is to simply stop doing them. Not everything needs to be done now, and depending on something’s importance, maybe it never needs to be done.
Push yourself to say “no” to new tasks that won’t meaningfully impact your bottom line. While this doesn’t mean passing on valuable networking opportunities or never helping coworkers, it’s important to value your time for what it’s really worth, so don’t feel bad about turning down work that won’t benefit you.
6. Always make time for prospecting
You knew it was coming, so here it is: no matter what type of broker you are, you need to prioritize prospecting.
Prospecting forms the foundation of your success, yet somehow it often finds itself at the bottom of the to-do list. And we get it, prospecting is hardly ever urgent, so it’s easy to forget about it and focus on more pressing matters.
The problem is almost none of the tasks you’re replacing prospecting with are more important than it is or have its potential to boost your income. So while prospecting doesn’t need to be the sole focus of your prioritization efforts, it should definitely be in the top three.
From tracking your current time-use habits to mastering the art of working deliberately, use the above tips to gain control of your day and push your business forward.