Ninety-five percent of the problems you and I have in the area of time management are not really about managing time at all. What most of us call time management is really about managing our attitude.
Chances are good that you’ve attended a time management seminar before or you’ve read a book or listened to an audio on the topic. There’s also a good chance that after those things you weren’t much more empowered or effective in the area of your time than you were before. That’s because, in my opinion, time management is really an attitude issue, not a technique issue. By attitude, I’m talking about being truly focused on and enthusiastic about your goals. You see, when you are really passionate about your goals, your vision, your Next Level, etc., you’ll automatically do the most productive things to achieve those goals.
Let me tell you about the ballerina. When a ballerina is being the dance, it’s a beautiful sight to behold. When she is simply doing the dance, that’s when she messes up. If you want to become effective in your career, and you want to really master managing your time, then focus on “being” real estate and not “doing” it. When you’re “doing” real estate, that’s when it’s work; that’s when it’s all effort. When you’re “being” real estate — when you’re being what you say you’re committed to — then your actions will just naturally correlate with that commitment.
Fundamental Concepts of Time Management
- Think self-management, not time-management. Time management isn’t real. You can’t manage a second or a minute. Time just is. But what we can manage is ourselves in that time. We can manage our actions.
- Work by objective, not by crisis. Working by crisis might mean that there is no money in your bank account. Now we’ve got to go out and list and sell to get some money to get out of crisis. Working by objective, on the other hand, is having goals, designing who you are, determining your Next Level and living from that. When you do that you have less stress. So, the concept is to consciously manage your actions. What determines the actions one takes? What you’re committed to (your objectives, goals, and commitments). Here’s an example. Some days seem really long while others seem to fly by. Have you ever cooked for a family event? You have so much to do — you must cook loads of food, clean the house, do the laundry, etc. When you are in action, there are no thoughts, judgments or opinions getting in the way. Ten times more is done in this short period of time because you’re working with this objective, this goal of what you’re committed to. Take that concept and apply it to your career. When you’re committed to something happening in your career and you’re crystal clear about it … when you’ve got a real desire to reach the Next Level … your actions will automatically flow. Time goes by quickly and you get the results to show for it. That’s when real estate’s not hard. That’s when it’s fun and exciting.
- Time management is a system of organized activities. We have this in certain areas of our personal lives; they’re called routines. Routines are useful to establish positive behavior patterns that bring about the results we desire. Later in this chapter, I’ll give you specific techniques that will help you to build powerful routines.
- Time can be invested. You can invest your time. It’s like when you invest five dollars and make ten back. You can invest five minutes of your time and get back great results. You’re in the office from six to seven. You can return phone calls, clean your desk or pick up the phone to schedule listing appointments. What would be the best return on your time invested? My point is, start to look at your time as a valuable commodity. Invest it as you would invest in stocks or bonds — like you would invest in anything that would give you a positive return on your investment.
- You can’t get it all done! This is a truism. You can’t. At the end of the day you’re going to still have things that you didn’t get finished, so stop trying to get it all done in 24 hours. It’s like a rat on a wheel in a cage. We work longer hours, we come home stressed, we unload it on our spouse, and so on. Understand this concept: you’ll get as much done as you get done. Period.
- Do something as opposed to nothing. This is for the procrastinators. Get busy. If you’re sitting in your office and you’re procrastinating, or you’re taking papers from one side of the desk and moving them to the other side and then back again, you’re procrastinating. If you’re sitting in the office and it’s six o’clock and you’re trying to think of what would be the most productive thing to do at this time … you’re thinking and thinking and thinking and thinking, and you’re looking and you’re searching … I’m saying stop all that nonsense and just get busy.
- Live a balanced life. How many hours are there in a week? 168. We have a career, family, personal obligations — which includes sleep. According to Alan Lakin, who wrote How to Manage Your Time and Life, a good workweek consists of two twelve-hour days, three nine-hour days and one four-hour day. That’s a total of 55 hours per week. Here’s the point of this. If you spend 55 hours in business and let’s say you have 73 hours personal (including sleep) that would leave you with 40 hours for family. That would total 168 hours. What most of us in the real estate profession do is we work more than 55 hours, and then we take the extra hours from somewhere else, typically our family.
- Work a schedule. Let me tell you something. In my travels, I’ve met many top-producing salespeople. What makes them top-producing is that they work a schedule. If something falls outside of their schedule they do one of two things. They’ll either not do the business or they’ll do the business, knowing that they have to make up for it somewhere else. What I would do if I were you (especially if you’re having some struggles at home) is to make up a work schedule from Monday through Sunday and give it to your spouse and your manager and tell them that this is what you’re committing to. I’ll tell you something else. In one of my training programs, there was an agent in Austin TX was the top-producing agent in the whole program for a three-month period. What was really interesting is that he was a part-time agent and he listed more houses than any other full-time agent in this program. Why do you think that was? Because he managed his time. I asked him how he did it. He said, “When you can only work from six to nine at night you have to be busy. You can’t take the time, when you go into the office, to talk with people. You have to be productive.”
The bottom line is when you set a schedule for yourself and you’re serious about keeping it, I promise you that you’ll be more productive.
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