I hope creating a business plan has been a pleasant experience for you. I can guarantee if you carefully create a business plan and then really commit to following that plan, it will be the best financial decision you have made in your entire life. I’m sure some of the large dollar volumes you need to produce in income from listings and sales to buyers were eye opening. Realizing the time required to accomplish certain activities was shocking. At first glance some people will begin thinking negatively and assume the tasks are impossible. It’s not impossible. Matter of fact, with practice, you will be capable of doing several times as much as your goal calls for. It seems to be human nature to fear the unknown. We feel uneasy traveling roads we’ve never been down before. By the time we arrive at our destination, we realize the simplicity of the journey. I don’t know where I got it but I have a saying I use all time, “DREAM BIG & BE BOLD……..great and mighty forces will come to your aid.” Embed that thought in your mind, believe it, and there is nothing you can’t accomplish.
Creating a business plan is useless unless we commit to following that plan. The most difficult task in a business plan is “Time Management.” Today I want to share some thoughts about managing time. We are creatures of habit. We began adapting habits as infants in the cradle. I don’t suppose we’ll stop habitually doing things until our death. Bad habits can be very difficult to change so let’s focus on forming good habits. It has been statistically proven that doing something 21 times in succession becomes a habit. I have experimented and found that resisting a bad habit, verbally, seemed to aid in breaking bad habits. I know from experience that when I stopped smoking, after 21 days I had kicked the habit. It was much easier from that point on. Try this test just for fun and see what results you get. Set your alarm clock for a certain time to get up that isn’t normal; let’s say 5am. Do that for 21 days in a row. On the 22 day set your alarm for 5:30am and I’ll bet you will wake up on your own accord within a few minutes of 5am.
I find it difficult to separate “Focus” from “Time Management.” One without the other seems impossible. You must be a able to maintain your focus in order to manage your time, and the most important action required in time management is the ability to stay focused on doing things that are important to your success while resisting non-productive things from hindering you. I first learned about “Time Blocking” back in the 70’s while attending a real estate seminar in Atlanta, Ga. It was about that same time I learned the term, “Prospecting.” I learned that if I wanted to become successful, I needed to block all my time from 9-12 every morning of every work day to call new prospects. At that time I didn’t understand the importance of making phone calls to people I didn’t know so I found myself sitting, drinking coffee for three hours. After some experimentation I found that “Cold Calling” was easier than “Door Knocking” and it was more productive too. At least when you got an irritable person you could hang up on them.
It’s amazing how much wisdom you gain with the passing of time. I finally learned that the more organized you are, the more things you can accomplish in a standard 8 hour work day. I was raised on a farm where our work day began at 4am and we didn’t eat supper until 8pm so learning to use an appointment book was extremely difficult. The 21 days of using an appointment didn’t become habit for me, I hate to say. I could find no one to help me. Other Realtors used their appointment book like a to-do list and that didn’t make sense. I would draw a line in my appointment from 9-12 and write prospecting in that space but then other agents would stop by with their coffee and we’d waste time talking about everything but real estate. Then I made friends with a very successful business man. Many times when I’d call him, he would answer. Finally he told me if I wanted to talk to him, to call him at home after supper time. I asked him why, and he replied, “I schedule every minute of my work day for specific tasks. That’s how I accomplish so much. That’s the reason I make as much money as I make.” After much in-depth thought, I asked for his help. It wasn’t so much about writing in the appointment book as it was in making a commitment not to let anything hinder me from keeping an appointment. Whatever you write down in the appointment book you have to accomplish. Here’s your sign! It totally changed my life so let me share some ideas that will help you manage your time.
The first order is to purchase an appointment book. Buy a large, desk model with plenty room to write. Make sure you get one with 15 minute increments. I prefer one that when open, has a 2 page view of a full week. The next step is to open it on your desk with all the junk removed. On a scratch pad make a list of everything you want to accomplish on Monday. From that list prioritize the things from most important to least important.
If you determine that you need to prospect or generate lead from 9-12 each day take a highlighter and highlight 9-12 on each day and write in “Lead Generation.” If you normally go to lunch from noon to 1pm, highlight those times for the week and write in “lunch.” If you have set aside any other particular task you want to accomplish on a daily basis, highlight those times. Now when you look at week, you have blocked times to accomplish certain task. The next step it personally commit to doing those things during the “blocked“time and don’t let anything hinder you. When someone invites you to do something tell them you need to check your appointment book. If the time is during the time you have blocked for other activities, tell them you’re sorry but you have an appointment during that time. Other words don’t let anything or anyone control your scheduled work plan.
Next take the things you need to accomplish on specific days, the things you prioritized on scratch paper, and insert them into your schedule. Now highlight those things in a different color. Those things are new appointments. You have now set aside a specific time to accomplish that particular task. As new tasks arise, strategically fit them into your schedule as needed but make sure you don’t use time that you have allotted for other tasks.
It is important that you consider the time you have blocked as an appointment to do a certain thing. By prioritizing everything you do, and scheduling sufficient time to do that particular thing; it will get done. We all know from past experience that if we don’t set aside time to do something, it may not get done. By planning your work day and committing to follow that plan is assurance that you will accomplish the things that are most important to you. For example, you wouldn’t schedule two doctor appointments for the same time. You wouldn’t schedule a home showing to two different buyers for the same time. Surely you wouldn’t break one appointment to show property to a prospect; would you? Why not block from 1-4 pm for showing times. Control your work schedule by letting your clients know that your reserve certain times for showing property. After all, if you aren’t controlling your own time, someone else is controlling it, and the things you need to do won’t get done. Do yourself a favor and give it a try.
Should you have specific questions concerning various issues, please let me know and I’ll research the answer for you. I also want to encourage you to subscribe to our “News & Updates” weekly report so you can stay abreast of issues that might affect you when buying or selling real estate. If you haven’t visited my website, please go to www.AlabamaRealEstateInstitute.com and view previous articles.