Once, a king and a lazy man named Haria were very good friends. One morning, the king said,
“Why don’t you do work to earn some money?” Haria said, “No one gives me job. My enemies told everyone that I never do any work in time.” The kind king said, “You can go into my treasury and collect as much wealth as you can, till sunset.” Haria rushed home to tell this to his wife. She said, “Go and get the gold coins and gems now.” “I cannot go now. Give me lunch first.” After lunch, he took a nap for an hour. Then in the late afternoon, he picked some bags and went to the palace. On the way, he felt hot so he sat under a tree to rest. Then, two hours later, he got up to go but saw a man showing some magic tricks. He stopped to watch for an hour again. When he reached the palace it was already time for sunset. The palace gates had been shut. So Haria had lost a golden chance because he had not learnt the value of time.
I see and hear so many real estate agents who are putting in long hours and long days but don’t seem to be reaping the benefits of their labor. How many of you are maximizing your time each day? Are you truly using each and every second to its fullest potential? Time is precious and the truth is we don’t have much of it.
Are You Wasting Time?
Most people in this economy are wasting time. But what happens when the market takes a turn? It’s not a matter of “if”, but “when”, because it always does. Will you be the one with all of the money? If you don’t start the working immediately in the real estate market we know that somebody else will.
4 popular agent workplace time-wasters, and tips to reign them in.
1. Interruptions. One study says people can waste up to two hours per day of productivity based on interruptions. One reason for this is it can take around 20 minutes to get back into a work groove after your flow is interrupted. Of course, sometimes distractions are welcome (admit it!)—whether it’s a team member asking for your input, to talking about a TV show. And while interruptions will happen, the trick is minimizing them so they don’t kill your work productivity. Tip: Put your head down for set periods of time—25, 50 or 75 minutes—whatever is a realistic stretch of time to accomplish a task. If you’re in an office, close your door. If you’re in an open space, wear headphones, or set up some kind of “Do Not Disturb” signage around your desk area. Other common tricks are to turn off email and instant messaging; close all the browsers, apps and docs you’re not using. Also, don’t think you have to drop everything when a co-worker asks for something. Try lines like, “Set up some time for us and I can give you my full attention” to a simple “Can you give me a minute, I’m in the middle of something.” This might change some of your team members’ interrupting habits as well.
2. Socializing with co-workers. This is a double-edged sword, as stated by different studies. The Salary.com survey says 43% of their respondents blamed interacting with coworkers as the main reason they missed doing work. However, there’s an upside to this social interaction. Other studies have found coffee room chats and serendipitous conversations can increase productivity through the exchange of information, ideas and problem solving strategies, and the quick emotional boost that comes with making meaningful connections. Tip: Think about socializing as you would managing a project. If you find yourself in an unplanned conversation, give yourself ten minutes to talk rather than letting the conversation go on too long. Sometimes, you just have to exercise discipline and walk away from a group conversation. Or, consolidate your social interactions.
3. Unclear priorities. It happens too often: Individuals find themselves working on tasks they discover aren’t the highest priority. When agents are disorganized—either because of poor communication or no prioritization. Tip: If you’re not sure what you should be working on, ask. Ask yourself if you are confident the activity you are working on is what matters most to the business today. Always remind yourself of the high dollar productive activities in real estate always get done first!
4. The Internet, social media and personal emails. There are a few dynamics going on here: Dropping in on Facebook and other social media during the day is the new water cooler break. Let’s be honest, we all check out something on the Internet that isn’t work related—from news articles to shopping. Do we even need to explain email? We have a personal life, folks! Tip: Instead of nickel-and-diming your time by browsing the Internet, checking your social media sites and responding to personal emails, set aside a designated time, say 10-15 minutes twice a day for these activities. You’ll save time from all the restart time that goes along with frequent quick interruptions (see No. 1). Plus, it’s a good discipline practice to increase your focus and overall productivity.
What’s your favorite or most plaguing time waster—and what do you do about it?
Tell us in Comments!
Strength and courage,
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