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By Dr. Cliff Baird

RISMEDIA, March 19, 2007-Twenty years ago Ken Baker, Coldwell Banker NRT Saddle River, NJ, says he got the best time management advice of his career. His friend, and then company president, Allan Dalton, told him to focus on becoming a listing agent. Although he has refined that profound wisdom to accommodate today's changing real estate landscape it is still his number one plan everyday. He smiles as he shares that he also seriously believes that his dedicated use of his Blackberry has allowed him to be more in control of his time than ever before. It allows him to not merely give the appearance of always being available but to actually always be available.

Denise Andres of ERA Landmark in Boseman, Montana, juggles her daily workload and maintains her high level of productivity because she believes so strongly in delegation. Her assistants are aware that their main function is to follow-up with the clients as soon as possible. This "sudden follow-up," she says, "controls the flow of the phone calls, the unnecessary interruptions and keeps the unpredictable, spontaneous events from colliding with an otherwise orderly world." She sees her job as managing the chaos by delegating what she can to allow her to keep pace with her extraordinarily busy days. She readily admits that her award winning Web site could never have been created by her. She delegated the graphic design and the scripting to experts in those areas in an effort to create a fresh appeal to clients.

Alice Held of RE/MAX Fine Properties, is a living legend in Scottsdale, Arizona. She knew early on in her career that without systems in place, as a single mother she would become overwhelmed with all her daily responsibilities. "Without those, I would never have been able to accomplish so much in a day. For example, by systems I mean a powerful database that auto populates contacts from my Web site ‘Guestbook' to a new record. It saves every e-mail sent and received for a quick review. In addition, the notes I make in it help when a client calls so that I can quickly review who, where and what we've done." Alice also relies heavily on her assistant to handle many of the responses with her clients.

Alice also has a system for prioritizing her "To Do" list. "I try to focus on those activities that are going to result in a) getting a listing b) getting a listing sold c) gaining a buyer or d) finding a property that suits my buyers." Ken Baker, on the other hand, leaves his voice mails until he has done his on-going list of follow-up contacts on matters related to his clients. He believes the voice mails, although eventually important, have the tendency to distract him and he refers to them as "the tyranny of the urgent."

"Of course," says Ken, "there are some things that must have a sense of being non-negotiable for my time. For example, Friday night is date night with my wife and I would rather refer a client than miss it." Helen claims that there is one appointment every day that is non-negotiable and it is the first one. "I have learned to make exercise a priority not merely a goal. My emotional health is dependent on my physical well being. I feel empowered when I leave an early morning workout. I am then fully ready for whatever the day holds." For Denise, "Meeting contractual deadlines of my clients' buy-sells are, of course, absolutely non-negotiable. But for my family time, we schedule two major vacations every year…Hawaii and the Caribbean and nothing interferes with those."

Delegation, follow-up, systems, listings, planned family activities, exercise, focus on the productive to-do list and on and on. One thing is very clear about these phenomenally successful agents is that they pay attention daily to finishing what they started. They have learned that time is not the enemy, choice is. They know that they will always find the time to do the things they want to do. That's success!

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