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Businessman looking at his watch on a sunny day in a city parkReal estate professionals are busy people, juggling business operations, staff, clients, family, personal obligations and social lives. Implementing new time management strategies will help you keep your days running smoothly, and you’ll also be modeling behaviors that your agents are likely to adopt for themselves.

1. Master the calendar. Time-blocking, or scheduling events and tasks in predetermined chunks of time, is a very effective way to plan your schedule and organize spontaneous meetings. First, schedule regular events, such as sales meetings, on set days and times each week and create recurring calendar events so these times are always blocked out. Next, block out the first hour of each morning for daily prioritization time. Also schedule regular blocks of time for responding to email and phone messages. After you’ve time-blocked fixed events, you can schedule spontaneous meetings and tasks around them. For your team, keep an online calendar so that you can share staff meetings, deadlines and editorial schedules.

2. Manage client expectations. Nearly every time management article for real estate pros will remind you that managing client expectations is, indeed, a time management strategy. Tell your clients, or your agents, that you return missed phone calls and emails once or twice per day during designated timeframes (which have already been blocked on your calendar) so you’re not obligated to stop what you’re doing to respond to emails as they come in.

3. Get technical. Use online project management and collaboration tools like Evernote, Basecamp or Trello to track team assignments, set deadlines and share notes.
Explore the breadth of smartphone time management apps as well. MyLifeOrganized (MLO) helps manage daily tasks and long-term goals; Toggl tracks time spent on billable and non-billable projects; Cardmunch from LinkedIn allows you to upload pictures of business cards and store contact info on the fly.

4. Implement a yearly editorial schedule. Create a marketing calendar for each month of the year, and post it in your office or on your internal website for your agents to access. Designate topics to cover each month, and on which platforms you will deploy your content.

To save time, make use of free content available to you through your REBAC membership. The “Tips to Share” portion of REBAC’s TBR Hotsheet provides curated online content. REBAC members also have access to RISMedia’s Pop-a-Note, which lets you send pop culture or real estate-themed emails to contacts as often as you choose.

5. Be prepared. Time management is also about anticipating the unexpected, so keep a necessities kit in your car to make use of spare time. Include a stash of blank forms to minimize trips to the office (or use online forms); a selection of thank you, birthday, and blank cards that you can fill out during slow open houses or while waiting for clients to arrive; and a stock of REBAC’s Home Buyer’s Toolkits and Consumer One-Sheets with your business card attached, to give to potential clients you encounter at Starbucks, PTA meetings, or open houses.

Though we all have 24 hours in a day, how we manage those hours is a personal choice. As a broker, you can familiarize yourself with all the best time-saving resources available to you online, in your smartphone’s app store, or through and model a variety of techniques for your agents. Chances are, they’ll adopt a few time management strategies for themselves and your office will be humming along in no time.

Marc Gould is vice president, Business Specialties, for NAR and executive director of REBAC. A wholly-owned subsidiary of NAR, The Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing the real estate buyer. With more than 30,000 active members, REBAC awards the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) designation to REALTORS® who work directly with buyer-clients.

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