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You’ve probably heard the adage that 20 percent of the people in real estate make 80 percent of the money.

Why is that?

Though everyone gets 24 hours in a day, it’s how you choose to spend those 24 hours that’s the great differentiator between whether you’ll sell five, 50 or 500 homes this year. Most of us can easily list off the things that we should be prioritizing to build our business; however, whether we are actually following through with prioritizing those things is another story.

Use this five-step process, adapted from real estate coach Tom Ferry, to see whether you’re harnessing the best use of your time.

Step 1: Identify Your Priorities
The first step in managing your time is to find out exactly how you’re spending it. Tracking your time closely for a week or two will often surface time leaks you didn’t realize were there.

You can track your time in a notebook or using a free time tracking tool and app like Toggl. Toggl lets you track unlimited number of projects and clients, and provides reporting so you can see how you spend your time.

Ask yourself, “What are the top four to five things that I need to be doing for the success of my business?” You may be thinking things like prospecting, setting more appointments or scheduling open houses. Make a list, and remember that less is more here. Don’t go over five priorities.

Step 2: Analyze Your Activities
In order to figure out where your time is actually being spent, you need to analyze time spent on various activities versus the time spent on the priorities you identified in step one. Take out your calendar and for the last 30-90 days, compare where you actually spent your time versus what your identified priorities were. What were your appointments? What did you spend your days doing?

You might find, as many people do, that what you’re spending much of your time on is actually pulling you away from those activities that would better help you to run a successful, growing business.

Now, these activities may seem very important in the moment, but you need to consider whether they’re just keeping you busy or are actually moving you forward toward your goals. Activities that don’t actually move you closer to your goals are your time traps—which brings us to No. 3…

Step 3: Identify Your Time Traps
Use the information you learned in step two to find out what activities are sucking up your precious time. Some things to consider: What (or who) gets you stuck? What are the things that pop up in your day that derail your focus?

For example:

  • Are you spending too much time on social media?
  • Are you are spending too much time trying to do something that you’re not very proficient at, when you could just delegate it?
  • Do you lack good systems to keep you organized and focused?

It’s important to get brutally honest with yourself and identify these time traps so that you can begin to address them.

Step 4: Map Out Your Ideal Week
Knowing your top priorities from step on, where would you like to be spending your time throughout the work week? What are those activities that you know would drive your business forward? Where do you feel “in the zone” and like you’re making an impact?

Once you identify what your ideal schedule would look like for your business, you’re ready for the fifth and final step.

Step 5: Make It Happen
Once you’ve identified your end goal, you need to figure out what it would take to make that ideal week a reality. Then you can work backwards to determine what needs to be done to reach that end goal.

For example, if you would ideally like to be going on two listing appointments each day because you know that would help to grow your business quickly and it’s also what you love to do, what would it take to get you to that kind of schedule?

  • What would you need to prioritize?
  • What would have to take a backseat?
  • What adjustments can you make in your schedule or business to make that happen?

The truth is that none of us can “manage” time, but we can manage our priorities to better work for our overall business goals.

Once you identify your true top priorities and adjust and adhere to a schedule to focus on them (before you get sucked into the many and diverse daily responsibilities of a real estate agent!), you’ll be well on your way to making great strides in your business—and in a lot less time!

One of the most effective ways to help you prioritize your activities while increasing productivity and managing important relationships and tasks is to invest in systems to make your job easier. Learn about the tools available to help you take your business to the next level.

A version of this article originally appeared in the ListHub newsletter.

For more information, please visit www.listhub.com.

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