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Any self-employed business pro will recognize this scenario: We start the day bright-eyed and ready to go, and then…the drift happens. We get caught up in emails, social media feeds, text messages, conversations with colleagues—then suddenly it’s 3 p.m., and you haven’t crossed anything off your to-do list.

This phenomenon isn’t just anecdotal—it’s proven, too. According to Dr. Donald Wetmore, a top researcher with the Productivity Institute, the average person is interrupted once every eight minutes, and the average interruption lasts about five minutes. When you add it all up, that’s about four hours—50 percent of an average workday—that disappears into the abyss.

“The biggest distraction is ‘Got a sec?'” Scott Opitz, a Buffini & Company business coach, explains. “People have way too many distractions in front of them, so it is essential to protect your time.”

One of the best ways to guard your time is through strategic planning. Identify when you can set your priorities without those little distractions. Another Buffini & Company business coach, Scott Malcolm, recommends starting early.

“Your planning must be the first thing you do in the morning, before you get caught up answering emails, text messages, voicemails and even before surfing the internet,” Coach Scott says.

If you’re not a morning person, have no fear! There is still a way for you to plan productively. Buffini & Company Coach Eddie Serna has some crucial advice: Set tomorrow’s priorities today.

“Prioritize your main activities the night before or during the last 30 minutes of your workday, so you can get started immediately the next morning,” Coach Eddie advises.

But that daily planning should be just one piece of the time-management puzzle. Many top producers outline their schedules for the entire week in one sitting. A successful agent may include blocks for meetings with clients, lead-generation activities and administrative work. Even if you don’t yet have a client to meet with, Coach Michael Heater at Buffini & Company says you should block off time for the appointments.

“Build in buyer and seller appointments—then do the work to make sure you fill them!” Coach Michael says.

Still, we are all human, and we know the week isn’t set in stone. Life happens, and sometimes, we just can’t get to it all. When you have a day or a week like this, Buffini & Company coach Mimi Throckmorton says to keep it on the calendar.

“Move it, don’t remove it,” Coach Mimi says. “If you can’t complete your lead generation, don’t blow it off. Move your time block to another time later in the day or the next day.”

One of the most important things these top real estate coaches emphasize with all clients: Time for yourself should come first! As you schedule your week, pressing personal and family needs should get priority. All other activities can be scheduled around that time. Coach Scott recommends devoting two days a week to personal activities and the rest to business. This way, when you focus on your real estate tasks, that personal time will keep you refreshed and recharged.

“You need to put yourself first so you can make others just as successful as you become,” Coach Scott says.

Interested in a real estate coach of your own to help guide you in your business? Buffini & Company Certified Business Coaches adapt to your work style and provide tips and strategies for time management, lead generation, maximum productionm and more. Check out Buffini & Company One2One Coaching and take your productivity to the next level.