Ever been paralyzed by indecision? Not sure whether you should be updating your MLS listings or cold calling local businesses? We all know that time is money in real estate and you don’t want to waste it doing the wrong thing.
And it’s often the agent who responds first who wins the client.
Decision making is, in fact, a critical skill that can drastically improve your productivity and results. So, in this blog, I’ll give you my top 7 best practices for making smart decisions, fast!
What Do I Do Next? Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!
Say an email inquiry comes in from your mortgage lender requesting further details about a buyer. At the same time, you may receive an invitation from a top agent to host an open house on the other side of town – but you still haven’t updated the MLS listing for your existing client!
Which task do you attend to first?
As entrepreneurs and business owners working in real estate, we’ve all been there. In business, every decision can be critical to your success. The challenge, of course, is figuring out how to prioritize tasks in a way that supports your business goals.
Ideally, every task should be leading you closer to achieving your targets. Whether it’s an open house, flyering, or updating your MLS, each task should move you closer to closing a transaction, not further away, right?
I learned the hard way that productivity is more than just a matter of getting more work done or even making more money.
But you don’t have to make the same mistakes I made when I started. You can learn to make decisions quickly that are right for your business and never be stuck again prioritizing.
How Do I Start Prioritizing Tasks?
Many of my recommendations are based on tips from Dave Allen’s book, Getting Things Done. In it, he argues convincingly that successful business owners make smart decisions quickly. How do they do it? Decision-making frameworks!
Start by thinking of all the tasks associated with your business:
- Data entry
- Website updates
- Going to the bank
- Social media marketing
- Content marketing
These are just some ideas to help you get started. Follow along with the rest of my tips below and you’ll find this exercise extremely rewarding.
7 Decision-Making Tips For Busy Real Estate Professionals (& Entrepreneurs)
Decision-Making Tip #1: Identify high energy/low energy tasks.
- Once you have a list of all your tasks, identify the tasks that require the most energy to complete.
- Rank your tasks in order from high to low energy.
- Perform high-energy tasks during your peak hours of energy (open houses, listing appointments).
- Complete low-energy tasks during slower periods of your day or schedule.
Are you a morning person? Aim to schedule your high-energy tasks for the morning hours. Do you prefer the quiet, late-night hours? Use that time to update your MLS and complete administrative tasks such as updating your Facebook Business page.
The point is you’ll be more productive working at peak energy levels on tasks that require high energy and focus.
Decision-Making Tip #2: 2mn Tasks – if a task requires less than 2mn to complete, do it now!
Throughout your day you’ll run into tasks that aren’t time-consuming. They can easily be forgotten and neglected if you don’t do them right away.
Replying to emails, texts, adding a new contact to your CRM – these are all examples of minutiae that can easily get overlooked. By completing these short 2mn tasks immediately, you avoid the clutter build-up that can leave your inbox overcrowded with outdated messages.
The Task Matrix
A task matrix is a really cool and easy way to prioritize your tasks. Using a simple spreadsheet, you can design a template for daily use in your office.
- High urgency/Low importance – administrative tasks you can delegate
- Low energy/High Importance – social media tasks you can schedule
- High urgency/High importance – tasks that are critical and must be done by you
- Low Importance/Low energy – tasks that are the least crucial and require little energy (2mn tasks)
With a task matrix, you’ll see at a glance which actions you should prioritize. Spend 10 -15 mn each morning completing your time matrix and you’ll have a much more productive day!
Decision-Making Tip #3: Clear out your inbox to zero.
Believe it or not, managing your inbox can help you increase your productivity significantly. Add up all the time you spend searching for and sorting through your emails. Those moments of distraction in your day can de-rail your thinking and distract you from more important daily matters. And it can get really annoying!
Stop procrastinating! Remove emails you no longer need. Unsubscribe. Star your important emails, get rid of drafts you never completed. It only takes 15mn at the start of your day for inbox maintenance.
Decision-Making Tip #4: Set time limits for your tasks.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg shared this tip once during a mastermind and I’ll never forget it. You may not keep the time limit, but you’ll have a guide at least to rein you in and keep you on track.
With a time limit in mind, you’ll be more conscientious of how much time you are spending. As you near your threshold, you can decide whether or not the task warrants more time, or you need to move on to something else.
Take email maintenance for example. If you set a 15-mn threshold, you may end up spending 25 – 30mn. If you don’t set a threshold, you could easily waste an hour of valuable time during the most energetic part of your day, just clearing outdated emails. Is that really being productive?
Decision-Making Tip #5: Sundays are a great office day.
If you operate during banking hours (9 – 5, Monday – Friday), Sundays can be a great day to catch up on high-importance/low-energy tasks. It could be the day you choose to update your MLS, write your blog posts, edit your prospect interview, or update your CRM.
With no interruptions and a few hours blocked in your calendar, you can batch critical tasks together and get more done. Often, the tasks you can delegate are ideal for Sundays…which leads me to my next productivity hack.
Decision-Making Tip #6: Delegate.
Of course, there are a number of tasks you can’t hand off to someone else. When it comes to a listing appointment, a buyer consultation, or a meeting with the real estate lawyer, you have to be there. But do you really need to make 100 cold calls to book 5 listing appointments yourself?
And is it necessary that you input the MLS data and update your listings?
If your business is growing, for example, you may not have as much time to commit to cold calling as you did when you had no listings. You could, however, outsource your cold calling to someone else. Provide them with a script, some role-playing, and a list of leads. Reward them with an incentive for every interview booked with a new prospect.
On the other hand, if you’re new to real estate, cold calling may be more critical to your success. Prospecting of any kind could lead you to uncover valuable referrals.
Updating your website or writing blogs, however, shouldn’t take priority over prospecting when you have zero listings. These are tasks you can delegate so you can focus on finding new business.
Decision-Making Tip #7: Don’t be afraid to cut corners.
When I say cut corners, I don’t mean do a sloppy job with sloppy results. Cutting corners doesn’t have to mean compromising quality. It can simply mean reducing the steps it takes to complete a task.
Use email marketing software, for example, to automate and deliver emails and newsletters quickly. Why write 100 personalized ‘thank you’ emails when you can write one and automate the other 99?
Scheduling your social media posts with a software tool like Hootsuite, or booking listing appointments using Calendly, are other ways you can ‘cut corners’ without compromising quality.
Go through this entire exercise and you’ll find making decisions a lot easier. Over time, you’ll get better at prioritizing and delegating your tasks. And with a few of the right technology acquisitions, your productivity will increase dramatically!
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