Time Management: The “To Do” List vs. The Schedule. Do you run your business, and your life for that matter, by an omnipresent “to do” list or do you operate from a core schedule? Before you answer that question, ask yourself do you find yourself on that “roller coaster” of production; are you consistently productive in your real estate sales business or do you find yourself running around daily “doing” a lot yet not getting a lot done? There is no right or wrong way to manage your time as long as you use your time effectively and productively based on the results you wish to achieve in your business.
The majority of sales people operate from a “to do” list and find themselves constantly exhausted, stopping to grab a quick bite at a fast food place, working late hours and every weekend, and miss a lot of their social time. Understand that there are always things to be done and I believe lists are a wonderful tool… just not necessarily the most efficient way to manage your time if you want to be as productive as you can be. How is it that some people manage to get so much done while others are constantly running around and rarely seem to get the same business results; we all have the same 24 hours each day with which to operate? Let us examine the features and benefits of the “to do” list versus the core schedule.
The “To Do” List: How many lists do you have? How many categories (professional, personal, family, friends, to do, to go, to call, etc.?) Do you have one specific notebook or place that you write your list or do you have hundreds of sticky notes all over? When creating a new list, do you consistently re-write items from previous lists that never seem to get accomplished? Do you get satisfaction from crossing something OFF your “to do” list or even better…. when you complete an activity, do you WRITE it on your list merely so you can scratch through it!?! If you find yourself nodding your head in the affirmative to any of these questions, you are an “A-Lister!”
There are many ways to effectively create and manage a “to-do” list. Books have been written, and many blogs and articles write to the many pros & cons, right ways and wrong ways, features and benefits of the everpresent “to do” list! There are also several electronic applications for your computer, smart phone and even online on how to make your list even easier to manage and complete.
The Schedule: Calendars, daytimers, Filofaxes, smart phones, PDA’s computer programs, notebooks, organizers, and on and on…. there are several methods on paper and electronically to create and keep a schedule. Many of us will schedule an appointment in our cell phones and ALSO write it on our paper calendar… just in case! Many even color code the items in their schedule to reflect into what category an event fits: Orange for personal, green for closings, hot pink for coaching appointments, yellow for listing appointments, etc.. If you use a schedule are you using it as a method of scheduling your “to do” list, or are you using it as a productivity tool?
By creating a core schedule, you will become more productive in your sales business. Pareto’s principle (The 80/20 Rule) states that 80% of one’s results are achieved by 20% of one’s effort; do you have a core business schedule that accounts for the 20% of your most productive activities to make money in your chosen profession? Rather than scheduling your entire business day, why don’t you schedule your morning until noon and then a couple hours in the afternoon leaving lots of flexibility throughout the rest of the day for whatever presents itself?
For consistent sales business and consistent commission checks, the morning is an excellent time to generate new business and follow-up on potential business whereas the afternoon is the ideal time to go on listing appointments, conduct buyer presentations, contact sellers for price reductions, and negotiate contracts. All of the other “busyness” our the real estate sales business can be done in the non-scheduled times (calling other agents, returning phone calls, servicing clients, entering listings into the listing service, being on the phone with banks for short sale business, etc..) Consider creating a “rainy day” core schedule as well for those days when you cannot work your regular business day (kids home from school, car breaks down, scheduled delivery, etc.) When you create a core schedule that includes consistent business generation, when you have the discipline to stick to that schedule, when you have a coach to hold you accountable to that schedule, when you act on the 20% of your work responsible for 80% of your results, you WILL see an increase in your sales results and in your wallet!
Comparing The “To-Do” List with The Schedule: Most people manage their time with a combination of both of these methods: schedule the things to do within a specified time created by your core schedule. Probably the biggest difference in these two methods, at least in terms of your productivity, lies in the effect they have on your energy. A “to-do” list has the tendency to feel like a “push” or a burden hanging over your head. A schedule has the effect of feeling like a “pull” pulling you into action! Once you stick to your schedule for any length of time, if you miss a morning of generating new business, throughout the day, you will constantly feel like something is “missing.” Your core schedule “pulls” you into action… productive action!
Give it a try! Be strict on your schedule in the morning and then flexible and open the rest of the afternoon, write it down, try it out, have your coach hold you accountable, and track your results! Now all you have to do is add another “to-do:” create a core schedule!