Being productive as a real estate agent can be a challenge. Especially for those working for home, the schedule might be very inconsistent, with whole days spent with clients and other whole days spent alone working from home, or periodically heading to the office. How do top agents define real estate productivity?
Starting with Boundaries
The most important thing is to define boundaries, in order to be productive in the hours that you do decide to work… and also so you don’t drive yourself insane.
Some quick rules of thumb like only working from 9 to 5 can be very powerful. If you know you have to close the computer at 5 and not think about it again, you will do a lot more work in that time period. If you also refuse to meet with clients after these hours, you will align their expectations and force them all to fit your schedule.
There are many agents that let clients walk all over them. They call at 11 PM, they call on a Saturday morning, they call whenever they want. Many of the top agents define a clear schedule and communicate that to customers. Whatever happens during this period, you can count me in. Whatever happens outside of it, please don’t count on me. At the beginning, you can be scared to do this, but as the transition occurs you will find yourself having much more peace of mind and defining work with clear boundaries.
Routines and Rituals
Routines and rituals are very powerful, because we usually don’t perform to the level of our highest aspiration, we perform to the level of our lowest training. Therefore, performing and being successful is not a single action, but a set of subconscious habits. If you define the right habits, you will be much more productive.
Routines are also important to set the correct systems in place. There are many activities that support a real estate agent’s business, and some may be forgotten or inconsistent. For example, something I see very frequently is that when they have no clients, agents work very hard to generate leads on social media / other platforms. But when they start making sales, they forget lead generation, and when these sales are over, they have to go back to generation leads for another month because they forgot about it. Having clear, constant processes is important to make sure you take care of all the necessary activities.
Examples of routines are:
- Only meeting with clients/doing open houses/doing “real world work” from 2 PM – 7 PM, for example. The morning is always used for lead generation and other necessary “computer work”;
- Always dedicating one hour in the morning for lead generation and for keeping in touch with long-term leads;
Systems are another side of routines, as they are routines for how you perform certain tasks. You should have systems to ensure certain operations are always done the same way, for example:
- A CRM system to make sure all leads are recorded the same way and you have the same information fields for all;
- Marketing consistency and systems to make sure you brand yourself, advertise yourself and come across to others the same way regardless of platform and audience;
- Consistency in processes such as listing a house, doing an open house or others, using a common template or set of guidelines;
Having routines and systems will ensure any operation you do will follow the same steps as it always does, saving you precious time from not having to be constantly thinking and figuring out how you did it before. Creating models like document templates, messaging templates and simple checklists for tasks can go a long way.
Rituals are empowering activities that make you feel better and more productive. For example, drinking your lucky morning coffee, or putting on your lucky shirt to meet with the client. If you can create powerful enough rituals, you’ll increase your real estate agent productivity and anchor yourself to powerful and resourceful emotions.
Another important distinction is taking care of Deep Work. Author Cal Newport makes the distinction between “deep” and “shallow” work. Deep work is what demands your full attention while shallow work represents activities you can in multitasking, such as email and others. It’s important to dedicate periods of absolute concentration for deep work activities (be it completing a proposal, trying to add 20 leads in one hour, or other activities demanding your full attention). The goal is to block out time for deep work in your calendar and have full attention for it.
Besides scheduling time for Deep Work, there is also another thing you schedule time for: relaxation. Yes, that’s correct. Many of us procrastinate throughout the day on social media, taking extended lunch breaks or others because we blur the lines. What you should do instead is actually book 30-minute – or even 1-hour – relaxation time slots so you can relax guilt-free, and work intensely during the other times.
Productivity in Remote Work
In a specific situation of remote work, things can change. Many agents periodically head to the office, although the top ones may realize there is not a lot of value for them in doing so, or might even already have their own practice. So, when working full-time from home, what are some productivity differences? Besides taking care of the fundamentals of working remotely.
The major one is that you should focus that much more on building effective routines. While working from home, it’s very easy to lose a sense of consistency. To wake up at different times, perform different activities, and not have a rigorous work schedule. So your major concern and major goal should be to address that by establishing an unbreakable schedule. For example, having breakfast at 8.30 and starting work at 9 regardless of whatever is going on in the outside. If you have a home office you can use to perform deep work without distractions, even better.
Since your schedule might be highly variable due to different events like meeting sellers and possibly buyers, open houses, and all these different activities, it’s important to set at least a part of your day, for example a 2-hour block, where you take care of specific activities such as generating leads, connecting with existing leads or finishing up necessary documents. Once that blocked out period has been handled, you can take care of the varying tasks next.
Conclusion: Towards Higher Real Estate Agent Productivity
Dealing with productivity for real estate agents tackles a lot of issues, but some of the recurring themes are defining proper routines and boundaries, so that you can align both your expectations and those of others. Things such as creating powerful rituals to make sure you are always performing at your best and allotting time for deep work can also be useful, improving on an existing powerful framework. Agents who have high productivity can find it’s an essential support process, and that, combined with other tools like properly applying influence, truly make out great agents from just good ones.
Also recommended on the same topic is the Forbes article Productivity and Perspective: How Top Real Estate Agents Manage Their Time.