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Getting A Handle On Time

By Tom Hopkins

Time management is all about managing yourself. Don’t believe me? Stop and think about it for a minute. When did you last control time? Can you stop time or even slow it down? No way. Can you negotiate with time? If you’ve figured out how, you should be writing a book about it.

No one has more time to invest than you do and you don’t have any more time than anyone else. Yet, some people succeed more often than others and they do it without controlling time. They do it by disciplining themselves to make the most of every minute.

So, let’s not talk about managing time, but rather managing the time we have to work with by scheduling and managing ourselves wisely.

Let’s start with the time you spend getting ready in the morning and commuting to the office or to your first client’s home. If you have a healthy dose of travel in your selling life, you can choose to use that time to listen to your favorite radio disc jockey, morning talk show, the traffic reports, or you can choose motivational or educational audios. In choosing something that will help you improve a skill or win over a client, you turn your required expenditures of time into investments in your professional education.

Another way to manage yourself when you have to spend time traveling is to cluster your appointments. By organizing your presentations or follow-up visits with clients by geographical area, you can save a lot of travel time – and if you live in a rather large metropolitan area, you’re saving time sitting in traffic as well.

Please note: if your travel time is primarily within major cities, you may want to see if it’s possible to schedule it so you don’t get stuck in rush-hour traffic. Taking side streets and back roads may lead you to new opportunities if you keep your eyes open and remain aware of your surroundings. There may be an FSBO in a neighborhood off the main drag where you usually travel, who is ready to toss in the towel and find a professional agent.

If you can’t put your fingers on the contact information for all of your clients within a matter of minutes, consider investing some time with a good contact management program, or hiring someone with exceptional skills in that area to take on the project of helping you organize. With today’s technology, the only reason a client or prospective client’s information won’t be at your fingertips is because you didn’t invest the time to input it correctly as soon as you received it. Entering the information only takes a few minutes and then it’s there forever.

If you think that people who practice time management strategies are fanatical workaholics who leave no time for personal relaxation, you’re mistaken. Just the opposite is the case. In operating more efficiently, they create more time for personal endeavors. They’re not redoing something that was done incorrectly because of rushing the first time. Be smart. Invest time in planning your time and you’ll think of dozens of ways to manage yourself more efficiently. An increase in efficiency is like giving yourself a raise.

Take a look at five areas of your life: family, health, finances, hobbies and your spirit. Why focus on so many areas outside of your career? Because when you’re turned on, motivated and feeling good, you work better. If you let yourself become just a real estate machine with no time for anything else, you’ll burn out. You’ll also be more likely to create challenges in your personal relationships and your health may suffer. Besides all that, you won’t have any fun. You’ll start feeling sorry for yourself and your career will go down the drain.

Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is to meet a loved one for lunch and thank him or her for supporting your goals and putting up with your long hours, or to go see your children at a school event and enjoy their childhood. Maybe even do a physical workout to help ensure your good health and high energy, or to plant daisies if planting daisies invigorates you. Just make a concerted effort to create and maintain a sense of balance in life overall.

To be successful, you need to be a finely tuned machine that can function over the long haul and face deadlines, rejection, the public, and your competition. You also must be able to meet your company’s expectations and all the other demands put on you as a professional salesperson and problem solver. Keep yourself tuned and in balance, physically and psychologically, and remember that balance begins when you manage yourself.

Tom Hopkins has been teaching and training in the real estate industry for four decades. A record-setting real estate agent himself, his practical listing and selling strategies have boosted the careers of millions of salespeople around the world. He is the author of “Mastering the Art of Selling Real Estate,” numerous audio recordings, and training videos. Tom doesn’t teach theory. He teaches what to do and say with clients in order to succeed in real estate. Listen to his free audio on the mindset of a million-plus real estate agent at