Time management, something we all sincerely crave to do better. As I sit here and think about the success formula another big piece that comes in to the overall picture for me is not just the concept of having goals, but also how you’re going to need the guts to get them accomplished. I’ve said before that the idea of goal setting is something that every business person, every entrepreneur, every real estate agent – you hear that constantly – like you gotta set some goals you gotta set some goals you gotta set some goals – however having the guts to follow through I think is what really differentiates those that make it and those that don’t.
Time Management Starts with Goals
It starts with the simple idea of controlling your time. Most importantly what I mean by that is setting goals on a timeline and knowing what you want and need to accomplish on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis is absolutely critical. It’s essential. It’s the only thing that matters. In other words, if you don’t know where you’re trying to go it’s going to be really difficult to get there. As your business grows and your time becomes more in demand, you’ve then got to have the guts to do things like saying no and put things off including the pleasurable things you really want to do. The difference between you and everybody else is that you know what needs to get done first because you know what’s most important. I call it guts because a lot of people can sit down and set goals, but having the guts to follow through is what’s really going to make it happen.
Let’s use this as an opportunity to dive a little bit deeper into time management, or at least the idea of managing your time. Let’s first understand that there’s actually no such thing as time management, it really is a myth, in fact when it comes to time if you understand how precious it is as a resource you will respect it more and then you would use it better. So when it comes to “time” all you can really do is use it more effectively or less effectively – but it is absolutely a finite resource as we only have so many hours in the day and so many years on this earth. Therefore, when it comes to using your time better as an entrepreneur or as a real estate agent, you have to know what’s most important and then you have to do those things first and put off everything else.
Goals Come in Order of Priority
Personally my list of goals is in a prioritized order, in other words if I don’t get my most important thing done today nothing else matters. It doesn’t matter if I set up a task list and it’s got 50 things on it, just doing that alone is a productive habit for sure. However, the old task list concept is also where a lot of people fall short because a “to do list” is usually written in the order the items pop into your head and not necessarily in the relative order of their importance. In order to be most effective you need to take your goals and you’ve always got to make a matrix and connect your goals to your task list. Then you’ve got to decide which items on your to do list are most important in terms of what the goals are that you’re trying to accomplish. You’ve really got to prioritize every single day – every single minute – what is the most important thing I should be doing right this second? In other words, it’s having the guts to follow through even when there are many other things vying for your attention. That’s the true art of time management, sticking to your guns and knowing what you should be doing in order to grow your business.
Handling Email – A True Example of Guts in Action
Let me give you one specific example that I use all the time that I think for some comes as a little bit of a shock. In my life as a CEO and entrepreneur I operate several different companies and what I want you to understand about running multiple companies is its fun, it’s a challenge and it’s what I want to do. However, what it also means is that I better be damn sure that I am prioritizing my time and doing what’s most important on a regular basis. As a specific example, I do not check my email all day long. I don’t sit there and stare at my Outlook or my Gmail or have a loud sound every time that an email comes in on my cell phone! The reason is what I want you to understand – just like you as a business person or really just a citizen of the modern world I get hundreds or even thousands of emails, text messages, and social requests on any given day and that’s not an exaggeration. Most of that email is not even spam because I have a pretty good spam filter, it’s just the reality of how many people email and ask questions or need things or clarification or operational matters. Believe me, hundreds of those emails are things that are important that I need to get to t on a daily basis. However, I would drive myself nuts if I sat there and stared at my email box all day long. I would go absolutely insane trying to answer emails as they come in. It’s not that the emails aren’t important, but typically they aren’t the most important thing that I need to do at that time.
Take this blog post as an example, personally I would set this as a priority over email first thing in the morning. In other words, I would complete this post before checking email not the other way around! Usually when I’m writing a blog post like this let’s say 7 a.m. – that comes as a priority. I have to get this finished then I will check email because as a principle I make sure that all of my emails get answered every single day. That means that unless it’s an absolute emergency, where someone would likely have my cell phone number and then be able to call and let me know it’s an emergency, every email gets answered that needs to be answered every single day. That’s a pretty darn reasonable solution! However, I also want you to understand I set my companies up this way to where the critical things are not coming through email because they might get lost in the wash or be saved for later. For instance, my office manager at Donaldson Educational Services obviously will text me or she will come into my office personally if there’s an actual emergency which is extremely rare. She’s not going to email it to me, because she knows that I’m not sitting there staring at my email all day. If she or the company needs something right now, that is time sensitive, she’s not going to email it to me that’s not the way I have it set up and it’s not how we’re going to get things done. My goals are set, and I wouldn’t get those accomplished if I’m didn’t have the guts to not give in to the temptation of staring at my email all day long.
Here’s why I do it that way…. the reason I handle emails that way is because what’s in my email box is actually everybody else’s problems or a list of things that others need based on their timeline. Everybody else’s priorities! What everybody else needs from me! So what is very important to understand about having goals and guts is that it takes real guts to stick to my guns and to chase those goals that are most important and put everything in its prioritized place. That means if I have a student that has sent me an e-mail and is totally confused about a concept in one of our courses, it’s not that that isn’t important, but if I don’t do the important things to keep our company growing and running smoothly, spending time to answer that email before I get into the things that the company needs is not an effective use of my time. However, if you or someone you know has come through one of our programs, you know if you email me you are getting an answer in thoughtful detail every single day. I love student email, actually! It’s a part of my day, it’s on the schedule every day, but I can’t do them as they come in because truthfully they come in all day long. I don’t even think people realize the hundreds of emails I get from students on a daily basis and so it’s not that it isn’t important, but it’s not growing the business. I can sit there and do that all day long and the business will eventually shrink to where we will have no customers! I will have no more emails to answer!! Therefore, I have to remember my goals and what we’re trying to accomplish as an organization, and have the guts to put those first then I will get to everything else.
Be Productive Not Just Busy
What I really want everybody to understand is that especially if you the leader of your business; if you are a real estate agent you are the leader of your real estate business, if you’re an entrepreneur and you started that company you are the leader of that company – what I want to tell you is it’s ok put certain things first which includes yourself. This is the very essence of time management! What I mean by that is not the money, not the selfish personal satisfaction, not the selfish nature of some people in this game – you have to put the most important priorities for the business first and know what those are by setting goals and then have the guts to follow those on a daily basis! It takes goals and it takes guts, that’s how you’re going to get where you want to go!
In essence a task list on a daily basis is a great move – but a prioritized task list is really the way to go. There are plenty of people who make lists but they’re not in a prioritized order. For instance, in preparing a list the first three things that may come to my mind are things like dry cleaning and the grocery store and calling the movers – okay all of that might be important – but it’s not more important than growing my business! If our companies don’t grow and produce income, I won’t be able to afford those groceries and I will be moving that darn furniture all by myself!
Specifically to you real estate agents, because I always want to make time to talk to you, what I want you to understand is you need to know the difference between being busy and being productive. Any one of us in the real estate industry, if you’ve been in the business for any length of time and have multiple customers and clients, you know you can be busy all day long. Those clients they are going to call – they’re going to text – they’re going to email – they’re going to just drive you up the wall trying to set up appointments and in need of instant gratification 24/7! But specifically in real estate that’s part of the fun, and it is part of the game we play.
However, in running your real estate company you need to prevent the types of days where you work and work for 12 hours straight and feel like you went backwards. Ever had a day like that? Of course you have! You just work and work and work and work and work and you feel like you went backwards instead of forwards. Usually that’s because you’re being busy and not necessarily productive. When it comes to the real estate business my goals have to be I’m going to reach out to 15 past clients today and ask them for business, or I am going reach out to all the expired listings in my farm because it’s Monday – and I’m going to offer my services to those expired listings! You see, that is what’s being productive. I’m thinking about the next client then the next one after that, growing my business has to be the priority! OF COURSE servicing my current business is extremely important, and I’ll set up systems and manners where that’s going to happen in the most efficient way possible. BUT I’m not going to let other people take over my day, I am not going to let other people take over my business, and I am not going to spend my time being busy and not being productive! That’s the quickest way to ending up out of business and I have to have the guts to tell myself that that is not an option. Not today, because I have goals and I have guts.
I have so much more to say about this topic, so stay tuned. And please, let me know your thoughts. If you want to test me and see if I will respond to your email – please email me your thoughts on this article at email@example.com. Have an awesome day!