Do you feel like you’re losing ground in the battle against the clock? Do you wish you could extract more business productivity out of each day? Time management can be very challenging with all the distractions in our modern, connected lives. Because everyone is different and we all have different ways of working, there is no single time management prescription that works for everyone. There is, however, a common need to organize your responsibilities and their due dates.
The book “Getting Things Done” by David Allen shares a concept that is helpful when taking this approach. In his book, Allen writes “From a practical standpoint, here is the three-part drill that [makes up the Weekly Review]: get clear, get current, and get creative. Getting clear will ensure all your collected stuff is processed. Getting current will ensure that all your orienting “maps” or lists are reviewed and up-to-date. The creative part happens to some degree automatically, as you get clear and current.”
When you’re managing your time effectively, you’re happier and you feel less overwhelmed and less stressed. We all need creative thinking in varying capacities to excel in our work, and the right mind space for productive, creative thinking comes naturally when you build the conditions for it through organization.
“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”
– Gustave Flaubert, French author
Calendars – Friend Or Foe For Business Productivity?
It seems like calendars can be either superheros or evil villains, depending on how they’re managed. Like any other tools, calendars can be misused, abused, or even ignored once you’ve decided they’re actually working against you. Many people can probably claim they have started one or more calendars at different times in their lives to “get organized” and gave up using them not long after. Or they have used calendars intermittently and never developed a consistent routine with them.
The overall structure of your time should allow for gaps because they’re a necessary ingredient for your success. For example, you need time between meetings to prepare so that you’re not wasting your time (and other people’s time) because you were unprepared. Not providing yourself with adequate time between scheduled appointments and meetings will usually add stress to your life which will likely snowball and over the course of a day. Stress cuts into your focus, productivity, and creativity.
Streamline Your Time
Cluttered calendars are probably one of the most common obstacles to overcome for people. No matter how many daily tasks you juggle, there is always room for thinning out your calendar. This is where good judgment comes in as to what to enter into your calendar in the first place. You may be surprised by some of the things you can remove or whittle down to create more breathing room in your daily schedules.
The problem is few of us are rarely trained on practicing good calendar habits, so it’s not the tool’s fault that it is failing. And it’s not your fault you may not get along well with calendars or feel like they interfere with your productivity. With the right calendar habits, calendars will increase your productivity.
A good first step is to learn what to eliminate and reduce in your calendar, whether you’re already using a calendar or starting one up.
Divide And Conquer
You may find your best time management solution includes using multiple calendars for different parts of your life. This works well for many people and it it’s the reason why you can create multiple calendars in services like Google, all included with your free email account! The nice thing about using Google Calendar is it integrates with so many other online tools, including our real estate CRM. And they have lots of tutorials to help you get the most from it – all for free.
Automate Appointment Scheduling
Another essential task that can eat up your valuable time is scheduling appointments. Most of us don’t have a personal assistant and even if we did, they would probably suggest (and perhaps with some slight attitude) we think about automating our appointment scheduling! We are no longer in the dark ages but some people tackle appointment scheduling with the same inefficiency they suffered from 20 years ago.
You can end the time-wasting back and forth trying to schedule time with people by sharing your available time and allowing them to book time with you – all while you’re doing something else. Online scheduling tools like Calendly will sync with many different calendars to give you all that time back that you used to spend making appointments through back and forth texts, emails, and calls. Just include your scheduling link in all your electronic communications and start reaping the benefits of more time in your pocket!
Who’s Your Goalie?
It can take 25 minutes to get back on track after an interruption, so your calendar should behave like a goaltender to prevent interruptions from eating up your valuable time. If you’re unavailable, you are truly unavailable and unreachable in your professional world with the exceptions for responding to new leads, emergencies, critical matters with your family and loved ones, etc. In some cases, you may need to get better as saying “no” to meetings and invitations – personal or professional – and yes, even clients. If it’s not essential and you know you have a time crunch in a given period, it should always get serious consideration before you commit and take a valuable time slot in your day.
Tying Everything Together With A CRM
Once you’re in control of your responsibilities and you own your calendar (not the other way around), you can understand why so many real estate professionals rely on CRMs that integrate their daily, weekly and monthly schedules with their business tasks, their leads, and other business contacts. It only makes sense to adopt a CRM to keep the clarity you’re maintaining with your calendar habits. It is truly liberating when you reduce the stress caused by an overcrowded calendar and you have the tools you need to take control over your time and stay on track with your business goals.