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time management

Build Momentum Through Small Wins

August 31, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Big wins are the result of small wins.

Image of The Progress Principle. While you may be urged at every turn to “dream big” and “set grand goals,” there’s an increasing amount of research that what motivates us on a day-to-day are the small wins of incremental progress.

Dan Pink’s interview with Harvard business school professor, Teresa Amabile, reveals a number of interesting insights which agents and brokers can apply to their daily business to improve satisfaction and foster a progress-oriented environment.

Some interesting highlights from the interview:

“Our research showed that, of all the events that have the power to excite people and engage them in their work, the single most important is making progress — even if that progress is a small win.”

“Our survey showed that most leaders don’t understand the power of progress. When we asked nearly 700 managers from companies around the world to rank five employee motivators (incentives, recognition, clear goals, interpersonal support, and support for making progress in the work), progress came in at the very bottom.”

“Setbacks have a negative effect on inner work life that’s 2-3 times stronger than the positive effect of progress.”

To read the whole interview, check out Dan Pink’s blog post here…

Why Progress Matters:

In addition to this fascinating interview, the website Tiny Buddha also offers this helpful article on how not to be overwhelmed by your to-do list and score some small wins every day:

How to Decide What to Do Now:

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time management Organize Your Brain

August 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

What if you could manage your life in one to-do list? is perhaps the simplest and most intuitive “to do” list manager we’ve ever come across. If you have multiple projects you’re juggling (like multiple listings, for example), and you want an easy, fast way to track outstanding issues, questions, and “open loops” that are floating around in your brain and need to get organized on paper, is the way to go.

With a completely free account, you can begin organizing all of the thoughts floating around your brain in no time flat. Be sure to watch the introduction video before you sign up, and then check out the “how to use” video after you’ve opened your free account.

WorkFlowy works directly in your web browser. All lists you create can be simply exported and saved on your computer. Bravo to this San Francisco tech team for making such a useful, free tool!

Try it out:

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[If you join My Real Helper, you can easily manage your action plans using Workflowy!]

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time management

Managing Time for Client Communication

May 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Stop watch image.Successful Agents Schedule Rapport-Building & Client Communication as a Priority Task

In keeping with other areas of managing their real estate careers, agents who work primarily by referral credit scheduling time for rapport-building efforts as a major factor in their success.  Following the maxim, “things which get scheduled get done,” these agents set aside time on a daily or weekly basis to ensure they stay on top of staying in touch with their clients and prospects in a meaningful manner.

Though the specific times vary, most report good success either early in the morning or after mainstream business hours, citing that an hour of uninterrupted focus time pays greater dividends than a stolen few minutes between calls or appointments.

With time set aside for client communication, agents generally opt to spend the time either gathering deeper data about their clients and prospects (or entering in data gathered “in the field”), or dedicating themselves to sending out personalized letters, emails, or handwritten notes.

List of takeaways.The incremental approach pays dividends over time.  Agents who follow this “a letter a day is 365 touches a year” mindset send out, on average, over 10 times the personal letters than their competitors.  Though the results from these drip campaigns can’t always be fully quantified or forecast, interest tends to be sustained throughout the year.

Prior to engaging in a regular, systematic approach, many agents found that managing response to “batches” or “waves” of mailings (done sporadically and in bulk) frequently caused them to fall short of client expectations due to unanticipated work load.

Scheduling rapport-building activities keeps the overall task of staying in touch manageable.  Given the time it takes to cultivate trust (and the longer cycle between opportunities), a good number of market leading agents wish they had simply started the process earlier.  Many cite personal letters as the reason they have been able to sustain their business through the real estate downturn of 2008 – 2011.

An additional benefit to blocking off time for relationship building and using a CRM system to track “touches” is the ability to plan ahead for scheduled communications while adding in a periodic mix of spontaneous “one off” messages which are more timely—i.e. framed around current community events, local news, or chance meetings.

According to agents, the key to maximizing the time set aside for personal communication is ensuring that there are ample ideas available for when the time comes to reach out to clients.  Facing a blank screen is one of the most time consuming aspects of staying in touch.

Some agents keep a “swipe file” of past letters which they can use as inspiration or templates for custom communication.  In rare cases, agents with significant cash flow and support staff employed assistants to help craft content specifically for their marketing and personal communication strategy.

[Click here for a free copy of the 26-page report from which this post was originally taken, "6 Key Findings: How Successful Agents Build a Referral-Based Business"]

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time management

Do You Have a “To-Don’t” List?

April 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

What you don’t do may be as important as what you do.

A TO-DON'T LIST Some ideas are so good we wish we could take the credit for them. Unfortunately, we can’t call this one original, so our hats go off to Tom Peters for first introducing this concept this way and Daniel Pink for introducing us to Tom.

A “to don’t” list is “an inventory of behaviors that sap energy, divert attention, and ought to be avoided. You know, those things which keep you from executing your best ideas. The little things (or even big things) that block your from following up on your best intentions. Daniel Pink reports he keeps a list of these activities tacked above his desk.

What keeps you from focusing on your best ideas? Is it too much time on Facebook? Tracking a fantasy sports team online? Reading trashy magazines? Sometimes pursuing “too many good ideas” is something that deserves to be on a to-don’t list. Pick the best and stick to them… don’t chase every shiny new idea you come up with.

Make a to-don’t list. Write them down. Keep them handy. They’ll help you focus on the to-dos in your life.

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