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Tackling Your Time Wasters One Question At A Time

by Amber De La Garza, The Productivity Specialist

DelagarzaYou’re a hard-working, focused real estate professional, sure, but the reality is, all work and no play is unsustainable. You must periodically detune from the stresses of the industry. And if you know what’s good for you, you do. It’s up to you whether detuning involves Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, romance novels, or perhaps funny cat videos. Most of us engage in such activities from time to time for entertainment, socializing, or other purposes, and are quite okay with wasting time in these manners. As long as you keep the time spent on such activities to a minimum, there’s no need to worry about them. You choose to dig those shallow graves and enjoy lying in them. What you should be worried about is the graves you unintentionally dig and fall into haphazardly. I’m talking about wasting time on repetitive activities that you don’t even realize are wasteful uses of your time. The good news is it’s possible to pinpoint those time wasters and avoid them or decrease the time it takes to complete them.

It’s hard to argue to with Peter Drucker’s saying, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” Doing anything occasionally, though, is not a huge waste of time. It’s the compounded minutes spent on activities you do all the time, as part of your daily or weekly routine, that really add up. In fact, according to a survey sponsored by Office, the “Top Time Killer” is email, followed by meetings. Even though both activities may be necessary, the length of time spent processing your emails and engaging in superfluous conversations during meetings is not. If you were to decrease the time you spend checking emails and sitting in meetings by two hours each week, you could reclaim those two hours for activities that bring you closer to achieving your goals and vision of success. You would have more time to follow-up with new leads, network, meet with clients, or spend time with your family.

Determining which activities are absolute or partial time wasters doesn’t have to be difficult. Simply ask this short series of questions, then take purposeful action on their answers.

1. Is This Activity Necessary?
No? Eliminate it. If you’ve been attending a weekly networking event for four months and haven’t gained a single client through your interactions, it’s clearly not serving you. Stop going and put your marketing time and dollars elsewhere. 

Yes? Then ask… 

2. Are You The Person Who Should Be Doing This Activity?
No? Delegate it to a qualified person. If you’ve been continuing to complete a weekly task for the sole reason that your assistant doesn’t know how to do it, teach her! Schedule a 30-minute time block and train her on that task. You’ll recoup those 30 minutes in no time and will have reclaimed loads of additional time for activities only you can do. 

Yes? Then ask…

3. Are You Doing This Activity As Efficiently As Possible?
These answers may be trickier, so here are some helpful hints:

Consider if you could…

  • Utilize Technology (e.g., send email instead of costly snail mail that requires printing, licking, stamping, and addressing)

  • Reduce The Frequency (e.g., change daily reports to weekly reports if they’re seldom referenced)

  • Automate It (e.g., schedule posts across various social media at once via sites like HootSuite and MeetEdgar)

  • Create A Template (e.g., create common email responses and signatures you can use repeatedly)

  • Create A Checklist Checklists conveniently list next steps so you don’t have to waste time figuring out what to do next.

  • Eliminate Steps When you take time to dissect large, multi-step processes, you may find that steps can be combined or are simply unnecessary.

  • Change The Time Of Day Strategically complete your most difficult tasks during periods of maximum focus and energy.

Answering these questions and executing on their answers will help you tackle your time wasters and either eliminate or restructure them for improved productivity. You will be able to accomplish your repetitive tasks with increased efficiency and free up more time to focus on high-priority tasks such as prospecting, client appointments, and business development. Your time is a limited and ultimately precious. Take steps to ensure you’re not haphazardly wasting it.

Want more tips and strategies to improve your personal productivity? Download my free Time Maximizers Cheat Sheet

About the Contributor

DelagarzacircleAmber De La Garza is The Productivity Specialist! Amber is a sought-after coach, trainer, speaker, writer, host of the Productivity Straight Talk podcast, and creator of S.T.O.P.! The Entrepreneur’s Success Solution. She helps driven real estate professionals execute actionable solutions to maximize profits, reduce stress, and make time for what matters most! 

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