Mastering time management in real estate is the linchpin of success. Realtors are expected to juggle an endless number of tasks, from communicating with clients to keeping track of miles, generating leads, and building a network. It can be overwhelming, but with the right time management methods (e.g., time blocking, limiting distractions, and utilizing real estate software and systems), realtors can build a process that works for them and maximize their productivity. In this article, we drill down into the nine expert time management tips every real estate agent should follow to achieve their goals within the expected time frame.
1. Set Realistic Goals
Time management for real estate agents isn’t just about getting more done—it’s about getting the right things done efficiently. One of the most important tips for real estate agents is establishing specific, achievable goals and creating a plan to reach them. This allows you to split your workload into manageable tasks, making it much easier to follow through and track over time.
A few examples of measurable goals include:
- Increase new leads by 10% each month
- Close 20 transactions within the next six months
- Generate 25% more referral business by cultivating stronger relationships with past and current clients
Setting realistic goals is an important part of creating your real estate business plan. Creating a business plan can be relatively simple and easy, but it massively increases your chances of success. To get started, read our free guide and download the template on How to Write a Real Estate Business Plan.
2. Prioritize Your Tasks
One of the most important elements of learning how to manage your time in real estate is prioritization. Not every task is equally important or urgent, and it can be difficult for agents to accurately determine the highest priorities for their business. If you struggle with prioritizing tasks, consider using the Eisenhower Matrix, a system that categorizes tasks based on urgency and importance.
This technique can be done by simply dividing a scrap piece of paper into four quadrants and labeling them (or downloading our worksheet below), like the following examples:
- Urgent and important: Submitting an offer to a property with a high level of interest
- Important but not urgent: Developing a strong social media strategy and automating follow-ups
- Urgent but not important: Responding to new website inquiries
- Neither urgent nor important: Decluttering the desk drawers in your broker’s office
By placing your tasks in one of these quadrants, you can systematically determine your priorities and plan your time more effectively.
3. Leverage Technology to Create Streamlined Systems
Real estate agents have a flexible schedule, but there are so many tasks that must be completed consistently. For example, new real estate agents must create their own branding, communicate to their sphere of influence (SOI) publicly and privately, start new social media profiles, continually communicate with clients, schedule meetings with leads, schedule host open houses, and so much more. Agents who attempt to manually complete and track every task on their to-do list—even with the best time management methods in real estate—will be extremely inefficient.
However, the right real estate software can streamline and automate processes in every area of your business. Implementing efficient systems is crucial for real estate agent time management because it allows you to focus on the most important part of your business—building relationships and closing deals.
To turn your business into a well-oiled machine, consider resources for multiple areas of your business, including the following:
- Real estate customer relationship management systems (CRMs)
- Lead generation
- Transaction and document management
- Social media tools
- Email marketing
For example, Zoho CRM is a tool that helps agents generate real estate leads, create automated marketing sequences, manage communications on multiple platforms, and accomplish tasks with to-do lists and reminders. Plus, it provides a wide range of third-party tools and integrations for various tasks, which is ideal for time management in real estate.
4. Practice Time Blocking
Time blocking is a great time management method in real estate for those who want to improve their focus. The nature of being a realtor demands multitasking, but according to the American Psychological Association, multitasking reduces productivity by 40%. Time blocking involves dividing your time into dedicated blocks for specific tasks or activities. This structured approach improves efficiency and creates a clear plan for each day, making it easier to manage and complete the highest priorities.
Keep in mind that not all tasks for real estate agents are possible to plan ahead of time, like urgent client requests and impromptu calls from clients or other agents. However, consider time blocking for tasks like:
- Prospecting new leads (e.g., cold calling, door knocking, or writing letters)
- Researching the local real estate market
- Performing comparative market analyses (CMAs)
- Preparing listing presentations
- Networking with potential clients, other business owners, or other real estate professionals
- Creating and planning social media content
- Planning and filming real estate videos
5. Batch Similar Tasks Together
Another simple and effective time management strategy for real estate agents is batching, which simply means grouping similar tasks and tackling them in dedicated time blocks. This method capitalizes on the principle that focusing on one type of task is more productive than switching back and forth. For example, posting on social media and attending a property showing require different types of attention and energy, and switching your focus instantly can be challenging.
Here are a few examples of how you could batch real estate tasks:
- Schedule property showings back to back
- Respond to emails, return calls, and address new website inquiries during a few hours when you have quiet surroundings
- Combine real estate marketing tasks like creating content, scheduling posts, and engaging with your audience
- Regularly set aside a block of time to research the market, analyze properties, and learn about industry trends
By minimizing context switching, you’ll enhance your focus on each task and naturally create a more streamlined workflow. Plus, there are many real estate CRMs with task management functionality, so you can start batching right away. For example, ClickUp has a variety of task management boards and templates to start adding tasks and organizing them by category. It also includes a variety of marketing tasks and a free plan, perfect for new or novice agents.
6. Limit Distractions
Identify and minimize distractions in your work environment, whether you’re working from your brokerage office, your car, or your home. According to research from the University of California, Irvine, it takes an average of 23 minutes for your brain to refocus on a task after a distraction.
It is extremely common for real estate agents to receive unexpected emails, texts, and phone calls at all times of the day. A few tips for limiting distractions are:
- Create settings on your phone and devices to temporarily silence notifications
- Create an automated response to calls, emails, or texts that you receive during your focused time to ensure clients that you will respond to them quickly
- Limit your access to social media
- Avoid locations with potential distractions, like coffee shops or your brokerage office
- Communicate with colleagues or family members so they are aware of your focused time
7. Set Clear Boundaries
The nature of the real estate industry involves irregular hours, urgent communication, and constant connectivity. Effective time management for real estate agents should include regular breaks to rest. Although it sounds counterintuitive, research shows that taking breaks actually enhances cognitive function and increases your overall productivity.
In fact, burnout is one of the most common reasons why agents fail. To prevent burnout and maintain productivity, take breaks throughout your day by going for a walk, turning your phone off, or scheduling time with friends or family.
8. Optimize Your Workspace or Environment
One of the unique elements of being a real estate agent is that you don’t need a dedicated office space. Realtors are known for working on the go, in their cars, at restaurants, or their kitchen tables. However, a well-prepared and well-organized environment can help reduce stress and increase productivity.
While it isn’t always possible to set up a workspace with essential tools and documents on hand, you can always optimize your environment to set yourself up for success. For instance, if you work primarily from your phone, organize your home screen so the highest priority apps are on the front page, and increase your font size to easily read documents. On the other hand, if you frequently work in your car, invest in a portable laptop desk and a high-quality internet hotspot, and keep a notepad and pens on your passenger seat.
9. Learn to Delegate
Delegating means passing off some tasks to others so that you can focus on tasks that more directly require your attention and maximize profits, like working directly with clients. If you have an assistant or work with a real estate team, you can start by handing off some administrative tasks.
As your real estate business grows, you can hire additional staff members or contractors for tasks like social media, photographing listings, and online marketing. By strategically delegating tasks to qualified assistants, real estate agents can spend their time generating more business and revenue.
Why Managing Time as a Real Estate Agent Matters
When you become a real estate agent, your success is not measured by your title, the number of hours you work, or your experience level. Your income and success level depend on your productivity and effectiveness, so learning how to manage your time as a real estate agent is absolutely crucial to your career. In addition, real estate time management presents a few challenges that aren’t typical for employees in other fields, including:
- Unpredictable schedules: Real estate is inherently unpredictable, with schedules often subject to last-minute changes.
- Managing multiple roles: Realtors must become experts in a variety of skills, including sales, marketing, negotiating, communicating, and even managing a team or an assistant.
- Communication demands: Agents must build strong relationships with clients, other business owners, and their colleagues. This requires consistent communication, which can be time-consuming.
- Adapting to the market: The real estate market is constantly changing, and successful agents always stay informed.
- Administrative tasks: Real estate requires a high volume of paperwork and administrative tasks, like documenting communications and tracking finances.
- Travel time: Every type of real estate career requires you to travel to and from your home, your office, and a variety of properties. Travel times can vary, creating obstacles for even the best real estate time management plan.
In order to overcome the challenges of time management in real estate, agents need to learn how to utilize tools and strategies to prioritize tasks, minimize distractions, and optimize their workflows. Realtors who master this will be able to increase their sales, referrals, income, and overall job satisfaction.
It is absolutely essential to master time management in real estate to build a successful long-term business. Time management methods for real estate agents include starting with realistic goals, prioritizing tasks, time blocking, and limiting distractions. With the tips above, you’ll be able to maximize productivity and create a more balanced career.