The Productivity Special.

April, 2024 | Thought Provoker

Life is short. Opportunities are not. The skill is to reduce your commitment to the things that really matter.

What does success look like?

And how will you know when you’ve achieved it?

The greatest cost in business is wastage - wasted time, effort and resources when re-work has to happen. Here’s what some do to stay at their best.

Edit Frequently

What got you here won’t get you to where you’re going. What do you need to stop, start and continue doing? One form is outsourcing. Work out your hourly rate, and someone else needs to do anything valued below that hourly rate. Simple things like ordering groceries online reduce weekly shopping from 60 minutes to 15 minutes. Judge things as a 1 or a 10. 1 you don’t love it, 10 it’s amazing. If it’s not a 10, then it’s a 1. It’s a great way to get clear about what matters.

Leverage Systems

Systems are made up of:

Forms: They capture information and make sure you get everything you need.

Checklists: They make sure things get done, in the correct order. There’s a read-and-do checklist and then a read-and-review checklist. Think of a list of ingredients, then how to make the cake in a recipe.

Visuals: They tell the story in 1000 words. Think critical numbers, and you must show potential clients why they should use you.

Dialogue: It speeds up the conversation and improves conversion.

It’s either a system or a person. The only reason a goal isn’t achieved is because you don’t have a system for it.

Leverage People

Bring great people into your life who can do things for you so you can stay focused on what matters most. We have an amazing lady called Mrs. Packer, who does anything extra we need, from being at the house when needed to pulling down the Christmas Tree. Build a list of great suppliers who can do things for you so you can spend your time where you get your greatest impact.

It’s energy management, not time management.

You can only skin the onion so far. You want to be at the core, where you are at your most potent. Energy really matters. Anything that drags, steals or pollutes your energy needs to go. Your environments - home, car, work, etc. - need to be at their best. They need to be supportive and productive. Clean through and remove anything you no longer need. A clean space makes all the difference in freeing up your thinking.

Energy can be renewed. Not every hour has the same great energy. You need to spend time in your performance zone and then oscillate into your recovery zones. Think about the power of planning, what you do to prime into state so you can be at your best, then drop back down into your recovery. It could be as quick as a breathing exercise or as extensive as hot and cold therapy like saunas and ice baths.

To have great physical energy, think of the power of sleep, the quality of nutrition and the giving nature of the relationships around you.

Context Matters

What are the things you can only do in front of your laptop? And what are the things you can do in your car? Calls in the car and building the weekly email are on the laptop. Always have something with you so if you find an odd moment - a client is running late, or you have spare time between appointments - you’ve always got something to do.

Work in Time Blocks

The human body runs on two rhythms. The ultradian rhythm is the reason why we stay awake during the day, and the circadian rhythm is why we fall asleep at night. We run in 90-minute cycles. Set the timer to 45 minutes, and for the next 45 minutes, concentrate on one type of task. Mondays are always our best as real estate agents, as all we need to do is make open home callbacks: one call, one theme, over and over. Once the clock hits zero, take a little time out, then hit out your next 45-minute session.

Remove Your Notifications

Remove all notifications except for maps, SMS and calendars. Remove all others so that you can focus in the moment. To drive your momentum, remove all socials from your phone; if you’re ready for it, remove your email too. For all the gains in productivity, how much have you lost by having an always-on philosophy?

Define Your Work.

Not all work is equal. Look at what’s ahead and work out what’s critical that, if you do today, will allow things to progress. Think of a Gantt chart. If you do this, then you can do that later. I.e., Signing the agency agreement, which lets marketing do their thing. Make sure you write out a list of what’s ahead so you can anticipate the needs of your time.

The Power of Task Lists

As you get better at what you do, more people are going to want to use you. What are you doing to cope with that new level of demand?

Tasks come flying at us. From an Instagram message, an SMS, a phone call, a face-to-face meeting, etc. The skill is to note down what you commit to. You can use an electronic task list or a manual written one. What’s important is that you do it every day. It allows you to re-order what’s important so you can focus on the things that matter most.

It’s a lifesaver and ensures you don’t forget anything significant.

Recurring Tasks

As you get good, you’ll have recurring tasks that happen at the same time every day, week, month and year. Technology is super smart, and you can plan those so that they show up on your electronic task lists. It lets you plan for what’s ahead, and you can build out step-by-step what needs to happen so everything goes smoothly.

Monday to Friday Schedule

Real Estate is a very mature business. There’s no surprise about what happens each day of the week. You may have something that happens every day, then things that happen on specific days.

For every day of the week:

- Daily directions meetings

- 3pm loop back meeting

- Do we need to get any agency agreements to any clients?

- Any proposals?

- Any price updates?

- Any new listings?

- Any sales?

- Any offers we need to present?

Then, for each day of the week:

Monday - Buyer hitlist - Did we meet any buyers in the last seven days who really need to buy? Are there any leftover buyers, and should we do a buyer transfer onto an alternate listing?

Tuesday - Seller hitlist/Market appraisals - Review every one you’ve ever met or been to. What’s their reason for selling? Do they match any of the buyers on our buyer hitlist?

Wednesday - Listing review. How are your campaigns tracking? Enquiries, inspections, second inspections, pest and building reports, contracts, offers / bids, etc. Follow simple rules like by day nine, you need a second appointment, and by day 14, you need an offer.

Those items can be an all-day appointment at the top of your calendar. You can also do that by role in your business, so you’re clear about what operations or a co-agent may do each day of the week.

Get Good At Planning

Lift your horizon of focus. For most people, the year happens to them. Wow, it’s Christmas again. It comes at the same speed every year. You must be intentional about what you want. Plan your holiday dates 12 months in advance. Consider anywhere where there are public holidays; take time off around those. You can get plenty of holiday time.

Our best usually think:

- December 10 - Jan 8

- 13 days over Easter - Usually late March / April

- Two weeks over June / July

- And the 1st week of November.

That’s eight weeks of holidays. So, that means you need to be super productive for the other 44 weeks of the year.

Know your 4 and 5 auction week months so you can push forward your momentum.

Lift your context.

Monthly - Consider any travel and important events.

Weekly - Shopping / household preparation.

Daily - Nutrition, exercise, sleep and great relationships.

The Power Of Lists

You’re either building data or working data. Beyond that, you’re either building relationships or working relationships. Lists will be your number one success tool. Here are a few we love:

Buyer hitlist - the best buyers in the market today. Those that need to buy, as they’ve tripped a trigger; i.e. made an offer, bid, bought a pest and building report or need to buy by a specific timeframe.

Seller hitlist - those you know that need to do a transaction, as they’ve tripped a trigger, i.e. they’ve bought, need to sell due to an event, etc.

Buyer/sellers - those you know that, if you found them something to buy, they’d have to sell. Great questions can unlock that client. If you found something to buy, do you have savings/cash set aside? Bridging finance? Or would you buy on a long settlement and then hope to sell quickly? Or are you open to getting photos and preparing a contract? That way, when we find what you want, we can launch your property within an hour, get 8 or 9 buyers through yours, and receive a great offer, so then you can make a great offer on the home you’d love to buy.

Market appraisals - most people can’t write a list of the appraisals they did last month. Read over this regularly. Remember, when you’re clear on their reason for sale, the quicker they will come to market.

Past clients - The lifeblood of any business. In 16% of all transactions over the last 90 days, the vendor had bought the house within the last 3 years. That’s nearly one in every 6 transactions. Read through the list and call the key ones each month; i.e. all past April clients receive an annual check-up call in April.

Key referrers - stay close to the people who love your business and love to refer you.

Beyond those contact lists, keep track of your commitments. Think daily, weekly, monthly and annual.

The 2 Minutes or Less Rule: Can it be done in less than 2 minutes? Then do it now. The Two Sentences Or Less Rule: Every email should only be two sentences or less. Any more than that, then it needs to be a call unless for legal reasons.

Get better tools, ones you love to use.

We love Asana for all our projects, tasks and recurring tasks. It allows us to move workflow quickly across the team. We’ve moved beyond email for our team communication and use Slack. It’s fast and allows direct messaging, messaging in context or channels, and powerful integrations so that all forms have somewhere to submit their information.

We have a preference for communication in our business, too.

- SMS is for urgent items only.

- All team’s communication is via Slack.

- Email is for external clients only.

- And everything that matters, goes in the calendar.

- AM is for prospecting, PM is for appointments.

Whatever you do, remember this: It is your life, and you have to teach people how to use your time and your energy.

It’s time to wake up productive.


Josh Phegan is the internationally renowned go-to speaker, trainer and coach for high-performance real estate agents and agencies. He is the number one preferred trainer for Australia’s top 100 agents and top 50 women in real estate.

In 2023 he’s the drawcard speaker at over 200 events in the UAE, UK, New Zealand and Australia.

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