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5 Major Time-Wasters Every Real Estate Agent Should Avoid

You know the success of your real estate business depends on prioritizing income-generating tasks. That's what all of the top real estate coaches tell you.

So you pull up your calendar and start time-blocking. Two hours for time-sensitive contract work, three hours for prospecting calls, one hour for returning calls to clients and prospects. Three thirty-minute blocks for checking emails. 

It's a solid process, and the coaches guarantee that it will bring you success.

But there are so many distractions. Your phone buzzes with notifications, your team members pop into your office with questions, and your quick Facebook post turns into fifteen minutes of scrolling. By the end of the day, you've accrued several hours of wasted time.

Let's take a look at some of the top time-wasters real estate agents are confronted with on a daily basis, as well as ways to make sure you don't fall victim to these productivity-crushing distractions.


1) Checking social media

When you hear "workplace time-waster," social media is probably the first thing that comes to mind.

It can start innocently enough—you go to your Facebook page to share a link to your latest blog post. That's marketing—part of your job, right?

But there's always something that will pull you in further—that red "notification" icon (which opens up a whole can of worms once you click to see what's up), or a post in your newsfeed that catches your attention.

And before you know it, your "marketing" activity has turned into a half hour of doom-scrolling.

How To Avoid This Time-Waster:

Obey your time blocks. If you're supposed to be calling prospects, do NOT go on social media. Try these tips:

  • Put your phone on "Do Not Disturb" mode so you don't receive any notifications.
  • Use a social media blocker on your computer for when your fingers (seemingly of their own free will) type out "facebook.com" in the address bar.

As for your social media marketing, you should either delegate this to someone else or use a platform like Buffer to schedule your social media posts. When you're creating your posts on a separate platform, there's no newsfeed or notifications icon to distract you.

Related: How Real Estate Agents Can Overcome The Fear Of Delegating


2) Trying to multitask

I say "trying" because, in reality, what we think of as multitasking is actually task switching. And it doesn't help us get more done in less time; it actually makes us up to 40% less productive.

For example, let's say you're trying to listen to a webinar and write an email at the same time. During the seconds when you're writing the email, you're not hearing anything said on the webinar. And every time you shift your attention from one task to another, you're killing your cognitive momentum and wasting time getting your brain refocused on the task. 

How To Avoid This Time-Waster:

Stop multitasking and start single-tasking. Here are some tips for focusing on one activity at a time:

  • Put your phone on Do Not Disturb mode to prevent notifications
  • Find a quiet place to work where you won't get interrupted. Put a Do Not Disturb sign on your office door, if necessary!
  • Start small—commit to focusing on a single task for just 20 minutes. You can increase the length of your time blocks as you get better at single-tasking.

Related: Why Real Estate Agents Should Stop Multitasking

3) Constantly checking your email

Just as with social media, checking and replying to email is an important part of your workday—but it can easily get out of hand. 

You probably check your email more than you realize. Would you have ever guessed that the average employee checks their email 36 times per hour?

Inman.com contributor Joshua Jarvis, who calls email the #1 time-waster for most agents, wrote: "As you read this online, if you're on a desktop, you likely have a tab open with your email. In fact, if you get an email, chances are really good that you checked it, and then have to come back, reorient yourself, and get started.”

How To Avoid This Time-Waster:

  • Leverage your assistant. One of the first emails you should send after a client goes under contract is an email introducing your aEntressistant and explaining that all questions should be directed to your assistant.
  • Turn off phone notifications.  (And yes, I do realize this is the third time I've mentioned this. It's a handy little feature!)
  • Schedule time blocks on your calendar specifically for email-checking. Check email ONLY during these times. The only exception should be if you're expecting a particular email from a client that needs to be handled today.

4) Being a perfectionist

As a lifelong perfectionist myself, it pains me to write this—but sometimes, you have to settle for "good enough."

Some tasks just aren't worth the time you'd spend perfecting them. You end up spending twenty minutes writing an email that should have taken two. You change the background color of your social media graphic fifty times before landing on that just-right shade of olive green.

Save your killer attention-to-detail for the contracts and other legally-binding documents. It'll be okay if that quick email to your lender isn't Pulitzer Prize-level literature.

How To Avoid This Time-Waster:

  • Start with a quick rough draft. Entrepreneur John Rampton suggests you "get the bare-bones of a project done first. You can always go back and make it 'perfect' later." 
  • Tighten your deadlines. When you give yourself a shorter amount of time to complete a task, it will give you a sense of urgency and make it impossible to spend excess time "perfecting" your work.

5) Doing everything manually

If you're not using some sort of automation technology, you're definitely wasting time. Automation platforms allow you to improve the efficiency and quality of every aspect of your real estate business.

  • Automated workflows allow you to document and continuously improve your processes, ensuring that every agent on your team always follows the proper steps of a transaction, and guaranteeing that nothing ever falls through the cracks.
  • Time-saving email templates mean you don't have to write the same messages over and over again. Data fields allow personal info like client name and property address to be automatically pulled into the email template. And workflows allow you to schedule emails to be sent to the right people at the right time.
  • Lead follow-up tools allow you to automate lead distribution, identify which leads are most likely to convert, create email drip campaigns, monitor lead activity on your website, and ensure that every lead receives follow-up at the right time.

How To Avoid This Time-Waster:

Make sure you're using a powerful automation tool designed specifically for real estate. Do your research to decide which real estate CRM is best for you. And if you'd like to learn more about Realvolve, get in touch here.

Related: How To Find The Best CRM For Your Real Estate Team

Your Next Step:

As you can see, it's possible to waste a lot of time on tasks that should be saved for their designated time block, delegated to someone else, or automated. The top time-wasters we discussed here were:

  • checking social media
  • trying to multitask
  • constantly checking your email
  • being a perfectionist
  • doing everything manually

But not all of these might apply to you. Maybe you couldn't care less about social media, or maybe you're already a pro at using the Do Not Disturb function on your iPhone.

So make a list of your top time-wasters—and then come up with a plan for counteracting those distractions. That way, you can stay on task and keep crushing it every day.

Sammy Harper

Sammy Harper is the content marketing coordinator for Realvolve. In addition to a decade of digital marketing experience, she has spent the last six years immersed in the world of real estate and CRM. Fascinated by the real estate industry and inspired by agents’ stories, she is dedicated to providing valuable content to help real estate agents thrive.


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