Stress can kill.


How many times have we heard that?  While increased productivity makes companies and their employees more profitable, it’s very demanding.  For many of us, especially at this time of the year when listing inventories are historically low, the urgency to find product and satisfy the buyers becomes nightmarish.  We get “burned out” or feel the loss of a decent lifestyle.


Is it any wonder then, that there is an increased demand for time management training, both in and out of the workplace?


When agents start out with our company, I always ask what their lifestyle is like and what family demands are upon them. Whether it’s car-pooling, taking kids to hockey or taking care of an elderly parent; I want to know about it.  I want to know, because that is how I assist them in crafting their own time management scheduling. 


Some of the major interferences in our lives are mostly as time-wasting situations or events.

* Information overload, thanks to a barrage of emails, voice mails, letters and faxes

* Changing priorities, as some of us have to do from time to time

* Stress from working long hours and being non productive

Sheila Adler, who teaches time management for the New York-based American Management Association, says, “What is needed here is for us to train registrants to work smarter and not harder.”


Here’s how I have attempted to do that. 


Purge tasks that are no longer necessary.  Delegate as much non-essential “stuff” as possible to others in your chain of command.  If you are a top-producing agent, start mentoring a newbie, and you’ll free up more time to do what you’re really good at: being across the table and negotiating.  If you are inflexible about doing this, be prepared to be more stressed out than before.  Be prepared to go with the flow.


Learn to take vacations, and balance your lifestyle accordingly. 


Learn to bunch your return calls at one period of the day.


Put your phone on don’t disturb, so that you can complete vital tasks.


Julie Morgnetstern, a time management guru who wrote Never Check Email in the Mornings, says you have to “let go and set aside time blocks to do the thoughtful and constructive projects that you as an individual company or agent really want.”


If you find that you still have “too much to do”, Morgenstern suggests subjecting every demand for the four D’s — delete, delay, delegate and diminish.  Does it need to be done at all? Can it be rescheduled? Can it be delegated? Are there shortcuts to streamline the task?

In summary, map out your time each week, say on Sunday night, and then make it a priority to do those major tasks in the week ahead.  For brokers, it is keeping the costs down, increasing productivity, and finding ancillary sources of income.  For agents, it is finding buyers, sellers, getting referrals and developing marketing techniques that work efficiently and economically.


And for both parties, this may mean outsourcing individuals who have expertise in time management to assist them to their next level of productivity and profit.


David Fagiano, chief operating officer of Dale Carnegie Training, has this to say: “Keep a time log of your activities each week.  Look at what can be streamlined/or improved. Sit down with your mentor/broker and make sure what you’re doing is in line with mutual goals and ideals.”


“Men’s natures are alike: It is their habits that carry them apart.” — Confucius

Stan Albert is an associate broker with Re/Max Professionals in Etobicoke, Ont. and in May 2006, will celebrate his 35th year in real estate. He serves on the Complaints, Compliance and Discipline Committee at RECO, and the Professional Standards Committee at the Toronto Real Estate Board. He is an established trainer and business consultant and can be reached at [email protected]; or


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