Transcending Time-Wasting Tasks

Even the most successful people struggle with time and how to work without interruptions.

In his bestselling book Time Traps: Proven Strategies for Swamped Salespeople, Todd Duncan provides insights into the most pervasive time-wasting tasks and tips for overcoming them. Xperience CEO Chris Suarez shared Duncan’s lessons during a weekly call with Xperience partners.

Studies have shown where sales professionals waste the most time and how those daily time sucks add up over the course of a year:

  1. Personal emails in your work inbox (30 minutes a day, 115 hours a year)

  2. Personal calls to your work phone (30 minutes a day, 115 hours a year)

  3. Answering every call that comes in (60 minutes a day, 230 hours a year)

  4. Customer calls to personal phone (60 minutes a day, 230 hours a year)

  5. Instant messages and alerts (15 minutes a day, 58 hours a year)

Add it all up, and we’re wasting more than 3 hours a day … or 748 hours a year!

For sales professionals who suspect that the spread of telecommunications is stealing time from them, Duncan supplies some startling counterevidence.

In 1928, a sales and management study found that the average salesperson was focused on selling for just 90 minutes a day, or 20 percent of their work time.

Seventy years later, in 1998, the same organization repeated the study. And they found the same results: Salespeople were selling just 90 minutes a day. With all the changes in communications and studies into productivity, nothing had changed.

Five years later, in 2003, researchers expanded the study to look at productivity outside the United States. Their findings? Salespeople around the globe spend 20 percent of their time selling.

It doesn’t matter what technology we introduce or what best practices we hear about, most of us are devoting only 20 percent of our time and energy to the what matters most to our success. Looked at another way, for nearly a century we’ve been spending 80 percent of our time on tasks that don’t affect the bottom line.

The most successful real estate professionals compensate for this natural tendency by introducing systems to ensure they engage in the lead generation necessary to grow their business.

On his own team, for example, Suarez has shortened or eliminated meetings that are nonessential.

There are some things we simply have to let go. And yet for many high-performers, it’s really difficult. There are four main reasons we refuse to help ourselves or let others help us let go:

  1. Ego. “No one is going to do it better than me.”

  2. Insecurity. “If someone does it better, I’m going to look bad.”

  3. Naivete. “I’m fine by myself.”

  4. Temperament. “Working with others is just too complicated.”

Success is a result of focused time. To become great at anything you have to learn to focus on the right things. Equally important, you have to focus on it over time. Time on task over time leads to proficiency. It takes multiple deposits of time on the same task.

Think about going to the gym. If you invest an hour a day for a few months, what kind of results will you achieve? You’ll likely feel better, you’ll look better, you’ll eat better. What if you work out only once a month?

The same logic applies to your real estate business. You can’t expect to develop a lifelong client relationship by chance. Compounding effects take time. If you’re not proactively calling your database, it’s like going to the gym once a month. Haphazard deposits of time are of very little value. You have to be purposeful and persistent.

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Time matters. Learn to master time and everything else will fall into place.We can't wait to "xperience" Mega Camp with you this week! Clickhereto learn where you can find our team!