Most real estate agents who work from home quickly realize that it can be a double-edged sword. After all, working from a home office has many advantages – flexibility of hours, family focus, comfy clothes, a stocked fridge and zero commute, just to name the most obvious. Unfortunately, these advantages can easily spiral into productivity-crushing disadvantages.
The key to remaining productive is to minimize distractions and keep a strict schedule. Of course, this is easier said than done. Fortunately, we have some tried and true tips to help you accomplish both of these goals.
1. Follow a work schedule.
Block off time for relationship calls, note-writing, pop-ins, listing management and even social media. End your day with a To Do list. Schedules and task lists will help you maintain your work-life balance as it will not only discourage a day-time Netflix marathon, it will also help you stay away from your home office during family time. Don’t forget to also schedule AND time your breaks. Many people will attempt the first step, which is scheduling breaks, but few will bother to time them. Set the timer on your phone so a 10-minute coffee break doesn’t turn into a 2-hour conversation with a family member.
2. Pack a lunch.
This may seem silly but packing your lunch the night before will save time the next day, keep you focused and stop you from turning your lunch break into a meal prep for that night’s dinner. A colleague takes this a step further. She brings her lunch to the park or goes out for lunch, avoiding her kitchen entirely.
3. Make sure you have what you need at your fingertips.
Office supplies should not be stored throughout the house. Even going to the kitchen to grab scissors or a stamp can prove a distraction, if you have dirty dishes in the sink or the dog looks at you with sad, hopeful eyes and a leash in her mouth. I even have a kettle and tea supplies in my home office so I’m not leaving every hour for a refill.
4. Dress for work.
This does not mean you have to put on your best heels or a silk tie. At minimum, get out of the pyjamas, shower and dress business casual before you step foot into your home office. A colleague tells me that he schedules off-site meetings for as early in the day as possible. This helps him get dressed and in the right mindset for the rest of the day.
5. Set goals.
Goal setting is one of the most helpful tools for keeping you motivated to stay on track. Set daily goals, short-term and long-term goals. Your goal-setting should not only include your financial success but also the activities you need to accomplish your financial goals. We will have more goal-setting and tracking tips in a future post, so stay tuned!
6. Get automated.
You have mass emails, e-newsletters, direct mail, social media marketing, not to mention phone calls, client thank you cards and canvassing to cover! And this is outside of managing your listings, showings and more! You can’t do it all. That’s why you need to invest in a real estate marketing system that will automate your marketing activities. Our Referral Marketing System, for example, provides professionally written and designed real estate direct mail newsletters, e-newsletter, social media marketing messages, and more, all powered through the best CRM and email marketing program in the business. It will even help you stay on track with reminders, scheduling and goal setting.
7. Get your family on board.
This is a tough one to accomplish. After all, your partner, kids and pets have minds of their own. With that said, the more seriously you take your routine by implementing the tips above, the more likely it is that your family will follow your lead. This is especially true if you’re not sneaking back into your office during scheduled family time.
These are our 7 best tips for staying productive in your real estate home office; we hope you found them helpful!