Remember back when times were simple and the only calendar you had to manage was your own? Ahh, the good old days!
In high school, it was the class schedule coupled with an assignment tracker all in a spiral paper planner.
Then in college, it was the Franklin Covey paper planner. That’s when I learned the stress of trying to be two places at once.
Now, it’s Google Calendar. You and your team may be using Outlook, or some other calendar system, but I think I speak for the majority of real estate teams when I say Google Calendar is the most popular tool for teams.
First and foremost, if you have a team of two (your lead agent and yourself) or more, you need to get G Suite. Yes, I know some real estate franchise companies already provide their members with Google apps, but if you plan to grow beyond two members, you need your own subscription as a small business. It lifts the 30 GB storage maximum and gives you many more options for customization than what your real estate franchise version can provide.
No matter what calendar system you use, you need to be able to see the calendar for everyone on your team for two very good reasons.
First, it allows you to book appointments for your team members. If a call comes in and the person really wants to set an appointment, it’s just easier to do that now rather than have an agent call them back after they’ve had time to think about it and the excitement has worn off.
Second, you can see what appointments your agents have been on. If I see that our listing agent went on a listing appointment last night, I can ask him the next day if I need to prepare listing documents. I like knowing what’s going on and being out in front of it. I don’t like surprises. I can also see how many appointments our agents are going on each week and I can track appointments to agreements without having to wait on the agents to report those numbers to me.
I really like how Google set up the new calendar as well. If you switch to Day view, you can see your entire team’s schedule side-by-side for the day. This makes it easy to find a time for that day when everyone can meet.
Here’s a Monday coming up in our team’s calendars:
We implemented a daily “Study Hall” for everyone from 9:00 to 10:30 AM which each person can use for their highest priority of the day without being interrupted by another team member. Some of us choose to put it on our schedules and others of us don’t. Since this is a day in the future, I like to wait until the day before to write in what I’m going to do during that time. Usually it’s project-based. Like creating an event page and inviting our database to the event through email. Our agents use study hall time for lead generation.
You can see though that if I wanted to schedule a meeting for everyone at the same time, I could ask Robert if he could move his check-in with sellers to 2:00 and then everyone can meet from 1:00 to 2:00 PM.
I have a simple system for running my own calendar.
- On Sunday night, review my calendar for the upcoming week. See what days I have to be out of the office for meetings or appointments and make mental note. If necessary, block time the day prior to a meeting to prepare for that meeting. Look for anything that’s missing. Decide what’s the most important thing I need to do for the week, and block out the appropriate amount of time for it.
- Before going to bed every night, look at tomorrow’s calendar. Do I need to be up early? Do I need to pack a lunch? Do I need to stop at the store or at the bank on my way into the office? Do I need to do anything after work?
When I sit down at my desk every morning, I open my calendar first and double-check to make sure I know what’s going on for the day. Then I look at what I have to do for the day and block out time for each item. To know what I have to do for the day, I’m looking through my email and through my CRM for new contracts or listings, I’m seeing what has to happen to move projects forward. I’m seeing who got back to me about outstanding items. And then I book time to deal with all that.
My system is not infallible. I’ll admit to being reactive some days and knowing that an agent needs something as soon as I walk in the door, I’ll immediately begin working on that thing and ignore what was on my calendar. It’s not ideal, but I’m only human.
When I get too many days in a row like that, I do like to know how I’m spending my time. So once I realize I’m in reaction mode, I like to keep an eye on the clock and now my calendar is a time catalog of how I spent my time. Every time I move to something new, I note it on my calendar. So if I’m not planning time on what I wanted to, at least I can say what did spend my time doing. It’s comforting to know the specifics rather than being left with a feeling like I know I was busy, but I really don’t know what I accomplished.
I know that developing a calendar system for myself is something that has evolved over time. It’s like working out. Everyone should be incorporating some kind of movement into their lives. But some of us really enjoy running and other enjoy lifting weights, playing basketball, or swimming. What I do may or may not work for you. Commit to a calendar system for four weeks. If you don’t like it after that much time, change it. Find what works for you and then make it a habit.
If you want to master anything, you have to first be consistent with it. Then it becomes habit, and then you master it. You can master your calendar, and I promise that if you get control of your time and you work proactively, your sense of accomplishment and productivity will soar!