Don’t try to manage your time, learn to MASTER it

Guest Post by Karen Wenner Cooper

Time. It’s the thing we want most, but tend to use worst. The amazing thing about time is that some people seem to be able to accomplish so much more than others.

Think of people like Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey. The level of accomplishment and productivity is unreal, yet they have the exact same amount of time … 24 hours in a day … that we all have.

So how is that possible? It is because they have learned to master their time, and I can teach you some key principles to do the same!

So you might be wondering … “who the heck are you and what could you possibly have to teach me about time mastery?” Well, I’ll tell you. I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, business owner, real estate team leader and coach, entrepreneur and licensed real estate broker.

My life is often messy and complicated, probably just like yours. In addition to caring for my family which includes my husband and 3 boys who are currently 15, 13 and 9, I care for and manage the household for my 80 year old father, plus we have challenges with my ill and aging in laws, and I’ve had my fair share of health challenges too having had multiple recent surgeries (including a mastectomy and reconstruction).

Yet despite all of that I manage regular vacations and days off all while running multiple productive and profitable businesses. I’m no superwoman, but I have learned to master my time too. Here’s how …

  1. Understand the concept of yes = no. Every time you say yes to something … happy hour with colleagues, a mid-day Netflix binge, you are saying no to something else … dinner with your family, prospecting or appointment time. It is critical to be intentional with your time and what you say yes to. If you are like me, you have requests and demands for your time constantly. Emails, texts, Facebook messages, phone calls, invitations, requests for help, coffee and lunch invites. Many of these may be really good things, but they may not be a really good thing for you right now. Saying no now doesn’t mean no forever. Prioritize that which is most important and most impactful and let the rest go.
  2. Apply “do, delegate, or delete” to everything. Emails, your task list at home and work. Make sure that you are spending your time on the things that are the highest and best use of your time and/or the things that only you can do. Volunteering in my child’s classroom, negotiating contracts, date night? Only for me. Delivering pop bys, grocery shopping, cleaning my bathrooms? Not for me. If you can hire a person or service to do the job for less than your hourly rate, then delegating is a no brainer. For the rest … let it go. How many things are you doing out of obligation, or because you think you are supposed to, or because you always have? Look at your current season of life and business and recognize that you can’t do everything. Let it go now, pick it up later. It’s okay.
  3. Establish boundaries for your life and your business. Your value is not in your availability. The value that you bring to others is so much more than being available to them 24/7. In my business, and maybe in yours too, other people are constantly making demands on my time. The constant distractions and interruptions can make it difficult to focus and to get your highest value tasks done … but it’s a double edge sword. Often those distractions and interruptions are coming from our clients so the answer is to set boundaries. It is perfectly reasonable (and appropriate) to have time frames for your business when it comes to starting and stopping your day. The more clear you are with your boundaries and setting expectations, the more readily you will be able to master the use of your time. For example, when you answer the phone or respond to a text or email at 6 am or 11 pm you are teaching your clients (and others in your life) that this is a great time to reach you. Set the expectation ahead of time. Resist the urge to send the “quick reply”, that will then turn into 3 more. Follow up at your next most appropriate earliest opportunity. When you respect your time and boundaries other people will as well.

The bottom line is that time is finite. We only have so much of it. What works for you now, may not work for you 6 months from now, so understand that and allow yourself the room and flexibility to adjust as needed.

About the Author

Karen Wenner Cooper is the founder of Empowering Women In Real Estate, and principle behind Empower Coaching by Karen Cooper, providing coaching and marketing systems for women in the real estate industry. A 17+ year industry veteran, having served many hundreds of clients, her greatest accomplishments and biggest joy are the three boys who call her “mom”.