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Time Management

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Perfecting Time Management

With John McGrath, McGrath Estate Agents

John McGrath, with his exceptionally busy life, is a master of time management. To get the most of out of every day, John believes where you can, you should take yourself out of the equation. He says, “Work out what your role is and what are the key and most important tasks that you are going to personally perform. Then put a team around you to actually deal with the other things, because a lot of things that you think you should be doing need to be done, but not necessarily by you."

He adds, “You just need to have some sort of a system, and everyone's will be different. But you need to have a system, because the days of just thinking you'll just get around and you'll just deal with everything are over.”



Life is busy. Time is precious. Do what you like. John says, “Try not to complicate things. I try not to get involved in things that I'm really not passionate about being involved in. I think by reducing those things, it does give you initially by definition more time to spend on the important stuff. Declutter your life.

Just like you throw stuff out of your wardrobe, well, just have a look at your entire life. What are the clubs you're involved with? Who are the people that you sort of strive to hang out with? You might have to do a little bit of prioritisation to make sure that you're spending time with the people and on the projects that matter most.”



Value what you bring to your role. Work out the key aspects of your role and if you can, delegate other tasks to your team members. Ask yourself, if you had nothing else to do this week, what would be the one task that you would complete? Put it in your schedule. Then ask, what would be the next important thing – and put that in your schedule.

John says, “Put in place first the things that I call the big rocks, or the most important tasks for you to perform and put them in your diary and then set an appointment with those tasks. I used to make sure that every morning from 8am until 9am, I rang all my vendors, because that was the important task for me when I was selling to ring them everyday, so I put that in. If someone said to me, 'Could I see you at 8 o'clock?', the answer would be no, just like it would if I were doing an auction or an open-home inspection, because it was just as important for me, or more important for me, to deal with those key tasks."

John believes that home, work and the office in between - your car - need to be organised, havens of productivity. He says, “I go into most people's offices and their desk is piled high with local papers from six months ago and all sorts of things. You know this chaos thing, and I've heard a few people say, 'Oh, that's the way I work best. I've never met anyone that's more effective working that way. You've got to consolidate it down and just make sure that you're focused on what's important today."



Saying 'no' can be one of the most beneficial phrases to learn. Many sales people never say it because they don’t want to disappoint a customer. John says, “I think you've really got to get tough and say no to an appointment or a request or a meeting or things that are not that important. Most sales people's downfall is they have an exaggerated need to be liked”. Wanting to be liked can actually get in the way of you being successful because it can tear you away from your goals and priorities. John says, “I think it's really important to understand that you can't do everything - you can't be all things for all people - and work out where you can best add value."



Slowing down and looking back is the key to a growth mindset. Creating time in your week to review and prepare for the week ahead will do wonders for your equilibrium and business. John says, “I have a no appointment Friday policy. Fridays I don't allow my PA to book meetings or appointments because I want to make sure that I've got a day clear to prepare for next week and to review what happened last week or this current week. For me, it's creating that buffer time or space to make sure you can get them done. Most people are well intentioned - they want to follow-up, they want to research, they want to prepare, but they often don't give themselves time. They book meetings from first thing Monday to last thing Friday and they end up therefore winging it. As we know, in real estate winging it can be a very expensive and brand damaging process."

John believes that slowing down in fact makes you more efficient and confident. He says, “It gets rid of stuff that clutters your mind. A lot of people say, 'Wow, I'm going away tomorrow, what am I going to need?' or 'I'm going to a listing appointment or an open house inspection, what are the things I need to take with me?' Then they run around and they drive to the open for inspection and they realise that they've forgotten the door wedges or the brochures or their business cards and that stresses them out. The more stress you have in your life, the less chance you've got to focus on closing new business, giving great service and so forth, the important things. I find not only does slowing down make you more time efficient but it makes you more confident and effective."



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