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Stop Wasting Time and Be Productive with These Four Time Management Systems

BOMA/GLA Education

Few industries require the kind of self-starter motivation to succeed that real estate does. That's why it's so critical to stay productive. However, in today's world there are constant barriers to not only staying focused but maximizing effectiveness. Thankfully, there are several systems out there that will allow you to reorganize your time through prioritization, time management or visualization. All four of these methods have a proven track record and many avid followers. It may be worth your time to incorporate the new techniques of one or even several of these systems.

Be sure to check out BOMA/GLA's CRE Summit and Showcase, where speakers will address topics like these.

Four Time Management Systems that Can Increase Productivity

1. The Pomodoro Technique

This is a straight up time management system that does not organize your tasks, so much as the time in which you do them. Developed by Italian Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s it is indeed named for the Italian word for tomato. The idea is that time is broken down into pomodoros, or 25-minute blocks in which work is accomplished. In between each pomodoro you take a five-minute break, and after four pomodoros you take a longer break. It seems so simple, and it's meant to increase concentration during the work blocks. It also forces you to take large tasks and break them down into manageable portions. Taking regular breaks can protect against burnout.

The Pomodoro Technique can be used alongside many other time management systems, including the three discussed here. Additionally, it can be modified to best fit your own work habits and lifestyle. While many people do find concentration easier to maintain for 25-minute blocks, others may prefer to work for 90 minutes, or based around when they have meetings scheduled. It's adaptable and with so many admirers, it's worth giving a try.

2. Getting Things Done

Much more of a task management system than a time management one, Getting Things Done or GTD as its adherents affectionately call it, is based around the idea that a large barrier to productivity is all of the tasks we're constantly carrying around in our head. By 'capturing' these tasks on paper we can then focus our energy on acting on the tasks instead of constantly recalling them. Based on a book originally published in 2001 by David Allen, the method is meant to reduce stress in addition to increasing efficiency.

Overall, the system of GTD is quite a bit more complex than the Pomodoro Technique which only requires a timer. To practice GTD you need to have five separate areas within your system:

  • Inbox
  • Filing system
  • Set of lists
  • Calendar
  • Trash

You can practice GTD digitally, as well as solely on paper. There are five stages to the GTD workflow:

  1. Capture allows you to get a record of everything you've been carrying around in your head and put it into your inbox.
  2. Clarify has you remove the item from your inbox and clarify what precisely the task is.
  3. Organize means deciding what goes in the trash, what gets filed, and what gets acted on.
  4. Reflect because the first three steps are based on breaking things down into smaller tasks, the reflect stage lets you focus on the bigger picture for getting larger projects completed.
  5. Engage with the tasks that the system has distilled down to the most important things for you to act next on.

GTD is a great choice for those who find themselves bogged down with the process of keeping track of all the tasks they need to do and deciding what is most important to do next.

3. SMART Goals

Another time management technique has you focus clearly on what your goals are. The idea is that you can do all the work in the world, but you'll never achieve if your work does not move you with purpose towards your goals. SMART goals makes use of an acronym that spells 'smart,' and is the method by which you should always judge your goals:

  1. Specific: Can you clearly state exactly what your goal is?
  2. Measurable: How can you track the progress of your goal?
  3. Achievable: Is your goal realistic, even though challenging?
  4. Relevant: Is this goal important to you and in line with your other goals?
  5. Timely: What is the timeframe of your goal?

By evaluating your goals with these parameters, it can become much easier to stay focused on the next task at hand to achieve those goals.

4. Kanban Board

A Kanban board is more of system of task visualization than specifically a time management tool. Originally developed for the manufacturing industry, to make production leaner and more efficient, it has since become popular in technology, and makes a great option for visual thinkers.

The Kanban board uses cards on a board to represent tasks in different part of the process. Because real estate so often involves juggling various projects at different stages, it can be a great fit. The cards are moved from right to left as different stages are completed. In the simplest examples they move from in progress to completed but in the case of real estate the cards could be moving towards the stages of Closing and Follow-Up. The board can also be further divided horizontally; this can be used to differentiate teams or different types of projects.

Even if you're one of the lucky few who doesn't struggle with procrastination, introducing one of these tried and true techniques can help you to make the most of your valuable time.

Be sure to check out BOMA/GLA's CRE Summit and Showcase, where speakers will address topics like these.

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