The word “routine” seems to have become synonymous with “boring.” Having “a routine day” sounds as if there’s nothing you’ve done to speak of. But it’s those days that offer a tremendous amount of power to business owners — when they have the proper routine.
Gary Keller, founder of the largest real estate brokerage in the United States, once said: “Time on the task, over time.” What that means is that success depends upon the amount of time spent on the top 20 percent of “dollar productive” activities over a long span of time. And that’s where the power of a routine can be harnessed.
Many boring tasks should be delegated — that’s the essence of what Agents of Efficiency does — so what becomes part of your routine are the tasks that only you can do. My main business is real estate. The most important task I have is finding my next client, also known as “prospecting” or “lead generation.” This can take many forms, but the bulk of it is making calls and writing emails to folks who may be buying or selling in the near future. Through my routine during the past several years, I know that when I spend three hours a day, five days a week, on generating leads, I will sell one home for every 50 people I talk to about real estate.
Nearly every day during the week from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., I follow my routine. That might sound boring but the results from spending consistent time on this task, over time, has resulted in more sales than almost any other real estate agent in my area. How boring does that sound?
During the past four years, I’ve refined this routine and it’s helped me spend 2,800 hours finding my next client. Before, I only made these calls and sent emails if I felt like it or if it was convenient. That meant that one day I would try to generate leads for three hours but wouldn’t do it again for a few days. By the end of the week, I’d have only tallied five or six hours on the task. To make matters worse, the urgent lead that I talked to Monday who wouldn’t commit to meeting with me may have been ready Tuesday — but I was off doing a less critical task. By the time I did call them, they had hired someone else.
Time blocking is an extremely effective tool for creating routines, which take time to refine. I’ve been working on my time-blocking schedule for the past four years and only recently have I zeroed in on the sweet spot.
Identify your top 20 percent of activities and block time in your schedule to do them. Look at a week and create what your perfect week looks like. And don’t just time block for work or business. Also block time for other important things such as family, personal growth, exercise, and other things that matter to you. Start with what time you will get up, any quiet time or meditation, what time you get to work, all the way through to when you go to bed.
Don’t be too detailed, though. Just the top 20 percent that only you can do. When I first started doing this, I was way too detailed and it burned me out. Massage and adjust the routine as needed. Fine-tuning it allows for trying new things to see if they are as effective as what is being done now.
And, truly, there really isn’t an alternative to developing a routine for a business owner who hopes to be successful — and what business owner doesn’t want that? To not do develop a routine means floating through the days and letting anything unexpected throw the day off course. It can become very easy to not even realize how unproductive your days have become.
Developing a productive routine may not be easy but it’s effective. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll find your sweet spot and have days that were more productive than you thought possible. Will you choose today to start creating a powerful routine? Or is getting the most out of your days just too boring?
By Chris LaGarde