Time vampires are needy, thirsty selfish creatures who suck up your time and energy, leaving you pale, weak and unorganized. Once they’ve found a good meal they keep returning for more, every day.
Even though you regenerate yourself with a night’s sleep, food and vitamins, they’ll be waiting for you tomorrow, ready to extract every ounce of life from your veins. Being able to recognize these vampires on site will allow you to protect yourself from them as you should any vile, evil blood-sucking creature.
How much time-blood can you afford to lose before you become a worthless mass of matter going through life taking up space? Not getting anything accomplished and consuming valuable resources better reserved for those who will live past the time vampires and make a major contribution to society?
If we can identify these time-wasters, we can prepare for them and defend ourselves when they try to do their dirty work. After all, it’s either him or you. There are so many time vampires, it will be hard to discuss them all in this article, but I’ll try to cover the big ones-the ones a real estate entrepreneur should watch out for.
I’m sure you can guess the first one on my list, because I have no doubt you’re dealing with it already…
Your Telephone Can Make You Rich Or It Can Bleed The Life Right Out Of You.
The phone is a double-edged sword. It can get you with both incoming and outgoing calls. Either can be a bloodthirsty time vampire who consumes half your working day, often without you even realizing it. So let’s start with incoming calls. Who do they come from?
• Wrong Numbers.
Sometimes I get criticized for not taking call directly from customers (I have my receptionist and secretary screen my calls). But the I take a look at who’s doing the criticizing and I quickly realize…why should I care what he or she thinks?
Let me make a simple but bold statement that will express my final answer on taking incoming calls from anyone, anytime they wish to call…
Do So Only If Your Time Means Nothing To You And You’re Willing To Stay Broke All Your Life!
Do yourself a favor and keep a log on an average day of the time you spend on all incoming calls that day. You can go to Radio Shack and buy a gadget that will do it for you. You’ll be shocked to learn that, as a rule, fully a third to a half of your day was spent at the mercy of any time vampire who wanted to call and suck more blood from your productivity. They got you and you didn’t even realize the extent of the blood loss. These vampires are good at that. You’re getting bled dry every day and don’t even feel it.
Nothing fancy, but it has worked well for me for twenty years for several reasons. I have all my calls in one place so I can return them all at the same time. That in itself is a massive time saver.
Usually I return calls about four times a day, when I can make time to do so. I don’t stop what I’m doing and interrupt my productivity to return a call immediately just because someone chose that moment to ring me. I’ll do so when I can get to it and, in my case, only if the subject portion of my call sheet is filled out so I know why I’m calling this person. My secretary is trained to make sure any caller identifies the subject of their call. In some cases, requirement is waived when she knows the subject because of past experience or she is aware that I have a deal or other business in the works with this particular caller. Until that happens, even my mother has to identify herself to get through. In her case, I know why she’s calling. She wants money! So I just pick up the phone and say, “Hi, mom, how much?”
Come to think of it, I could get my secretary to as her the same thing, couldn’t I? Just kidding. I do talk to my mom, but for the record, only when I call her back. She’s been trained by experience not to even ask for me. He words are, “Would you tell Ronnie to call me back?” And I do. But only when I get to it. This is the same woman who still asks me once in a while when I’m going to get a good job. I tell her no one would hire me.
Back to the call sheet. Notice the RC (returned call) and LM (left message). I simply check which one applies as I call and as far as I’m concerned, my obligation is fulfilled. I simply will not call back more than once. I won’t chase anyone. This call sheet eliminates pink slips with phone messages. I’m famous around my office for saying, “If you give me a pink slip, you’ll get a pink slip!” By putting all calls in one place, I not only have a record of them, but phone numbers I may need later.
Behind my desk is a plastic tray where I put these sheets when I’ve finished working through them. They stay there for about three months and then the bottom half is removed and discarded. Simple system, but it saves me a lot of time and organizes the job of returning calls.
However, if you’re a real estate entrepreneur getting less than fifteen calls a week from sellers, you might want to make yourself available to take these incoming calls as they occur. There’s just too much money at stake to risk losing an important deal to your competition. In your case, these calls aren’t time vampires, they’re vital to your survival.
When and if your business gets to the point where you get more that fifteen calls a week from sellers, you can consider letting someone else prescreen your calls, leaving you to deal only with the survivors.
An important timesaver for me in this process is to block my calls and do them all at once to avoid so many interruptions in other activities. That way I can get them out of the way as a group effort without having to interrupt my attention on other projects several times daily.
Of course, the biggest misuse of the phone is taking calls from buyers when you’re trying to move houses. If you’re doing that, stop the insanity immediately. Has anyone called you lately whom you’d spend half a million dollars to talk to?
If you’re ever going to get burned out, this will cause it. You must set up a prescreening mechanism to capture and sort all these calls. It can be a voice mail system, answering service or, if you’re doing more than two houses a month, it can and probably should be a full time person to sell houses for you so the entire burden is off your shoulders. In fact, that’s my ideal solution.