We all have 24 hours a day, but why do some people get more accomplished than others? Why do some real estate investors have a system in place within a few weeks while others struggle for more than a year? Why do some score their first real estate deal in a month, while others give up after seven months of no luck? These are common questions people ask me and I’d like to share one of the skills you need in order to change and get more done in a shorter period of time. That skill is time management.

Time management isn’t as easy as it looks. In fact, time management is a struggle for many people on a daily basis. Managing your daily tasks can be even harder if you are a real estate investor and, therefore, your own boss. Rather than have someone delegating tasks and giving you a deadline, everything is up to you. There may not be a clear deadline.

I’ve found a lot of inspiration in Stephen Covey’s book, “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People,” especially when he says, “time management is a misnomer; the challenge is to manage ourselves.” As an entrepreneur, you have to be a tough boss and have self-discipline in order to be successful.

First, I’ve found that it’s critical to have a to-do list. It’s the crux of time management success. It’s impossible to remember everything. Keep a notepad and pen with you at all times. When you think of something you have to do, write it down. If you have a business idea, write it down.

Second, work in blocks of time. I’ve found my productivity has skyrocketed when I schedule myself a window of time – say two hours – and work down my list of tasks. If a task is taking longer, I’ll extend the block. During this time, I don’t let anything or anyone interrupt me. I turn my phone and email off so I avoid any distractions. Try this and you’ll be amazed at how much more you can get done in a silent two-hour block as opposed to three or four hours at home or in the office where you’re surrounded by noise, news, or other interruptions.

Third, go beyond just scheduling a block of time and schedule specific tasks to complete during that time. For example, from 2pm to 3pm, I’ll focus only on completing my social media posts for the coming week. You may be thinking multitasking is best, but in reality, it isn’t. According to a University of Michigan study, productivity drops as much as 40% when subjects try to do two or more things at once. Instead, just focus on one task at a time.

Fourth, I’ve found it best to tackle the most difficult tasks first. The more you put it off, the worse the project gets. You’ll feel more stressed and be distracted while completing simple tasks because you’ll be focused on the future larger project you still have to complete. Trust me, you’ll feel a wave of relief once you finish the hardest task of the day.

Fifth, don’t let others manage your day. This means, don’t let people around you cause interruptions or demand you to change your schedule. Think of it this way: most of us start our day by checking email. But then we’re immediately bombarded by requests from others. So instead of working on the tasks you should be focused on, your time is instead spent responding to others’ requests or questions. This is why I recommend scheduling your email time. Try to limit your email time to three times a day. For example, schedule half an hour in the morning, at lunch, and before the end of the workday to catch up on email. During the rest of the time, turn it off and focus on the tasks at hand.

Remember, time is your greatest asset as an entrepreneur or business owner. Make the most of it and be smart with how you use your time. The more you create a schedule or plan that works for you, the more you’ll be able to accomplish in less time. And with more time on your hands, you’ll have the opportunity to grow your real estate business faster and spend more valuable time with your loved ones. The options really are endless.

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