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The Blackhole of Time Usage

The Inevitable Question

You’ve all heard it…THE Question:  “You must never sleep, how do you find time to learn all this stuff?”  It comes up as in excuse in every class and it seems to be a focal objection for learning the current tools available to people.  I simply don’t find it that intrusive, I’ve learned to narrow down the platforms that I engage in and not try to spread myself all over the place.  I write for a few blogs for real estate and a few faith based blogs, I love Facebook and Twitter; but after that, I mess around with other venues and new platforms just to the point that I understand them.

However, I think the wrong questions are being asked.  It has very little to do with social media; social media is a natural fit for me because I love knowledge and take time to engage in learning.  I’m actually tired of social media, per se. It’s not new anymore, its not “cutting edge” it’s simply what is.  I’ve developed a flow in my life that learning and even social media is part of the routine.  I’m not driven by it (although, admittedly I was for the past two years).  In a few years, it’ll be something new.

Manage Your Time

I was reading recently, where a woman was blaming Twitter for her failed marriage.  As someone who has overcome a bad marriage and have worked with others to do the same, I will tell you that Twitter has very little to do with her marriage.  I’m sympathetic, but still want to instill, that a lack of attention and priority to the “marriage” is what is causing the failure – not a computer program.

Success for agents on blogs, is not caused by the agent just having a blog, but because they know about people and it comes through in what they are writing.

Its all a matter of priorities and unfortunately most business people have pretty screwed up priorities.

Think about this…  Your child asks you to come to a play they are performing at school.  Most parents will go, no matter what.  Some will apologies and blame work.  The reality is that you prioritize your job before your child.  It has very little to do with lack of time; everything to do with priorities.  Agents who were sucked into Real Estate because of the flexible hours, failed to step back and look at “successful” people.  Most “successful” people, in business, live and breath their job. Truly successful people will engage in their jobs, but still prioritize family, health and a few their faith, before that next “deal”.

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Help with Prioritization

To those people who can’t seem to find time to learn about your real estate career to provide better service, consider altering some or all of the following activities:

1.  Divorce yourself from sitting around the office and engaging in gossip.  This is the one area where, as a managing broker, I felt ate away at most of the day and your own chi.

2.  Remove the urge to complain about the market, as it doesn’t improve your chances of success.  Successful people are rarely caught bad mouthing the market – they are working too hard to find ways at taking advantage of it.  When the market becomes difficult for most companies, they overcame it by being unique and looking for advantages.

3.  Stop sitting at “floorduty” because you’re broker is too cheap to hire a secretary.  (Solitaire should be deleted from every computer in every brokerage.  If you have time to play Solitaire you obviously aren’t taking your career that seriously.)  There are a few exceptions to this.  High traffic offices in good locations with agents trained to convert walk-in consumers are rare, but they do tend to make good incomes off of these techniques.

4. Read at least one book on business (not necessarily real estate specific) every two weeks.  Books such as E-Myth Revisted, will help your career and is easy to read.  Read (or listen) to a book on budgeting, marketing, the economy, how to use time management; anything that will help you.

5.  Stop whining.

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6a.  Delete.  Really, go through your blog reader (I just did this) and delete anything that you aren’t really reading.  I found that I skim over far too much, and that I may have subscribed just because I like the person, etc…  I recently went from 200 to 50 blogs that I read.  Two of those are newspapers.  I love all my social media friends, but many of us think alike and I don’t need to keep reading your articles to prove I like and support you. If the author isn’t original, engaging and beneficial to your life, just delete the subscription.

6b.  Delete any and all shows from your Tivo that you watch just for background noise.  Mindless noise and stupid TV shows can really steal your family time, your learning time and quite time.  Most everyone needs quite time, far more often than we know.

I know that this all sounds simply, but not everyone is doing it.  I’ve just recently made a conscious effort to disengage from things that aren’t making me a better husband, father, person or employee.  It’s worked miracles.  Prioritze your time better and don’t think that you have to be into every new thing that comes out or is thrown in your face.  Prioritize.

Written By

Matthew Rathbun is a Virginia Licensed Broker and Director of Professional Development for Coldwell Banker Elite, in Fredericksburg Virginia. He has opened and managed real estate firms, as well as coached and mentored agents and Brokers. As a Residential REALTOR®, Matthew was a high volume agent and past REALTOR® Rookie of the Year & Virginia Association Instructor of the Year. You can follow him on Twitter as "MattRathbun" and on Facebook. Matthew's blog is



  1. Melina Tomson

    April 13, 2009 at 10:13 am

    I got a call for a tv survey a couple of weeks ago and was “disqualified because I only watch 1-2 hours a week. TV is at the BOTTOM of my list of things to do with my life.

    I am doing a time study right now for work about how I spend my time, and will analyze it in 6 months or so. If I’m going to be away from my kids, then I need to be doing something that brings me money. That simple.

    If it doesn’t generate money, then I will remove it from my things to do list.

    I want to have a life outside of real estate.

  2. Elaine Reese

    April 13, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    In my corporate life, we had a GM drill into us that “if it doesn’t move the business forward, stop doing it”.

    If the time spent using social media or blogging isn’t generating serious business, then that time needs to be reviewed or the blogging content or strategy needs to change.

  3. Missy Caulk

    April 14, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    The EMyth Revisited changed my life. I still read it as a refresher. No, Twitter didn’t kill the marriage, it must have been pretty dead anyway if you are spending too much time there.

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