OREA Real Estate College

Focus is the Key


Multitasking – engaging in multiple tasks simultaneously or sequentially (i.e., shifting from one task to another in rapid succession) – is costly and a waste of time. And, there are studies to prove it.

Researchers at the Institute of Psychiatry at the University of London studied 1,100 workers at a British company, who found that multitasking with electronic media (i.e., email and telephone calls) caused a greater drop in IQ than smoking pot or losing sleep.

Similarly, a study by the University of Michigan’s Brain Cognition and Action Laboratory, concluded that even brief mental blocks created by shifting between tasks cost as much as 40 per cent of someone’s productive time.

Time management, on the other hand, is essential for success, especially in real estate, where you are called upon to prospect for new clients, advertise/market your services, make listing presentations, prepare and present offers, and show properties. And, you need to focus on each of these tasks as they arise to ensure they are performed appropriately and successfully.

Following are some tips on how to manage your time more efficiently, thereby reducing the necessity and urge/need to multitask.

  1. Set priorities. Identify and complete tasks in order of priority, as determined by your professional goals and aspirations. Set priorities as follows: (1) Identify and complete urgent tasks first, defined as activities that, left unattended, may have serious consequences; (2) Identify and complete important tasks, defined as activities that are less time sensitive but still essential; and (3) Identify and complete routine tasks, defined as activities you do on a regular basis and as time permits.
  2. Plan. Make a ‘to do’ list of the tasks you want to accomplish for that day, arranging them in the order of priority.
  3. Set and adhere to timelines. Don’t postpone tasks that seem overwhelming or unpleasant. If they do seem overwhelming, break down the task into more manageable chunks.
  4. Know your best time. Schedule the most difficult tasks at a time when you are at your best and most alert.
  5. Group tasks. Group together similar tasks, such as prospecting, answering clients’ queries, or paperwork. Grouping tasks is a great time-saver.
  6. Organize your workspace. Determine and gather what you will need to accomplish a task. Put these things away once you have finished. Cluttered workspaces are distracting and can lead to messes.
  7. Keep a notes list. Record items that came up during the course of the day that require you to take action.
  8. Identify and avoid time wasters. Time wasters include socializing with colleagues or doing personal errands during work time. Taking a break is OK, but do so at the end of each accomplished task.
  9. Be flexible. Allow for and expect interruptions, but don’t allow these interruptions to take control. Return to your task as soon as possible.
  10. Take advantage of quiet times. Quiet times are a good time to catch up on routine tasks that have slipped behind or get ahead on your work.



Ontario Real Estate Association (2009): A mentoring kit for new salespeople: Training for success. Don Mills, Ontario.

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