I read a good book about eight years ago that is now out of print. It was written by Roger Merrill, who was one of Stephen Covey's right-hand guys. The book he wrote was called Connections: Quadrant II - Time Management. He used a quadrant process to describe our use of time.
These four quadrants encompass every possible usage and activity of time. We can easily end up in a quadrant during the day that produces little value for our business and us.
This is the emergency quadrant. Real Estate Agents spend too much time in this quadrant. We are working to get the transaction closed at the last minute, getting a flyer made for a property, or writing an ad. Our stress level, blood pressure, frustration goes up the more time we spend in this quadrant. This is what I call the "burnout" quadrant. If you are spending large amounts of time here, you will burn out ... guaranteed.
This is the quadrant of revenue. This is the quadrant of success and effectiveness. When an Agent is spending large amounts of time in this quadrant, their income rises dramatically, and their quality of life follows. Your family time, workout time, and spiritual time are all located in this quadrant. If you slip a day, it's easy to justify. It's easy to put it off because you can because there isn't the urgency or immediate pressure as in Quadrant 1.
Your business growth activities are also located in Quadrant II. Your prospecting and lead follow-up activities are here waiting for you each day. This quadrant is the one you control yourself. It is self-directed. The challenge is that all the other quadrants are frequently externally directed. People in your life, clients, prospects, family, and friends drive you out of this quadrant to the other three quadrants. The high income and quality of life is contained in Quadrant II. The more time you spend in this quadrant, the more money you make and the greater the feeling of success and accomplishment and quality of life.
This quadrant is directed by others. I call this the quadrant of delusion. We are fooling ourselves to think that these urgent needs are helping us achieve a successful business. This quadrant and the activities in there don't contribute to our important goals of life.
This is clearly the quadrant of waste. There is usually a lot of wasted time in most people's days. We can be lead by others into this quadrant. The coffee and doughnut bunch in the office can lead us here. A low motivation prospect whom only wants a little of our time, is in this quadrant. They say, "I am not ready, but if you could send me some information, that would be great" ... waste!
Our job is to direct our business and time to increase the use of Quadrant II; to not allow others to push us into these other categories because they view something as urgent when it's not. The most common redirect quadrants for Real Estate Agents are Quadrants I and III. Don't let the outside focus cause you to spend more time in those quadrants than is absolutely necessary.