Keeping It Together

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Keep It Together

Do you ever find yourself struggling to find enough time in a day to accomplish everything?  Perhaps you feel like you can keep up with what you currently know, but feel like you are falling behind on what’s new.

If you feel this way, you’re not alone.  I know I do.  I would wager a guess that almost everyone does at some point, in any field of work.

The other day I was talking with a co-worker about how difficult it can be at times to ‘keep up’.  We work for a software development company.  It’s almost a given that we should be hip to the newest tech gadgets, gizmos, and applications.

How does one keep up with what is new and how do we know which of the newest of the new is going to be something we can actually make use of, benefit from, and even help us save or make money?  Because, let’s face it, no matter what the economic situation is, we could always use a bit more money in our pockets.

This led me to consider some practical ways that we can manage our daily lives to prevent information and application overload.

The whole world in your hand

Well, almost.  If you haven’t already taken a look at the amazing features, tools, and apps available with most of the smartphones these days, it’s probably about time you did.  Judging by a recent informal poll we did on the Point2 Agent blog, we see that the majority of real estate professionals feel that their smartphone is the one gadget they simply could not live without.

And for good reason.  Consider that in most cases a smartphone provides you with web access, email access, an address book, a cell phone, a lockbox remote, a GPS, and a digital camera in a pinch.  Then think of how you’d ever manage to carry, let alone remember, all those individual gadgets at any given time – usually 24 hours a day.  (Note: this isn’t to say that your smartphone camera should replace a decent quality digital camera for listing photos.  We wouldn’t want to endorse less than the best for listings at Point2.)

Whole World in Your Hands

Also becoming a more compelling reason to use a smartphone is the ever-growing list of neat, useful, and sometimes not-very-useful-but-quirky apps available from various application stores.  Of course, if you have an iPhone you can download a variety of apps for your phone from the Apple App Store.  If you have a BlackBerry, you can also access apps for your smartphone from BlackBerry AppWorld, including some of the more popular ones orginally made for the iPhone.

Walking into spider webs

Social networking and social media – a veritable web of contacts and friends and acquaintances.  Simply put, social media is the way of the future.  To be successful in any kind of business the need to be connected to your consumers is more real than ever before.  This raises the question: How do I know what is important?  And how do I keep track of it all?

Knowing what is important can be as simple as recognizing what is important to you and to your business.  Not all social media or networks will be suitable for every business.  Fortunately for you, the real estate industry is a very consumer-centric, people-oriented business.  This means that for the most part you should want to follow and participate where your consumers will be participating.  If you are able to reach them and connect with them on any level then you can succeed.

 Social Media Spider Webs

It’s true, some social networks have the potential to fizzle out without much success or following.  Because of this, some may be hesitant to ‘jump on the bandwagon’ because they don’t want to invest time or energy in building up a network on a service that may we useless in a few months.  Sound like you?  That’s okay, just take things a bit slower.  If you are interested in the potential of a specific service or tool, give it a few months to ‘prove’ itself in the flurry of all the other social media services.  It’s probably safe to say that if the social network or social media tool has made it into the mainstream successfully (i.e., mentioned in the news frequently, celebrities use it, etc.) then it is likely to remain for at least a little while and could warrant your participation now.

I can’t hear you!

As new services and tools arrive on the scene you’ll probably need to start managing all your profiles and networks.  The whole point of being involved in social media and networking is to connect you with other people, those who may be potential clients, and to help build your brand and reputation.  In order to convey this about yourself, you actually need to participate.  Setting up profiles at every social networking site is not going to net you business if you don’t actively participate there.  The more you have to say the more people will want to listen.

megaphone with laptop

There are applications available that allow you to manage multiple – more popular – social networking services in one place.  Consider testing these applications out to find out which one best suit your needs and your social networks.  One that I’ve personally tried with some success is AlertThingy, where I can manage my Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, and Yammer accounts all in one place.  It won’t allow you to do everything you could normally do on each of those services independantly, but it does make life a bit easier.

There are also applications and services (such as HelloTxt) that allow you to update multiple social networks with one post or entry.  If you are truly too busy to add a personal tweet or status update to your individual profiles, consider utilizing one of these automated services.  However, don’t neglect to post and update with real words and thoughts as often as possible.

You are busy.  We all are busy.  Sometimes it feels like we can’t ever keep up.  Hopefully with these few suggestions you’ll be able to relax just a little and feel like you are in better control of one aspect of your busy lives.

What do you think?

I tried to think of this with the real estate professional in mind and barely skimmed the surface of managing time and energy.  No doubt, since I am not out there buying and selling real estate on a day-to-day basis, I have missed some valuable tips or suggestions.  Please join in the discussion and share your practical advice with the rest of us in the comments below.

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