One of the exercises we do in the Professional Real Estate Investor class is create “Deal Boundaries.” One of the questions in the exercise is: “Honestly, how much time WILL you dedicate to your real estate investing?” This got me thinking about all of the things that take time but really aren’t productive, and how productive could we could become if we replaced some of those behaviors.
So, here are a few things I thought we all might be able to identify with and maybe find a few extra hours each week to use towards our goals.
TV Watching – According to the A.C. Nielsen Company, the average person in the US watches more than 28 hours of TV in a week. We all have our favorite shows. For me it’s football season. That means my TV is on a lot. However I have rules. For example 1) The TV doesn’t go on before 5:00pm during the week, 2) Tape my favorite shows so that I can plan when to watch them. 3) I like quiet but sometimes, if I want background noise instead of the TV I’ll put on music (classical makes me productive). The point is to plan and don’t let it be just automatic.
The Web and/or Social Media – It was so funny this week in church, they sang a song called “Get off of Facebook.” It was done tongue n’ cheek but there was a valid point – are you out in the world connecting or just watching everyone else.
The internet is a very valuable tool. In fact we use over 40 websites in the Professional Real Estate Class to do everything from finding comps to how walkable a neighborhood is. There is wonderful data available to us on the web but the skill is staying focused on our mission and not getting side tracked.
Also, recreational use should be limited. Your time is better spent being engaged with people or activities.
Email – This is a category all it’s own. Because email can overwhelm your day, manage your email; find a technique that works for you. I go through my email and categorize it: 1) look at it quickly and put it in a folder 2) trash it 3) take action on it. Some people also create an email account to use for retail or junk mail.
Positive people only – This has been a mantra of mine for a long time. It’s not always possible to control, so control it when you can do so. There is a difference between someone who is suffering because of tough times and curmudgeons/contrarians. I’ve been blessed to be a Pollyanna; for years I’ve thought that my perky attitude could positively affect negative people. I’ve found you can’t force positivity on people, so why waste your energy if they aren’t receptive.
Multi-tasking – This is the hardest one for me. There is a great deal of scientific evidence that supports multi-tasking as extremely ineffective. Researchers say that when you multi-task you are taking time to make your brain switch to a different skill set and different memory experience. One study showed that when we start and stop on several tasks, we can increase the time needed for completion by as much as 500 percent.
There are times in life where multi-tasking can’t be helped. However, if it is your nature, you can make adjustments to become more productive. The one that works the best for me is setting a time limit for a task. Say writing this article for example. I set the timer on my phone for 30 minutes and all I do is write. I don’t look at email (turn off the alert it helps), don’t answer the phone, don’t make notes about other projects – just focus on this article. When the time is up then I’m free to go… (the timer went off – haha) onto other things. It works really well for me.
I suggest you take one of these things and put it into action. You don’t have to change everything. Just one adjustment will do wonders.
Diana Hill – firstname.lastname@example.org