Can’t Get Anything Done? Try Working LESS…

If I had to name the #1 non-real estate issue I deal with when coaching FastTrack students, I’d say that it’s some version of, “I have trouble prioritizing all the things I want to be/need to be/think I should be doing, and I think I end up spinning my wheels a lot”.

And this isn’t just a problem with part timers. Most of my FastTrack student either are or want to become full time real estate entrepreneurs, and they have some of the same issues.

In fact—and you won’t believe this until it happens to you—the first thing that happens when a FastTracker finally reaches that goal and quits their “real” job is that they call me a month later and say, “I do NOT understand how I had 50 hours a week to commute and work. Now that I’m not working, I seem to have LESS time for real estate than I did when I had a job!”

Does this “I’m busy but not sure I’m accomplishing anything” story sound familiar to you? Then let me make a radical suggestion that’s worked for me and for some of my FastTrack students: Work. Less.

If your immediate reaction was a panicky “What do you MEAN work less? I’m not getting nearly enough done as it is!! If I do even less, I’m never going to accomplish anything!!!” then you may have the same basic problem that many of my mentoring students have: you have trouble distinguishing between activity and effectiveness.

Intentionally, consciously working less means that, if you give it any thought, you’ll automatically prioritize the most important things that have to be done that day. You’ll also find that your mind starts working on the problem of, “How do I delegate this necessary-but-time-consuming task to someone else?” so that the limited time you’ve given yourself is maximized.

Trust me when I say, this works.

A few months back, while I was in the throes of managing the OREIA Summit, I found myself angry and miserable over the long days I was putting in on that and my wholesaling business (which always tends to pick up after labor day). So I made a conscious decision to limit my working hours to 4 a day, with the ENTIRE weekend off (and if I had to speak on Saturday, Monday off).

What this forced me to do was look at my long, long to-do list each morning, and decide which things were actually MOST likely to lead me to my goals of 2 deals that week and xx new signups for the conference.

This decision making process was not a quick one; with only 4 hours available, it took me a solid 15 minutes in the morning to choose among good options and decide which were the best, in terms of reaching that week’s goals—and to figure out if and how any of the other good options could be delegated.

So here’s a day’s to-dos from September 15:

Finish PC for OREIA previous attendees
Update facebook ads for Summit
Figure out offers on Iliff, 11 property package, and Kirbert
Go thru new county list (meaning de-duplicate and sort by a particular sale type to find a list of possible sellers)
Empty email box
Go see Raphael & Fairfield (2 properties with motivated sellers)
Call John re: possible new buyer
Work with Jenn on REIblackbook uploads

Problem is, JUST the first 4 items on this list were over 4 hours worth of work; yet all of the items are, in some way, either urgent and important or important but not urgent.

Still, with only 4 hours to work with, I made the following decisions:

Finish PC for OREIA previous attendees ( Did, 45 minutes)
Extend existing facebook ads for summit (They weren’t as good as I thought I could make them, but this took 2 minutes instead of 45)
Figure out offers on Iliff, and Kirbert (left 11 property package for later after considering that I believed that this seller was looking for a number with which to negotiate a partner OUT of the deal, rather than a to actually sell 20 minutes.)
Send county list to VA with instructions to dedupe and remove all transactions that don’t meet x. This did NOT mean that I didn’t have to look at the list at all, but the long boring part was done for me and took 15 minutes instead of 90)
Empty email box—just didn’t do. Made sure all fires were put out, but realized that this was an item that was bothering me rather than actually valuable to me
Go see Raphael & Fairfield—DID, as this was the 2nd most important thing on my list after construct offers on properties I’d already seen (2 hours)
Call John re: possible new buyer—Did while driving to fairfield
Asked Jenn to work with the tech people at REIBB, after looking at this item and thinking, “What?? I’m not even good at this. They are. They can figure it out”. 5 minutes

I met my goal of working 4 hours and still got the actually important stuff done—all because I considered what that was early in the day and stuck to that schedule.

And by the way, we put Iliff under contract and made $6,000 wholesaling it.

If you feel like you’re too busy and not efficient enough, give this a try for 30 days. Not only will you have more time to enjoy yourself, you’ll also find that you can more easily let go of the “to dos” on your list that are someone else’s priority, not terribly likely to be effective uses of your time, or easy to get someone else to do.

1 Comment on “Can’t Get Anything Done? Try Working LESS…

  1. Thanks – very helpful to see the practical application of what I know I should do, but am not sure how to get started actually doing it.

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