In past articles, we've shared some of our innermost beliefs on "getting more done."
And to many people's surprise, it has little to do with "time management" and more to do with your values and priorities and then organizing the action items from those into a very strange "to do" list.
But of course, there are some very practical "day-to-day" strategies that you can use to maximize your time.
As real estate investors, you should be looking to maximize not only the profit per property but your results per dedicated working hour.
This article is an attempt to help increase your results from your working hours.
Our all-time favourite book on this topic, by a mile, is Dan Kennedy's, Time Management for Entrepreneurs.
It's the most practical guide we've ever read. Much better, in our opinion, than Getting Things Done by David Allen and much more applicable to what you're doing today than Timothy Ferriss' Four Hour Work Week.
Although both those books are high on our favourite list they don't come close to the immediate results you achieve by implementing what Kennedy shares.
There's one chapter in the book with a list of ten Management Techniques that we'll share and summarize for you here:
Technique One: Tame The Phone.
There's a difference between taking important phone calls when you need to and answering just any call. Let people leave messages and call them back at your convenience. Sounds a tad harsh? Good, you need the medicine! Think you have a job or role that doesn't allow this. Hogwash, we're in real estate... where the phone is how properties are purchased and we still managed to steer unnecessary calls to voicemail regularly.
Technique Two: Minimize Meetings.
When I was in Software meetings where people went to do nothing for an hour and rip apart people's ideas. Stay out of them. Today we're still guilty of wasting time in our one weekly meeting but we're conscious of it and are always trying to improve.
Technique Three: Practice Absolute Punctuality
I forget how Kennedy describes this technique but to us, it represents the discipline that spills over to all other areas of your life. Discipline is attractive. Never thought of it that way, good, now you will. Every single high achiever we have ever met is highly disciplined. They all have their vices and if you're not really observant you may miss the fact that when it comes to earning money they have developed very disciplined habits.
Technique Four: Make And Use Lists
You know our thoughts on this if you've been around for a while. Lists are everything. Period. We use paper-based lists. Electronic calendars and Blackberry calendars are never as effective for us. Here's everything you need: paper, pen, index cards, and weekly calendar.
Technique Five: Fight To Link Everything To Your Goals
This is a big productivity secret in our eyes. More people don't have what they want because their reasons aren't strong enough. We're reading a book right now where a father is worked like mad from 18 to 35 to create financial freedom for his family. And he did it. Why did he accomplish what so many others don't? His own father died at 35 leaving him and his siblings broke and on the streets. What's your reason? Out of all the techniques, this is probably the hardest one to do every day....but the most powerful.
Technique Six: Tickle the Memory with Tickler Files
OK, we'll even admit that this one sounds very 1960's but the point is this. You're going to forget stuff. I regularly forget my own wedding anniversary and wife's birthday. I realize how bad this is and now write little reminders in my calendar a full 30 days before each of them. Even if you're better at that than us ... there's something you can be reminding yourself about that you're not. What is it?
Technique Seven: Block Your Time
Wow, one of our favourties and this is another one of those secret strategies of high achievers. Think of the wealthiest or most balanced people you know? Both block out times in the day for certain activities ... be it developing a proposal for commercial property or taking time out for Yoga. How do you get more effective at this? Make appointments with yourself in your calendar for certain things and then honour it as a normal appointment with someone else.
Technique Eight: Minimize Unplanned Activity
Most people around you "show up" in the morning and then react to whatever is going on. Just look around your office. Have a plan and then execute it. One of our favourite Jim Rohn quotes sums this one up:
Technique Nine: Profit from "Odd Lot" Time
This is one of our own personal favourites. Stuck in traffic? Pull out CD's or instructional MP3 on real estate investing, nutrition, fitness, whatever. Over the years we've likely learned more in our cars than we did in four years of University.
Technique Ten: Live Off Peak
I used to drive a friend nuts. We sometimes carpooled along Hwy 403 from Oakville towards Toronto. Heavy traffic every day. The opposite direction had no traffic. I used to joke with him that all the money was made going the other way. At the time I meant it because most of our properties at the time were in Hamilton, Ontario ... literally, they were the other way...but I also meant what I was saying in some metaphorical type of way. It used to drive me nuts that I sat in traffic. Can you leave earlier or later and skip it? Can you avoid the bank on the 15th and 30th? Can you avoid checking out of a hotel at 8 am and or checking in at 4 pm? Sounds silly but these little tweaks save you a lot of time.
And there you have it. Some practical stuff you can implement today. For more detail definitely check out Kennedy's book, it's a great addition to your library.
Until next time ... Your Life! Your Terms!