Time Suckers and Energy Vampires

by | BiggerPockets.com

There are so many possible detractors that can derail you from achieving success as you start a new (or grow an existing) real estate business….two such detractors are time suckers and energy vampires. I slayed my energy vampires very early on in my adult life, but frankly I’m still battling with a couple remaining time suckers even though I hate to admit it.  Perhaps this article will be a great reminder to both you and me!

Time suckers:

Thomas Edison once said “Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”

You see, time suckers can be highly deceptive. You think that you are making productive use of your time towards your real estate business, but in reality you’re not doing anything to push the ball forward. At the end of the day you look back, baffled, thinking to yourself “Where did the time go? I didn’t really accomplish anything on my list today!”  Time suckers can be things like: spending too much time responding to e-mails, having long conversations with people who call you unexpectedly, sitting through pointless meetings, getting caught up in heated online forum discussions, reading way too many blogs in one day.

Sometimes the time suckers are not deceptive at all — they are simply addicting, like television (for some) and social media websites (for others like me)!

Energy vampires

Energy vampires are some of the absolute worst type of people to surround yourself with.  These are people who suck all of the positive energy out of you and leave you feeling completely drained and unable to carry out the goals you’ve set. Energy vampires constantly blame others for their circumstances, complain about life (or family or business or everything), and are rather self-centered with little regard for others time or feelings.  While some energy vampires may have ill intentions, many are completely oblivious of their persistent negative attitude and its effects on others around them.

So how do you slay the energy vampires and wipe out the time suckers?  Here’s a few tips, many of which are obvious but still ignored:

  • Take inventory:   First you need to know what your time suckers are and who your energy vampires. Really think about them and write them down.  At the end of a day, write down everything that you did during that day.  It can be eye opening!  Then think about who in your life leaves you feeling exhausted when you around him or her.
  • Get on schedule: Set a specific time (or times) during the day to handle phone calls and emails and stick with the schedule as much as possible.
  • Space it out: You can learn a lot from blogs and online forums, but you don’t have to read everything at once. Space it out — take a few at a time each day!
  • Just say no:  If the call is unexpected, let it go to voicemail.  If the forum discussion is getting heated, don’t jump in (or if you do, resist the urge to go back and forth). If the offer for free real estate training is on a topic that is not directly related to what you’re doing right now or within the plans for the next 3 months, don’t opt in! If you’re invited to a meeting with no agenda (and can’t get one), skip it!
  • Be intentional: Interact with social media sites with the intention to connect with people (but briefly). Forget the Facebook games or the temptation to watch the list of related videos on YouTube
  • Put vampires in a box: If energy vampires leave you feeling wiped out, take responsibility for this because its your fault and you have the power to change it!  End conversations with energy vampires quickly and do not join the vampire’s pity party or complaint circus. Remember that energy vampires can also surround you virtually so if you’re reading your facebook newstream or twitter stream and someone consistently sounds like a negative Nelly or leaves you feeling irritated, remove them.

Hopefully these tips have you thinking about what your detractors are. The sooner you begin to remove them, the sooner success arrives.

What are some of the things you’ve personally done to wipe out your time suckers and slay your energy vampires?

About Author

Shae Bynes is a real estate investor in Sunny South Florida. On her blog, GoodFaithInvesting.com, she provides helpful tips and an inside look at her real estate investing adventures -- obstacles, failures, & successes!


  1. Awesome article Shae!! You already know my secret to managing time suckers … a kitchen timer!! When I get on Twitter, Facebook, Stumbleupon or just my RSS Feed I set the timer… when the buzzer goes off I stop. It also works as a great way to get a ton of things done … because when you tell yourself you only have 45 minutes to finish something and the timer is counting down your time it’s amazing how focused and intense you can get. And then it’s also amazing just how many things you can get done in a day!!

  2. Hi Shae!

    To add to Julie’s point, the ‘kitchen timer’ or timer in general really works.
    I need to get better at it, but I had been using a timer (and was timing) my blog posts. I would give myself say, 30 minutes, or 45 minutes to completely finish the article.

    Like you, I got rid of my ‘negative Nellys’ some time ago.

    To get rid of the energy vampires, I just don’t say much back to them if they ask me a question or try to engage in conversation. Eventually they get the hint, and can tell that my unenthusiastic attitude towards them means that I don’t really want to talk to them!

    .-= Neil Uttamsingh´s last blog ..Business Life Story Part Six =-.

  3. Nice article, Shae! Time management is really important especially in this business. You’re right, it is really easy to get sucked in with those “time suckers” and “energy vampires.” (Great names to describe them!)

    I struggled with this when I first started out. I spent a lot of time with unnecessary phone calls, meetings, etc. It really drained the life out of me. I learned to be more effective with my time the hard way.

    It’s funny how technology can backfire on us sometimes. With the Internet and information so easily available, it’s very easy to get distracted with those “time suckers.” And, even worse “energy vampires” who find you through the Internet. Been there, done that.

    Great topic, thanks for sharing!

  4. Shae, this was a great read. Time management is something I think everyone has a hard time with when being self-employed, it’s just plain hard being disciplined everyday. The rules you outlined above will definitely help get a handle on things, and put you back in control (now to implement)…

    Visit Liz Voss’s last blog at San Antonio Homes.

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