I heard this explained recently on Internet Business Mastery’s podcast – as well as saw it on LifeHacker.com and felt compelled to share it with BiggerPockets readers.
Jerry Seinfeld, actor and comedian, gave the following method when asked by an aspiring comedian how he became successful:
Seinfeld said that the key to being a great comedian was creating a lot of quality jokes, which obviously takes a lot of writing. (It takes a great deal of work to be successful in any field and real estate investing is no exception.)
His goal was to write more both in terms of quality and quantity consistently. This sounds like an abstract and unmeasurable goal at first, but he strived to do this on a daily basis to force himself into this habit.
He had a large printable calendar that he would keep at his desk and for each day that he wrote, he crossed off that day. Over time, he had a large chain of X’s across his calendar and the goal was to not “break the streak” of X’s across his calendar.
The idea is that small consistent action will propel you closer and closer to your goal and can be more effective than a large amount of action every once in a while. In other words, keep working on your goal daily, even if it’s only for a few minutes on your busier days. Everybody is going to have a different minimum to what is needed to put a big X on that day.
If you take off two days a week from growing your real estate investing business, that’s over 100 days or 3.5 months a year that you can’t have back.
Especially when you are starting out, it can feel like you are in a major uphill battle (see my post on The Flywheel Effect) and this daily action is almost necessary in keeping you motivated and focused on your goals.
How I Have Used It
I had never heard of this method until recently, but for some reason, I always felt compelled to work daily on my real estate business, especially in the beginning. I always wanted to go bed knowing that the business had progressed a little further that day and that I was a little closer to reaching my goals.
Some days I would get home late from my job and didn’t feel like working on my business so instead I might read a BiggerPockets article from an expert or even a success story to keep me inspired. (The success stories are great sources of inspiration when you have had a rough day and/or are just starting out.)
Nearly every morning while I am getting ready for work, I pull out my phone and check out the new Craigslist listings. There’s a great Craigslist app for your smart phone (cPro Craigslist by Escargot Studios) that keeps track of all new listings that match your saved keywords. It’s great for filtering and helps you speed through Craigslist (typically takes me two minutes each day).
Don’t get me wrong – taking massive action is where you are going to see the results you want and unless you are riding somebody’s coattails, nobody is going to build this business for you. However, there are going to be days where you won’t want to do anything or simply don’t have the time, but by doing small tasks and/or increasing your knowledge, thereby keeping the “streak” alive, you will be glad you did.
Have you tried using Seinfeld’s productivity trick? Or do you have another method that works for you? Share your thoughts below!