Real Estate Investing Basics

Too Busy to Start Investing? These 3 Steps Will Help You Reevaluate Priorities

Expertise: Business Management, Commercial Real Estate, Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Deal Analysis & Advice, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Personal Development, Real Estate Investing Basics
126 Articles Written

Sometimes we’re so busy that we can’t see that we’re working harder, not smarter. The problem is that being busy can often get in the way of achieving our goals.

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I remember when I purchased my first apartment building, I was spending an inordinate amount of time managing my property manager. I was spending hours PER WEEK dealing with tenant issues, going to court, trying to get final numbers to complete that months' P&L report, and trying to understand why a unit wasn't filled yet.

After a while it dawned on me that I was so busy I wasn’t able to focus on growing the business, which was to raise more money and do more deals.

For some of my students, their full-time job gets in the way. They tell me they want to get started with apartment building investing so that they can achieve financial freedom in 5 years, but then they don't invest the time to actually do anything about it because they're too busy working a 10-hour per day job.

Occasionally we have to evaluate our situation and the direction we’re traveling in and ask ourselves, “Am I headed in the direction I want to be?” The challenge is that we can only ask that kind of question if we slow down occasionally. And we can only do something about the ANSWER to that question if we aren’t too busy.

Being too busy prevents us from reflecting and changing our life.

Here are the 3 steps to make sure you’re not too busy to succeed.

Image by Alan O’Rourke via Creative Commons.

Related: 3 Things Newbies DON’T Need to Complicate Their Startups With (& 4 They Do)

Step #1: Make Time to Slow Down

There’s a reason this is the first step! Because without this first step, there’s no way you can do steps 2 and 3. You must FIRST make time to slow down.

We all have the same time as everybody else: 24 hours in a day. So it’s not a matter of TIME per se; it’s really about setting PRIORITIES.

So if you tell me you want to invest in apartment buildings to achieve financial freedom, but you insist on working 12 hours per day (including your commute), spending 2 hours with your family in the evening, watching 2 hours of TV and sleeping 8 hours and “taking the weekend off” by running from one event to another, then by your actions you are demonstrating what your true priorities in life are.

You must first examine how you spend your time and money, and that will tell you what your true priorities are in life. Then compare them with what you say you want.

Do you need to make some changes?

Maybe you can’t watch 2 hours of TV per night. Maybe you should get up an hour earlier. Maybe you should carve out 2 hours per weekend.

But first, you must make time.

Step #2: Reflect

Once you’ve been able to carve out SOME time to slow down, the next step is to REFLECT.

Here are some questions to ask yourself during this “quiet” time:

How do you like your current life? What do you love? What do you not like so much? How bad is the situation you’re currently in? Is it worth changing?

What do you want? If fear or money were no object, what would want to experience for yourself? Then involve your family: What does your spouse want? Your children?

Dream again. Write them down.

Step #3: Determine What You Need to Do Next

Once you’ve taken some time to reflect on your situation and about what you truly want to experience next, brainstorm how you might get there.

Don’t overwhelm yourself with the 101 impossible things that would need to happen to get there. Just identify the next 3 things you should do to get you closer to your goal.

Related: How to Accomplish Any Overwhelming Task in 3 Easy Steps

Then MAKE THE DECISION that you will commit to this course of action.

Now align your priorities with how you spend your time and money.

Here is what this might mean for you and your family:

  • You might have to watch less TV.
  • You might have to spend less time with your family.
  • You might have to play less golf.
  • You might have to get up an hour earlier in the morning.
  • You might have to work less hours. And if that’s not possible with your current employer, you might have to find another less demanding job that MIGHT pay less.

How Serious Are You?

Changing your habits is always painful—especially if you’re busy. You’ve done what you’ve done for so long that you stop questioning it, and besides, everybody else is doing it too. You’re no one if you’re not busy. We tell ourselves that being busy is good.

It isn’t.

It actually gets in the way of your experiencing the life you really want.

So stop the insanity. Slow down just enough to reflect on your life. Are you getting what you want from life? If not, what needs to change? If you have a family, you’ll need to involve them in this process. Together, examine your priorities and commit to making the necessary changes to how you spend your time and money.

If you’re too busy, it’s going to be tough to change your life. But if you follow these steps to slow down, reflect, and take intentional action, you’ll be able to experience your life to the fullest.

Talk to me. Are you too busy? How is this affecting your life? What do you think you should do about it?

Be sure to leave a comment below!

Michael Blank is a leading authority on apartment building investing in the United States. He’s passionate about helping others become financially free in 3-5 years by investing in apartment buildi...
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    Pawan Kumar
    Replied about 5 years ago
    I found this post very informative for both new and experienced investors. Thanks for sharing this.
    Brian Karlow Rental Property Investor from Algonquin, IL (Chicago suburbs)
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Great article Michael! So true and accurate on many levels…thanks for sharing! Brian
    Don Alberts from Frankfort, Illinois
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Excellent article Michael. Prioritizing and focusing with the time that I have is a must to be successful. And you also pointed it out, what is really important to me for my time. Thanks and have a great day. Don
    Mike DeLeo from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Very relevant article for me at this stage in my career. I am beginning my journey in real estate investing (currently working the 9-5), only researching deals/markets so far, have yet to make my first, and I am constantly prioritizing my time and money – trying to decide how to spend it, who to spend it with, etc. Things like hanging out less with family, cutting back on the entertaining things with friends are two big ones that I have trouble with, mentioned in this article. Everyone likes doing fun stuff with the people they care about, but no one is going to make this real estate dream come into reality if I don’t do it myself. It’s all fun and exciting in the end because everything I do has an impact on by ability to attain my first property, and lift me off into my REI career. Another important decision that’s been on my mind is staying at my current job, with the plan in mind that I eventually will break free from any 9-5 job I will get.. Do I do something that I at least really enjoy doing (which I don’t love my current job) or do I stay at my current place and see it as a way to finance my “REI lift-off” (since it’s a decent income for now)..? Just stuff to think about as I am gaining financial independence with the goal in mind to eventually achieve financial freedom.
    Antonio Cordeiro Investor from Beaconsfield, Montréal
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Michael, Very well positioned. You have to unload before you can reload. I have to re-evaluate my thinking and activities. Antonio
    James Green Wholesaler from Waldorf, Maryland
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Very good article. Sometimes the business of life, can get in the way of the business of designing your life!
    Mark Bommarito from Lakewood, California
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Michael, Very good article and very true. This is where i am at right now and am trying how figure out how to start. It’s hard to find a starting point when i am working in a 12hr/day job that is not my passion and have a young family that I enjoy spending time with on weekends. In Los Angeles where I’m at it’s so expensive and competitive it seems difficult to start. I am at the stage where i’m trying to evaluate the right path for me.
    Andrew Syrios Residential Real Estate Investor from Kansas City, MO
    Replied about 5 years ago
    I like to get the distractions as far away from me as possible. So I don’t even own a TV and am the better for it!
    Jonna Weber Real Estate Agent from Boise, ID
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Thanks for sharing. Many people that tend to use the “I’m too busy” excuse still seem to stay up to date with many tv shows every week. Trade just 2 hours per week of tv for reading/learning, and things might just start changing.
    David White from Edgewood, Maryland
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Thank you for sharing. I was constantly working and not getting anywhere. And when I would come home I would binge watch Game of Thrones lol. But I took the last couple of weekends off to really just sit back and enjoy life. I needed a break. And within my break I reflected on where I came from, where I’m at, and where I want to go. I had to ask myself the hard questions which made me look in the mirror and accept all blame and responsibility for the decisions I’ve made. Now, I’m writing out and prioritizing my life goals, short and long term. I’m devising a plan of attack to achieve them.
    Luisito Espanola Real Estate Salesman from Las Vegas, Nevada
    Replied about 5 years ago
    Thank you for your time in writing this article. It’s great to know there are people out there who care about others. I’m a newbie in real estate investing. I appreciate you.