Personal Development

The 7 Seemingly Innocent Habits Holding You Back From Success

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What big things do you want to accomplish this year? Are you going to start a new business? Double the revenue in your existing company? Write a best-selling book? Lose 50 pounds?

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Goals are great, and you should definitely have them. But goals can easily be sidetracked when something bigger comes into the picture: habits.

Now, of course there are plenty of good habits that an entrepreneur should have . . . but what about the bad ones? We all know some habits are obviously bad, like smoking or excessive drinking. But for entrepreneurs, the distinction between “good” and “bad” habits is often blurry and situational.

Therefore, I want to lay out seven habits that, although seemingly innocent, can actually hurt your chances of achieving your goals this year.

But first…

***Hey, you! Yes, you! If you are reading this post, you’re likely interested in growing your business and building wealth. If so, I want to invite you to this week’s BiggerPockets Webinar, How to Use BiggerPockets to Become a Rockstar Real Estate Investor. We’ll be talking about how to harness all the tools BP has to offer in order to find partners, lenders and sellers, build your reputation as an investor, and much more! Hope you can make it! And now back to the post!***

1. Checking email

How many times a day do you check your email? More than once? That’s probably too much.

Email tends to be the thing people do when they don’t want to do what they should be doing.

I know you think you need to be in your email throughout the day, but chances are, your addiction results in your putting off the one thing in your life you really should be focused on right now. So, make an effort to reduce the amount of times you check your email.

Related: 10 Seemingly Harmless Habits That Sabotage Ambitious Millennials

Set up smart “filtering” criteria, unsubscribe from email newsletters you no longer need to read (I just unsubscribed from over 1,000 newsletters, using, and get people used to your responding just once a day.


2. Logging onto Social media

Let’s be honest: We all spend way too much time on social media.

Whether your social media habit leads to your sitting “in the john” a bit too long, or to a quick status update that turns into 35 minutes of mindless scrolling through your newsfeed, this habit can quickly take over the limited time you have to be productive.

So, do yourself a favor and limit the time you spend on social media.

For me, Facebook is my “go-to time-waster.” That’s why I installed theFacebook Newsfeed Eradicator, which essentially shuts off the Facebook newsfeed on my laptop. This alone has saved me several hours per week.

3. Procrastinating

Yes, procrastination is a habit. It’s often much easier to say “tomorrow” than “now.” But the things we procrastinate about are often the very things that most need to be done now.

So, instead, make it a habit to “time-block” your most important things to ensure they get done on schedule today, not tomorrow. For more on-time blocking ideas, don’t miss “This Productivity Hack Completely Changed My Life, and It Can Improve Yours.”

4. Multitasking

Yesterday I saw a CEO post an ad for an assistant, and “ability to multitask” was the number one quality he listed. What that CEO didn’t realize, though, was that he was looking for someone ineffective simply because multitasking simply doesn’t work!

Instead of accomplishing the most important thing right, a multitasker accomplishes dozens of things poorly. Sure, it feels good to check things off a list, but the quality suffers, the more things you add.

Unless you are talking about chewing gum while walking, stick to one thing at a time and forget the habit of multitasking.

5. Reading irrelevant blog posts

With an estimated 2 million blog posts being written every single day, it’s no wonder that people get sucked into the habit of reading blog posts that are completely irrelevant to the task at hand.

Just today, I started reading a post about becoming a real estate agent, and before I knew it, realized I was reading about traveling the world for under $1,000. Great content, but irrelevant to the topic I needed to learn more about at that moment!

Instead of reading posts because they are interesting, read posts because they are important for what you are trying to accomplish. Don’t get sucked in by a sneaky headline (i.e., “you’ll never believe #7!”). Instead, set aside time in your day for leisure reading.

Use the Pocket app to bookmark things you want to come back to at a later time, and focus on moving your business forward.


6. Netflix and other ‘screen time’

Ooooh . . . you knew I had to talk about this. Netflix, along with all other forms of movie and television consumption, consumes a huge part of our life.

And, understand that I’m not saying watching TV is bad. It’s great for relaxing, but it can easily become a habit that will kick your goal can down the road, perpetually.

Related: 5 Habits of Highly Miserable New Real Estate Investors (& How to Kick Them!)

So, set a limit on how much “screen time” you allow yourself each week, and stick to it. Get an accountability group or partner to help hold you to your goal. Then, use your extra time to work on your most important task.

7. Micromanaging

If you rely on other people to help you grow your business, you’ve probably been guilty of micromanaging more than once.

But, here’s the truth: When you hire the right people, and trust them to get the task done, amazing things happen without your involvement.

True, they may not get the task done the exact same way you would have, but chances are, they will still get done! So, stop spending all your time micromanaging how other people do tasks. Instead, judge the task (and the employee) by the outcome.

This will free up hours of time in your day to grow your business.

Oh, ‘those’ habits

Our lives are almost completely made up of “habits” that control what we do, when we do it and how it’s done. Those habits can be used for good or used to derail your plans.

It’s up to you to decide which way you want to go.

So, make it your mission this week to kill some of your deadly habits and replace them with habits that will help you accomplish your biggest goals. Then, watch your life be transformed!

[This post originally appeared on]

What do YOU think — are any of these habits holding you back? Anything you’d add to this list?

Let’s talk in the comments section!

Brandon Turner is an active real estate investor, entrepreneur, writer, and co-host of the BiggerPockets Podcast. He is a nationally recognized leader in the real estate education space and has tau...
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    Replied over 4 years ago
    Procrastinating is a big one for me. I’ve made some gains, but really still need to work at it.
    Imani Bell Investor from Chicago, Illinois
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Email checking is a big one for me. I find myself overwhelm with email. However, I should be making calls. I will block out specific times to go into email. Thanks
    Jonathan Bonck Investor from Houston, Texas
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Great stuff thanks Brandon. I completely agree about email. I try not to go straight to it in the morning. I prefer to work on things and then right before lunch I will open my email and empty it prior to eating.
    Account Closed Investor from Camp Springs, Maryland
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I understand the whole ‘checking emails too much’ concept from 4 Hour Workweek, however for me it just seems easier to occasionally check my emails, delete things that don’t matter and quickly respond to things that need my attention (I do love a clean inbox). If I let emails pile up and only check them once in the morning or at night, I feel like I’ll spend more time staring into the depths of my multiple inboxes. But I do love the filtering suggestion!
    Lee Northrop Investor from Stockport, Greater Manchester
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Watching the news! ! I’ve not watched the news on tv or or through Facebook (also avoiding) for over 2 weeks now and feel much calmer. I used to put the news on every evening after work and flick through Facebook reading other people’s opinions which in reality don’t matter at all I don’t get angry anymore over stories that also don’t really affect me. Anyway just sharing this with you all as it’s another BAD Habit
    Toi H. Real Estate Agent from Los Angeles, CA
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Great article! I can totally relate to 3-Procrastinating and 4-Multitasking; but 5-Reading irrelevant blogs has happened to me numerous times as well. However, I have made improvement by setting timelines for my goals and daily tasks.
    Wave Taylor from Baltimore, MD
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Procrastination is a killer. Cant seem to get past it.
    Replied over 4 years ago
    I’ve found that I often waste a lot of time trying to solve problems that are difficult to figure out. Often times it helps to either look into something different (perhaps forums or other educational materials) or to ask someone knowledgeable in the field (after doing the proper research).
    Casey Cotter Investor from Columbia Falls, Montana
    Replied over 4 years ago
    Hi my name is Casey, and I am a TV-aholic. Lol but seriously when that box with those flashy lights come on I go into zombie mode. I tried setting time limits or only watching on certain nights a week. I would adhere to my rules for a couple weeks and then fall right back into my old habits. Since I couldn’t control it, I got rid of it. That soul suckling screen has been in the garage collecting dust for a year now and I don’t miss it even a little bit. I love having more time to spend with my family and read. It isn’t for everybody, but it changed my life.