4 Proven Ways to Be More Efficient (Not More Busy)

4 Proven Ways to Be More Efficient (Not More Busy)

3 min read
Sterling White

Sterling White is a multifamily investor, specializing in value-add apartments in Indianapolis and other Midwestern markets. With just under a decade of experience in the real estate industry, Sterling was involved with the management of over $10MM in capital, which is deployed across a $18.9MM real estate portfolio made up of multifamily apartments. Through the company he founded, Sonder Investment Group, he owns just under 400 units.

Sterling is a seasoned real estate investor, philanthropist, speaker, host, mentor, and former world record attemptee, who was born and raised in Indianapolis. He is the author of the renowned book From Zero to 400 Units and the host of a phenomenal podcast, which hit the No. 1 spot on The Real Estate Experience Podcast‘s list of best shows in the investing category.

Living and breathing real estate since 2009, Sterling currently owns multiple businesses related to real estate, including Sterling White Enterprises, Sonder Investment Group, and other investment partnerships. Throughout the span of a decade, he has contributed to helping others become successful in the real estate industry. In addition, he has been directly involved with both buying and selling over 100 single family homes.

Sterling’s primary specialities include sales, marketing, crowdfunding, buy and hold investing, investment properties, and many more.

He was featured on the BiggerPockets Podcast episode #308 and has been contributing content to BiggerPockets since 2014, with over 200 posts on topics ranging from single family investing and apartment investing to mindset and scaling a business online. He has been featured on multiple other podcasts, too.

When he isn’t immersed in the real world, Sterling likes reading motivational books, including Maverick Mindset by Doug Hall, As a Man Thinketh by James Allen, and Sell or Be Sold by Grant Cardone.

As a thrill-seeker with an evident fear of heights, he somehow managed to jump off of a 65-foot cliff into deep water without flinching. (Okay, maybe a little bit…) Sterling is also an avid kale-eating traveller, but nothing is more important to him than family. His unusual habit is bird-watching, which he discovered he truly enjoyed during an Ornithology class from his college days.

Sterling attended the University of Indianapolis.

Instagram @sterlingwhiteofficial

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What’s the difference between being efficient and just being busy? Why is this difference so important? And how can you maximize efficiency?

You can be really busy without getting much done. Being efficient not only means being effective and getting results, but getting more done in the time you have. It’s why some people are so successful and achieve so much more with the 24 hours a day they have.

Knowing how to hustle and work hard has its place. But there are many out there working themselves to death, with little enjoyment of life and output.

Classic Examples

You can be working three jobs just to pay your car and student loans and not have much of a life—or cash—at all. You can be going from sun up to way after sundown just to pay the office rent along with business loans and never seem to find any time to spend with your family. You can work 100 hours a week on a new startup, yet make no money.

Then there are others who seem to work a fraction of that. They post pictures of idyllic vacations on Instagram all the time, barely work four days a week, and yet seem to be relaxed and have it all figured out. It’s not that they were born smarter or are simply lucky. They just know how to be efficient with their time when they are working.

Related: Renovating Properties: How to Build Efficient Systems Surrounding Your Big Picture

So, how do we beat busy for the sake of busy and enjoy more of the things we want? Here’s some things I’ve picked up and learned from others.


4 Proven Ways to Be More Efficient (Not More Busy)

1. Delegate.

You can’t do it all alone. It doesn’t matter how smart you are and how much energy you have. You’d never catch Buffett managing his own properties, right? You’re not going to find Elon Musk putting tires on a Tesla on the manufacturing line. And you’re not going to see a top level CEO sweeping the hallways. You’ve got to delegate.

2. Focus your time on high-value tasks.

Where most get bogged down is getting involved in time intensive busy tasks that have low value. You’ve only got 24 hours in a day. Maybe eight to 12 of those hours are work time, and maybe five of those are really productive time. What are you going to do with those hours?

What can you spend those peak hours on that will deliver the best returns?

Is it paperwork, running ads, closing new deals, or strategizing your next growth moves?

You should know how much you want to make each year. Break that down to an hourly rate of the number of hours you plan to work. Refuse to spend your time on any tasks you can delegate out for less. You simply can’t afford not to do this. Cutting grass at your rental property may save you 20 bucks, but those two or three hours could have been spent marketing to find more deals

If you don’t know what to be spending your time on today, then determine the one thing you can do right now that will take you the furthest toward your biggest goals. Do that.

3. Avoid the trenches & walking in the clouds.

Planning your big vision and learning the fundamentals has its place. Even the owner of a restaurant has to jump in to wash dishes or serve customers sometimes. There is wisdom in taking days off to think and strategize. Still, spending too much time in the clouds or the trenches is simply going to be a roadblock to getting where you want to go.


Related: 10 Tried & True Habits of Impressively Productive People

4. Work on your strengths, not weaknesses.

We’ve all got strengths. Nurture and work in those sweet spots. Spending too much time trying to master everything and master weak points is only going to slow you down and demoralize you. Marketing is a great example for many small business owners and real estate investors. You could spend the next year being busy trying to learn to master SEO, Facebook ads, and copywriting. That’s a year you could have spent just closing new deals while you employed experts to do the marketing for you. Plus, it’s always changing. The same with bookkeeping and doing your taxes.


Don’t be busy, be efficient. Know when to hustle and when to work smarter. The above items have worked for me, as well as many leaders you may you aspire to be like. Sometimes just an hour or two spent on your most valuable tasks can pay more than juggling three jobs. Find those high value things and ways to do them more efficiently.

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What would you add to this list? What helps you drill down on your most efficient, valuable tasks?

Comment below!