We can all agree that killing productivity is not usually the goal. However, many are doing just that—without realizing it. In this world of go, go, go, we are easily sidetracked, and we find ourselves very busy yet not necessarily making any progress. After all, “working hard” and “working smart” are not always the same. To take this a step further, “working smart” does not look the same for everyone. However, if you find you are spinning your wheels more than you are moving forward, take a look at these four common actions that may be to blame.
Working Without Breaks
Investors tend to approach their day with the “I’m not leaving this desk until the next deal is done” attitude. Great in theory, but not in practice. Extended periods of intense work can have negative effects on your productivity, including burnout. Instead, break large tasks into smaller goals, and take a quick break after you meet each goal. Working for 45-minute stretches (give or take) instead of for hours on end will ultimately allow you to clear your mind, grab an occasional snack or meal, and stay energized to meet your goals.
Social Media Distractions
Though it may feel like staying plugged into our social media accounts is a necessary part of our jobs, the constant alerts and updates just drain our time and energy. You will better meet your goals without distraction. Emails, Facebook, and others tend to be digital “rabbit holes,” with one “quick check” turning into more emails, more texts, more updates. Instead of that constant connection, work social media into your 10-minute breaks between chunks of productive “unplugged” time. If this does not quite work, use one of your 45-minute sessions on social media, and then unplug for a while. The important thing is to find the balance that works for you.
Finishing up “Later”
Don’t be fooled: if you start a project or task, you need to see it through. This is not the time for procrastination. If you have something you can wrap up today, do it. Property investing is full of long-term tasks, but you will find you have plenty you can do today, too. Once you start pushing off tasks, it gets easier and easier to keep pushing them off. Out of sight, out of mind. Working smart means not avoiding the things that are within your power to address today.
People love to claim they are master multitaskers. It’s a badge of honor. “Look how much I can do at once!” Unfortunately, people generally are terrible multitaskers. It is easy to have five tasks partially started. It’s very difficult to complete five tasks well and at the same time. Put your focus on one task and see it through to the end. Of course there will be times when you have multiple pulls on your attention. Investing is a complicated process, and not all tasks can be finished quickly. But when you are working on Issue A, work on Issue A. Don’t also attempt to advance the ball in Issues B and C if they can wait a moment. Your productivity will improve with some focus.
Property investing is competitive, and all good investors are willing to work hard. To get ahead of the competition, you must find ways to get more out of your day. By making small changes to your daily routine, you will see positive impacts on your overall productivity.
For me its an addiction to BP.. although we get a lot of good out of this addiction.. better than other stimulants.
@Rick Howell The "Working Without Breaks" thing is something that's been a struggle of mine for a while. Sometimes, it seems as if intentionally creating these start-stops kills the momentum (or perceived momentum) of a project, though I agree that extended periods of intense work has the potential to lead to burnout. As you mentioned, the issue is more about learning how to identify good stopping points (i.e., smaller goals) within a project rather than trying to figure out how to rebuild momentum each time!
Have you read the book "The One Thing?" by Gary Keller?
@Rick Howell Funny you should mention that book - I literally ordered it this past Monday and can't wait to get into it!
Im guilty of all of these things, but I have corrected a lot of it over the years. One of the best things I did was delete facebook, I rarely used it, but always found myself looking at the feed. Nothing productive going on there.
I went a good 9 months without taking "breaks", everything I did was a top priority and it HAD to get done as soon as possible. But I found that a lot of my energy I put into those tasks was wasted, probably could have spent half the amount of time and got two times the amount done if I had just organized, slowed down, and utilized my time better for certain projects. Some nights id waste 3 hours running around looking for certain tools I need or materials, and id be left with an hour to spare at midnight to work. I could have just made a list of what I needed for the following day, sat down and taken those few hours to relax and let my body rest.
As far as the "finishing up later", I think most people are guilty of doing this. Ive been told im a great starter, but terrible finisher. Not the thing I like to hear, but its true. Im very good at a lot of things, but I get bored easily and want to move onto the next thing. For example, I have a rental im fixing up now, but my own bedroom at home doesn't have a finished closet yet. This is something I have to really work at daily.
BUT the good news is with awareness we have the ability to change!
TIME BLOCKING is the key!!!
Awesome Travis!! Our entire team has had great results implementing these practices!!
Great tips @Rick Howell , I absolutely agree! I try to time block everything now.
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