Why Following a Purposeful Schedule is VITAL to Happiness & Productivity


Yesterday, I rolled into the local CrossFit gym about 12:13 p.m. — for the 12:00 p.m. class. I was late, but anxious like an addict needing a hit, ready to get my workout in. I am, after all, one of those CrossFit junkies. I need my workout.

I had just left one of our projects that is underway, behind but getting back on track. A $25-30k rehab on a story and a half house that will have new interior and exterior paint, updated bathrooms, brand new hardwood floors, updated kitchen, new appliances — and because of whoever decided to winterize the house (poorly), all new water lines since the entire line must have frozen and has now failed.

Awesome. (Not.) 🙂

So, between my main contractor on that job, one of his subs, and now my master plumber — and a couple weeks of working, adjusting, patching and finally solving the problem with eventually running all completely new water lines in the ENTIRE house — I was there at the house longer than I wanted to be. But that didn’t keep me from getting out of there and driving directly to the gym. I quickly put on my gym closes, did the warm up of 40-50 pushups and kettle-bell swings, and then the 20 minutes of rowing and burpees. Ouch.

What’s the point?

We own our own business. We do what we want to, when we want to. (Usually.)

I left the gym, showered, grabbed some lunch and went to another property we were looking at making an offer on. I got a call from one of my wholesalers on a deal we were working on. He is someone I work with a lot, and I mentioned how I’d left the gym a few hours prior and was looking at another house.

Related: 9 Tips for Working More Productively in Real Estate While Holding Down a 9-5

Now, he is super successful, sells lots of properties, does lots of deals — and he says,

“I am jealous. I don’t have time to get to the gym.”

This is a guy selling piles of wholesale deals, a big time flipper who has a good sized rental portfolio. Isn’t the whole point of being your own boss doing what you want?

In this case, I just let him know I am almost always found at the gym over my lunch hour. I have to. I need it. I am a total mess if I don’t. Over the course of a week, doing deals, working, keeping up with my two young children, spending quality time with my wife, having multiple projects under renovation simultaneously, managing our rental business and our management company, and of course actually finding new business, I HAVE to take time to allow my brain to be off, and to keep my mind/body/soul in a reasonable balance.

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My Mentor

I spend a good amount of time thinking through how to do everything as optimally, as efficiently, and by using my time the best way possible. I wanted to hear what my mentor’s day was like.

We exchanged lots of small talk, going over how the families were and what was new on the horizon for both of us. I then asked him, out of curiosity, what does his typical day look like? He said he begins at 5:30 a.m. and gets together with some reading of a spiritual nature and then catches a little breakfast and coffee, watches a bit of news, and gets on with his day at the office by 7:30 or 8 a.m. He works leads and profit generating business through the morning, spending about 30% of his time on lead generation. Like me, he likes to go to the gym around lunch time and then off to more business, deals and appointments in the afternoon.

This really caught my attention. Not only is he a friend and mentor, he runs a LARGE real estate investing business that does really cool commercial deals, a huge construction company, and has a large number of employees. And he took an hour or two out of his (very scheduled and purposeful) day to meet with me. Not to mention, his day was set up pretty similar to how I want my own to go.

It doesn’t matter what the plan is, it matters that you HAVE a plan.

My Time

I left there fired up, thinking about where my time is spent. Finding deals, growing your potential buyers, or finding quality guys for construction or various trades: Whatever it is, there are many important things for us to do with our time.

I encourage you today to do something I am also doing, looking at, thinking about and honing.

Write out your perfect day. What does it look like?

Mine is something like this:

6:30 – 7:00 a.m.: Wake up/coffee

7:00 – 7:30 a.m.: Read/relax/listen to music/maybe a little yoga for flexibility and focus

8:00 a.m.: Spend time with my wife and kids for a few, breakfast

9:00 a.m.: Deals, following up with leads, generating business

10:30 – 11:30 a.m.: Follow up with emails/fires/phone calls

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.: Gym

1:00 – 1:30 p.m.: Lunch

2:00 – 4:30 p.m.: More deal generation/looking at deals/writing offers

4:30 – 5:30 p.m.: Any follow up calls/emails, etc.

6:00 p.m.: Family time, kids, BBQ, tasty beer, whatever

I am sure there are tweaks here and there, but something like that. And some days, it looks a lot like that. Some days are a giant mess. I might spend most of my day on the phone or messing with tenant issues or maintenance requests.

But I know in order to grow my business, I have to keep myself on a schedule and be willing to do what is necessary to produce the life/deals/goals that I have set out for myself. Think for a second about when your days go as planned — or at least in the flow as you expect them. And think of the days that don’t go as expected, the days where you feel that you haven’t gotten accomplished what you wanted to. It’s amazing to me how much better I feel at the end of the day when the things I had set out to accomplish, were. So, am I setting myself up for success with the number of items on my to do? And am I executing what I should be?

Related: 5 Steps to Banish Negative Influences (to Become Happier & More Productive!)

Make sure you are setting yourself up to accomplish exactly what your goals are. And that the time you are spending on whatever — the gym, deal generation, family time — is in line and leading to exactly what your goals actually are.

So, here’s to getting to the gym. And here’s to being as healthy, happy and successful as possible by laying out your day, creating the life you want, and getting it done.

Investors: What does YOUR ideal day look like? Any tips for sticking to how things SHOULD go?

Leave a comment below!

About Author

Nathan Brooks

Nathan Brooks is a dad, husband, worship leader, and real estate investor in the Kansas City market. Foodie. Coffee addict. Crossfit junkie.


  1. Yasmine Bisumber

    This is great, helps others put things into perspective. It is super important to follow a set guide you give yourself. Even if it alters slightly along the way the path is clearer that way. Kind of funny, I just added working out to my schedule on top of EVERYTHING else but I needed to do it for me, so far so good.

  2. Another home-run post, Nathan. I tend to start out with the best of intentions scheduling my day but I seem to keep slipping as things come up and next thing I know I’m completely off my schedule and am just reacting to what comes up during the day. I’d be interested in hearing ideas on how to keep to the schedule when so many distractions come up.

  3. David Dalton

    Great post Nathan! Thanks! The rest/work pendulum is a powerful (and sort of mysterious) thing. I find that the further I can swing the pendulum into the “rest” side, the further it gets into the work. In other words, in order to be a productive worker, you have to be great at “resting”. Wether you find rest at the gym, on the lake, with your family, or an afternoon nap, haha. The weeks I can be disciplined in resting and energizing myself, are the ones where I find myself most productive!
    Thanks for the reminder and encouragement!

  4. I agree that having a schedule is very important. I’m currently working on an app that helps you to keep track of how often your schedule is accurate. I guess it might not seem like a big deal, but if you find that you’re starting to fall behind at work, you might be always getting to the gym but missing afternoon meetings or something like that. Anyway, great post and I agree, having good intentions makes all the difference.

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