The dream of every newbie real estate investor is getting out of the rat race and getting their time back. Getting your time back is a great thing, trust me, but it is also one of the biggest challenges. Once you have your time back, you have to manage it. How will you do that? It can be very easy to get side tracked now that you do not have a boss looking over your shoulder every minute. And getting lost in the day-to-day details is not hard to do either. Poor time management is a killer, and you can easily lose what you have worked so hard to achieve.
Sure, once you do manage to get out on your own, you can celebrate a little, take a nice vacation perhaps or just sleep in a bit. Eventually, though, you will have to get yourself on track and manage your newfound time. What should you do? Here are some suggestions that have worked for me over the years.
First, you should develop some long term business goals if you have not already done so. Use these goals as a general guide for your newfound time. Be sure that you are regularly scheduling activities that are advancing you toward your goals.
I then suggest you take a little time at the beginning of each week and quietly plan out the week ahead. What needs to be done each day that week? Are there any deadlines or issues that need immediate attention? What are some regularly scheduled activities? What are you doing to improve/grow your business? I’ll get into these a bit more down below, but let me say here that it does not matter if you use a fancy spreadsheet, an app, or just plain old notebook paper for this task; all that matters is that it is done.
One thing I have learned over the years is that the best laid plans can quickly get turned upside down. So it is best to build a bit of flexibility into your plan, as things always seem to pop up.
By outlining some goals and making a weekly schedule, you will be way ahead of most other folks as far as time management goes. Of course, everyone’s plan will be different based on their own personal, goals, needs and wants. But there are a few items that I think everyone should be spending some time on each and every week if not each and every day.
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7 Activities Every Real Estate Investor Should Add to Their Weekly Schedule
Time to Think About Your Business
Do this at least once a week. Spend a quiet, undisturbed hour or so where you do nothing but think about your business. What is going on in it? What needs to be changed? How? How can it grow or adapt?
Time For Marketing
How are you bringing in business? How are you finding new deals? Marketing is the way to go. How much and what types you do is up to you. Just be sure and do it.
Time Searching For Deals
The MLS and Craigslist change every day, sometimes more than once a day. Budget some of your time accordingly.
Time to Meet With Your Spouse/Partner
If your spouse is also your business partner, plan a specific time to talk about your business with them. Don’t do it at the dinner table.
Time to Get Together With Other Investors
One of the worst things about being out on your own is that you often do not have anyone to commiserate with. No longer do you get to hang around the water cooler with your work buds and talk shop. And talking shop is important. New ideas can spring up, and it is a form of therapy. Join a local real estate club or form an investor lunch group if you can. You will find that talking to other investors in the same business will be one of the best things you can do.
Time to Read
Plan on spending some quiet time reading. Read real estate websites and blogs. Read business journals and trade magazines. Read business books. Reading about your business keeps you informed, provides new insights and can even recharge your batteries.
Time to Relax
Don’t fill up your entire schedule with business items. Remember that you got out of the rat race to get your time back and to enjoy it. Sure, real estate investing is fun and enjoyable, but that is not all there is. Take some time out to spend on yourself. Go to a matinee movie just because you can. Take a walk in the park. Have a long lunch. Travel. Pick up a new hobby. Just have nothing planned. Use your time wisely, but enjoy life as well.
Finally, all of these items matter, but two of the most important things to remember with any time management plan is to be flexible and to go after the deal. I know that you wanted to accomplish x, y and z today, but when a deal presents itself, you need to drop everything else and go after it. Don’t worry about fixing the sink. Don’t worry about that tenant. Skip the matinee movie. Getting the deal is often the most important thing we investors do. So go after the potential deal and payday when it pops up, because someone else surly is. Don’t put yourself in a position to look back full of regret.
Remember that your time is your most valuable asset. A great goal is to get it back. But once you get it back, it must be used wisely or it could disappear. The tips outlined above should help you do just that.
So, how do you manage your time? What activities are on your schedule every single week?
Please share with your comments.