To be a successful real estate investor, one must wear many hats. You need to be an effective marketer, a skilled negotiator, a shrewd businessperson, and a wiz at customer (read: tenant) service. But here's something you may not know: you're not getting anywhere near the bang for your buck with these skill sets if you don't wear one other hat. "And which hat is that?" you ask?
Effective Time Manager
Your expertise in all the areas that make you a potential superstar investor is being squandered if you are constantly distracted, scrambling, and/or otherwise inefficient. If you are one of those people who occasionally say to yourself, "Well, I was super-busy today, but I just don't seem to have gotten a lot done," then pay attention. This post could save you a whole lot of time, money, and stress. With some studious applications of these tips for effective time management, you'll be well on your way to reaching a whole new level of success in your real estate investing career.
1. Know Your Golden Hours
Some people prefer typical office hours. They rise at 6:30 a.m., have their morning coffee, get ready for work, put in a full day, and are done at 5 p.m. Others are night owls and don't hit their stride until well after most people are denizens of dreamland. One of the most attractive perks of working for yourself is that you have a greater say in when you put in the work. There is freedom in this flexibility, but it's important to recognize when your productivity "sweet spot" is on the clock. There can be a significant difference between the quality and quantity of work you can accomplish when you're attentive and motivated and what you can get done when you're tired and distracted.
Did you get into real estate investing to answer phones? To be tethered to a desk doing paperwork? Probably not. Yet if you're not careful, you will find yourself bogged down with tasks that keep you from using your time as wisely and efficiently as possible. It's important to understand that this is not a matter of ego. It's not that you're "too good" to do these things or above them; it's that they're simply not the best use of your time. Ask yourself if the task that is occupying you has to be done by you or if it would better be delegated to another. Depending on the task, that "another" may be an assistant, a property manager, or --as is increasingly the case--automated software like Constant Contact (http://www.constantcontact.com/index.jsp) or Su.pr (su.pr). Taking a little time to assess what tasks can be handed off and spending a little money to make it happen can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
3. Protect Your Time
We've all been there: You have every intention of burning through the tasks on your to-do list, but you keep getting interrupted. You're returning phone calls, returning emails, returning text messages, meeting with someone who was "just dropping by"...and before you know it, your day is gone. It's important to make your time your time, and it's important that you make others understand this, as well. It's easy to buy into the myth that we need to be accessible constantly, but doing so means you have to deal with a seemingly endless series of distractions. Is that email really so time-sensitive that you need to stop what you're doing to respond to it? Is that phone call so pressing that it can't wait? If it's not urgent, don't treat it as such. If you are always accessible, people will expect you to be, so take a stand and have a chunk -- or chunks -- of your day when you're not. This is not a power play; it's simply a matter of reclaiming your time. Creating boundaries is vital to your productivity and your job satisfaction, and no one else is going to do it for you.
What strategies for effective time management do you use?
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