Eventually every new real estate entrepreneur soon comes face-to-face with the fact that there never seems to be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything on the “to do list.” In fact, it’s not uncommon for the new entrepreneur to become discouraged, or even stop investing altogether.
The tasks and responsibilities may seem overwhelming when you stop to think that you need to learn how to find good loans and then go through the mechanics of closing a deal, educate yourself on the most effective investment strategies, establish a network of people who can help you develop a real estate team, manage rental properties, and finally, locate the best deals.
Fortunately, there is an answer to this dilemma, and it’s simply learning effective time management strategies that have been proven to work for seasoned real estate investors all across the country.
Time Management Strategy #1 – Start with a Good Business Plan
Every good business starts with a good business plan. Wise entrepreneurs understand that a well-developed business plan is a strategic tool that allows them to focus on the specific steps necessary to achieve success in real estate investing. The business plan is a clear statement of your vision and objectives. Unless you spell out where you want to go, you’ll never get there. The business plan for the wise real estate entrepreneur is the roadmap for your future success.
This plan will help you make wise decisions while identifying your strengths and weaknesses. It will also help you implement the specific real estate strategies you intend to follow. If you decide to pursue a rental property strategy, the business plan should include specific action steps necessary to meet your goals. Perhaps you intend to locate fixer up properties and then wholesale them to other investors. Regardless of the real estate strategy you intend to use, the business plan should spell out what you are going to do, along with the specific action steps necessary to accomplish your goals.
The plan itself doesn’t have to be extensive in size, but it should include six key elements.
- Mission Statement or Vision. You need to spell out what you want to accomplish.
- Market Analysis. This part of the plan will spell out in detail what the real estate market is like in your geographic area. It should include a realistic outlook as to the future prices of property in the locality.
- Specific Real Estate Strategy. What real estate investing technique are you planning on following? You should spell out in detail the specific steps necessary to complete the strategy.
- Real Estate Team. You will need to begin developing a team of individuals or companies that can help you accomplish your goals. They may include lenders, appraisers, contractors, real estate brokers etc.
- Market Competition. Competition can help you determine the potential market. If you elect to find and purchase rental properties, you will need to know what rental rates are doing. The more you know about the competition, the better chance you’ll have of becoming a success.
- Financial Needs and Assets. Be realistic as to your ability to raise money and complete purchase agreements.
Your future success will be dependent upon your ability to set goals and then establish realistic ways of meeting those objectives. The more complete you make your business plan, the better chance you will have of accomplishing those goals. Finally, your business plan can only succeed when you understand time management and then learn to control time.
Time Management Strategy #2 – Adopt the Belief that Time Is Money
Your time is valuable. What you do and how you do it will depend a great deal on the amount of time you can dedicate to the task. Stephen Covey, the well-respected author, once wrote, “The key is not spending time, but investing in it.” When you learn to believe that time has value, you will begin to value the time you spend on each individual real estate task or goal.
Perhaps the biggest robber of our time is procrastination. By definition, the word simply means delaying or postponing something. In business, the word takes on an even more important significance. When you delay or postpone taking action on business plan objectives, you are signifying that you don’t really want to experience success.
SEE ARTICLE: Procrastination – The Roadblock to Unlimited Success
In order to eliminate procrastination and prioritize the value of time, you must first review where you presently are spending your time. This starts by doing a “time review”. This review should consist of a realistic look at how you spend every waking AND SLEEPING minute of the day. Far too often, we’re not even aware of the amount of time that we waste on a regular basis. Once you see how much time you are wasting, you’ll begin to value the time you can dedicate to your new real estate entrepreneurship.
Time Management Strategy #3 – Implement a Time Management System
Time management is one of the most talked about strategies for improving productivity in business, and it can certainly be one of the best ways to increase your success in real estate investing. There are numerous time management programs and systems available for the entrepreneur today. If you elect to purchase one of these systems, make sure that you commit to follow the program on a regular basis. Consistency is critical if you want to improve the way you spend your time.
Writing down how you spend your time, and then recording both your calendar events and “to do” tasks is an important part of every time management system. The very act of recording how you spend your time will improve time management. Many entrepreneurs are unaware of their wasted hours until they visually see how much time is spent on individual tasks. It’s not enough to just record where you spend your time now, but you must also write down where you intend to spend your future time.
One of the benefits of being an entrepreneur is that you can determine how you spend your time and when you do so. This is also one of the reasons why many entrepreneurs fall into the trap of “limited time and too much to do.” When this happens the entrepreneur oftentimes fails to treat the entrepreneurship as a “regular 9 to 5 job.” When you have a regular 9 to 5 schedule, you know you have to be there at a certain time and you leave at a certain time. The entrepreneur understands that he or she has flexible hours and is not restricted by those time constraints. You need to treat your real estate investing opportunity much like a 9 to 5 job. You can select the hours you work, but you need to be just as dedicated during those hours as you would to a regular job. When you do so, you will be able to accomplish much more in less time.
The secret is to live by as much of a schedule as you can. Setting a schedule that you can follow on a regular basis will help set limits on the time you take for individual tasks and goals.
Time Management Strategy #4 – Prioritize Your day
Your daily schedule will have more value and be much easier to follow when you learn to prioritize what you do every single day. Each day should begin with a clear focus of what you want to accomplish during the day. When you finished the prior day, you may have individual tasks that are carried over too the next day. Just because they were carried over from the earlier day doesn’t necessarily mean that those tasks have the highest priority. Your focus must refresh on a daily basis to the highest priority things each day.
The high value items must always come first. This by its very nature means that your time management system must be flexible and subject to change, but it must be ruled by priority. If you left mowing a tenant’s lawn from the day before, it’s not necessarily the highest priority for today. Certainly, a property closing would have a much higher priority. Therefore, every day needs to begin with a new list of priority tasks and timetables. It’s also essential that you allow the right amount of time for the highest time value items.
Everything begins with organizing yourself and your time. This would indicate the need to follow a schedule and minimize distractions as much as possible. As an entrepreneur, you may find it far too common to quit doing a high value task and slip into doing something of much less value. Don’t allow yourself to do this.
Time Management Strategy #5 – Learn to Delegate
The very act of delegating allows you, the entrepreneur, to gain time to do more important tasks. When you delegate properly, you increase your effectiveness along with more energy to use for higher priority tasks. Learning to delegate doesn’t mean that you abdicate responsibility, but rather you are forcing that responsibility down to someone else. Yes, you still have the responsibility, but now you have someone else to help you accomplish the task.
You don’t need to be a specialist in everything, and chance are that you aren’t. Each of us has certain talents, and this is certainly true for real estate entrepreneurs. If you want to have the highest chance of success in real estate investing, you need to build a powerful real estate team. Naturally, you will want to involve your financing people, real estate experts, contractors, and possibly property managers. Your specific investment strategy will indicate who could be the potential members of your team.
Once you have selected the individual members of your success team, you need to allow the individuals the opportunity to succeed. Give them responsibility and exact assignments and expectations as to when those assignments will be completed. When you add responsibility to an assignment, you’ll be surprised at the results.
Many members of your success team may not actually work for you, but rather with you. This does not mean that you won’t give them assignments or responsibility, just the opposite is true. If you need the help of a realtor, make a specific assignment to find a specific type of property in a specific locality, and you will be surprised what happens. In a short period of time you will have found a potential real estate property and will have saved countless hours in the process.
Delegation in developing a real estate entrepreneurship pays dividends, but only if you use it. John C. Maxwell is an American author who has written many books on leadership. He once wrote, “If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”
Time Management Strategy #6 – Balance Your Life
Investing in real estate can pay big dividends, but it shouldn’t happen at the cost of personal priorities and relationships. It may seem natural to put real estate investing at the top of your list of priorities, but, doing so could destroy your most essential personal relationships if you don’t have balance in your life. Once you establish your priorities, you will see that there is room for family, friends, and yourself. The key is to manage your time in such a way as to protect those relationships.
There is a principle known as “the Pareto Principle”. According to this principle 80% of your efforts come from 20% of your results. In essence, you could be spending most of your time accomplishing very little. This being the case, doesn’t it make more sense to use your time more effectively. When you do this, you’ll have the time to protect both your “family time” and your “my” time.
Balance in your life means that you will handle stress better and accomplish more. In order to achieve this, you may need to make choices that involve time. If you plan on spending time with children or your significant other, you need to have a time management system that allows this to take place.
If you fail to adopt a solid time management system, you are setting yourself up for failure in your real estate investing future. Real Estate doesn’t need to fill all 24 hours of your day, but when you learn to manage your time properly, it can provide rewards that will last year after year.