Please answer this question as honestly as
Do you manage your time effectively?
Most people know how important managing
their time effectively is but few actually go about it in the right way. I was
certainly one of those people. I would regularly find myself in a situation
with the day coming to an end and half my “to do” list still untouched.
Can you relate to this?
I stumbled through life like this for
years. It was nothing short of a miracle that I achieved the success that I
did. But there was a cost. I found that I was suffering from a lot of stress
through this poor time management.
I was not getting important things done
until the very last minute. Some things I never finished at all because I
didn’t have the time. Even though I had people around me that could help I
decided to do most things myself. I just bounced from one thing to the next
worrying about all of the things that I hadn’t finished.
Enough was enough! I simply had to change
this for my own sanity. I needed to find a form of time management that worked
well for me. And this is an important point. There is plenty of advice out
there about effective time management but the solutions offered may not suit
So with this in mind I will tell you what I
did to improve the management of my time. I will provide you with an
alternative way to do things where this is possible. It may be that by doing
something slightly differently it will work for you.
My Effective Time Management System
1. Set Goals and review them regularly
You must set goals to be successful in
property investment. If you haven’t done this yet then I recommend that you
read my post on goal setting here. I am going to assume that you have some
goals so I want to discuss reviewing them here.
In my early business days I set a lot of
goals. Did I achieve them all? No I didn’t. But I still managed to be
successful in the businesses that I was involved in. How is this possible? Well
I set too many goals to begin with and there is a danger that you could do this
I told you that I often ended up with
actions on my “to do” list that I never finished. I looked back at these things
and found that the reason I didn’t finish them was not just down to time
management. It was because they were really not that important!
They were things that I thought would be
nice to have. Maybe a redesign of the company website that was perfectly fine
as it was. Or maybe a new company logo that was totally unnecessary.
I had set a “new image” goal for my
business and there were many things that I needed to do to achieve this. But my
lack of time and dedication stopped me from achieving this goal. So what I am
asking you to do is to review your goals regularly and cut out those things
that are not important. This will save you a ton of time.
2. Prioritise Tasks
This is a big one and
it is something that a lot of people get wrong. You must prioritise all of the
tasks on your daily “to do” list. If you are anything like me then you will
have a mixture of small and large tasks on your list.
I prepare my task list
for tomorrow the day before. I no longer beat myself up because there are
things from today that I didn’t complete. I can do this because I know these
things are low priority. They need to be done eventually but they are not
So I looked at the
list and worked out which tasks would cause me the most pain if I didn’t tackle
them urgently. These can be either small or large tasks – it doesn’t matter.
The important thing is that they will stress you out if they keep appearing on
your list every day.
An example of this
could be paying a bill for something important that you rely on. I was never
very good at paying bills on time but now I have changed my view on this. One
of the most important contributors to my success is having a good team around
me. You need a good team as well.
Some of the members of
my team don’t work for my company. But the services they provide are essential
to my success. Some examples are my solicitors, my trade people for conversions
and uplifts, my letting agents etc. If I don’t pay their bills on time then not
only are they going to nag me about it but they will be less likely to respond
in the future as I want them to.
There may be other important
tasks that you are overlooking. You promised a member of your staff a chat
about their future. Don’t put this off! Sit down with them as soon as possible.
You need to keep your people happy.
Some “experts” tell
you to tackle the biggest tasks first. I do this most of the time but I have a
different take on this. A friend of mine always tackles the smaller tasks on
his list as it builds up momentum to tackle the larger task. This really works
for him. So do what will work best for you.
3. Find your most Productive and
We all have different times of the day when
we are at our most productive. There will also be a time of day when you are at
your most creative. I am a morning person and I identified that I was the most
creative at around 6am. My most productive period was just after this. So I
protected this time for creativity and working on the most challenging tasks.
Not everyone is a morning person. A lot of
these time management experts will tell you that you need to get up really
early to get everything done. But I realise that this is not going to work for
I know people that are more creative and
productive in the afternoon. They don’t like the mornings and never perform to
their peak in the early hours. There are some people who do all of their great
stuff in the evenings or even at night.
The important thing here is that you
identify when your creative and productive times are. You may be more creative
in the morning and more productive in the afternoon. It doesn’t matter. Just
find out your best times and prioritise your tasks around these times.
4. Plan for each Day
Have you ever turned up at your business in
the morning without a clear idea of what you need to achieve that day? I have
certainly done this and it is a common problem that a lot of business owners
If you don’t have your day planned out then
it is very likely that the tide will sweep you away. You will find your day
dominated by the problems that arise. With property investment problems can
occur at any time and sometimes there is more than one problem to deal with.
No matter how difficult you believe it is
to plan your day properly you need to do it. It is very important that you have
a clear view on what you need to do each day. Personally I like to spend a few
minutes at the end of each day planning for the next day. I find that this
helps me to relax and unwind more as I know that tomorrow I will complete
As an alternative to this you might find
that it works better for you to plan your day as soon as you arrive at your
place of work. Some people do not have the energy to plan for the next day
after working many hours. That’s fine; just make sure that you plan ahead.
5. Accept that you can’t do it all yourself
If you want to get a lot of things done
every day then you will need others to help you. Trying to do everything
yourself is a surefire way to ensure that it isn’t going to happen. You need to
put your trust issues aside and get some help.
When you have people working for you then
use them wisely. Challenge them by delegating some of your tasks to them. You
can check with them regularly to see how they are doing and ask if they need
any help. These days I delegate all day to day operational matters to my employees.
This works well now but it was a challenge
to start with. I had to give people a lot of help and advice so that they would
complete the task as I wanted it done. But that initial effort has really paid
off and now it saves me a great deal of time.
As a business owner you need free time to
plan ahead for your business. Delegating the day to day running of my property
business provided the freedom that I wanted. If I wanted to jet off to some far
flung destination and do my business planning on the beach then I could do
What if you don’t have the skills in house
to complete the task? In today’s world there are a whole host of talented
outsourcers or freelancers that would love to work with you. Let me give you an
I am a pretty creative person and have a
natural talent for design. People were always amazed at how I could produce
stunning looking logos, websites, brochures, business cards and so on. Although
I always enjoyed doing this it was a real time stealer.
So I decided that I would get someone else
to do my design work for me. There was nobody in house with these skills so I
turned to the freelancing market. It did take me a while to find a freelancer
that was on the same wavelength as I was but it was pretty easy really. Now I give
this person all of my design work and save a lot of time.
If you are just starting out in property
investment then you will have to do a lot of the early work yourself. But there
is usually always the chance of outsourcing some of the work to save you time.
I cannot recommend delegating tasks and outsourcing highly enough as a time
saver. There is some initial effort required on your part but after that it is
6. Minimise Distractions
Many time management experts will tell you
that you need to eliminate distractions altogether. I am a realist and do not
believe that it is possible to eliminate them completely. In my opinion there
will always be distractions for you to contend with from time to time. Some of
these are actually beneficial to you. So my mission was to minimise
I am a great believer and user of
technology and use computers a lot to save time. The Internet is one of the
greatest inventions ever in my opinion. I love the fact that I can communicate
with people all over the world without having to leave the office.
But these advances in technology bring a
whole host of distractions that didn’t exist previously. These days we have
email, instant messaging and social media to contend with. These things are all
useful but you need to use them wisely.
I am not someone who can’t stay away from
social media but I realise that this is difficult for some people. Facebook and
Twitter are great but I don’t let them rule my life. I use them as a
communication tool to get the word out about what I am doing.
If you find that you are spending a lot of
time checking your Facebook, Twitter or any other social media accounts then
you need to get out of the habit of doing this. I only log on to these accounts
at specific times. Let people know this so they are not expecting you to be
around all day.
I use the same approach with email. Email
is a very important tool for my property investment business and it will be for
yours as well, But I found that I was becoming a slave to my inbox. When an
email arrived I had to open it and respond immediately. Believe me nothing is
that important in your inbox.
So I implemented a system where I check my
inbox a couple of times a day and will respond to at those times. I have set up
an automatic email to go out to senders of emails to tell them that I will only
respond to emails at certain times of the day. This has worked really well for
Other distractions that I try and minimise
are people coming to me with problems and the telephone. I have a telephone in
my office and of course I have a mobile phone. I am very selective about who I
give my mobile phone number to. If I know that they will be constantly calling
me and wasting my time then they don’t get the number.
You are in charge of your property
investment business so you need to say “no” to people that want to steal your
time. If people keep barging into your office asking for your advice then wean
them off of this. They will soon learn to solve their problems on their own.
It may take some time to minimise
distractions but believe me it is worth it. Stop wasting time on social media
and don’t be a slave to your inbox. Don’t let others monopolise your time
7. Track how you are spending your Time
I was tempted to put this at the top of the
list because I found tracking the way that I spent my time to be a real “eye
opener”. At first I probably went a bit overboard with this and found myself
trying to account for every minute. There is no need to go this far. Just make
a not of what you spend chunks of time on during the day.
There are timesheet tracking tools available
online and I looked at some of these. I am sure that they could be useful but
in the end I just settled for good old fashioned pen and paper. I started to
write down what I was doing and when. At the end of the day I reviewed this to
see where I was wasting time.
This was a revelation for me. I found that
I was spending time fixing things that other people could be fixing. There were
a number of long phone calls or messenger calls that I could certainly have
made shorter. I looked at what I was doing online and found that I was spending
far too much time looking at websites that were not important.
So if you want a great way to effectively
manage your time then take a detailed look at what you are currently doing.
Obviously you need to be honest with yourself here. If you know that you wasted
an hour on Facebook then write this down and do something about it.
Take Responsibility to use your Time effectively
This blog is all about creating freedom
through property investment. If you don’t use your time wisely then it will take
you longer to achieve freedom or you may never achieve it at all. We only have
so much time and can never get it back so use it as wisely as possible.
My post on quarterly action planning is immensely popular and is another great way to save time. If you haven’t read it then I recommend that you do soon. Take responsibility for how you spend your time so that you can achieve your freedom goals.