In the past two years I had noticed a sort of phenomenon with myself. I realized I haven’t been consistently paralyzed by a to-do list. Don’t get me wrong I’ve had some stressful days that are jam packed and of those days (which aren’t a high number), I’ve only been distraught or depressed at the end of the day a handful of times. Today I clicked yet again on another article regarding time efficiency and productivity. Everyday it seems I am bombarded with productivity or efficiency material geared towards entrepreneurs and real estate investors. To the point where I began to wonder: “Was I defective as business owner and investor because I don’t have that overwhelmed feeling?”
Assuming I am not defective in those areas, I began thinking about what other reasons there could be as to why I don’t have that feeling. Afterall, society was telling me my feelings should be different. It’s a fast paced world and much is expected of us. There are so many different types of pressure that we feel throughout the day and many of them are subconscious. We don’t recognize it is or interpret it as pressure. “Oh I’d better watch Dancing With The Stars tonight because everyone will be talking about it tomorrow.” Sounds harmless right? It is in fact another way we put pressure on ourselves. We re-enforced a feeling that we have to watch it so that we can be able to converse with people tomorrow.
The first thing I realized as I “meditated” on this idea of productivity is that I have always been a planner, a list maker, etc in some form. For my 9th birthday I asked for a wet wipe board. Which I believe my parents assumed was for any other purpose than goal setting and to-do lists at my age. I still remember my Dad coming into my bedroom and being shocked to find my new wet wipe board was already written out with lists and tasks before he had a chance to mount it on the wall for me. I knew this pre-programming was not the only reason I lacked a feeling of being overwhelmed with my to-do list. There had to be more. My life is much more complicated now than when I was 9 years old. Also if it were truly as simple as creating a master board like that, everyone would do it.
It’s a mentality that involves motivation. Being productive and achieving a mentality of efficiency requires having motivation. When we are motivated we are less likely to put off the to-do list in favor of watching the latest reality show or sitcom everyone is talking about. The emerging mentality is that “adulting is hard”. Adulting is anything that involves responsibilities and a to-do list. I am curious why “adult” became a verb and a negative one at that. Doesn’t anyone remember the days from when we were kids and how we longed for the ability to make decisions and be able to experience the world? We should not settle for “adulting” being the negative norm and “Netflix and chill” being the positive norm. We need to motivate ourselves to act or else in 30 years we may be disappointed that we spent our adult lives constantly doing “Netflix and chill”. I have a sneaky feeling that those who embrace this mentality are underproductive and in the end depressed about being underproductive.
Prioritization is a must. As we go through our lives it’s important to prioritize. As entrepreneurs and business owners it’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks that we believe are urgent or falsely important, that we never make time for the actions that could further our investing career (like networking and education). Urgency should be reserved for something that will expire or be ineffective if done at a later time. (I.e. Going to the bank doesn’t have to be done that day unless you need the funds to cover your mortgage payment.) Important items are actions that would make a difference in the efficiency and viability of your business, family life, etc. (I.e. Learning the new features that were rolled out by your accounting software, going grocery shopping because your child has no items left for a bag lunch.) Once you know the difference between the two it will keep your mind clear and keep your stress level down because you can clearly identify the tasks that are truly of impact in your life at any given moment.
Allocating time effectively is something that we all struggle with from time to time, or on a daily basis. Some people take time efficiency to the extreme by using their kids soccer games to be attached to their smart phones and working or even dreading sleep because it isn’t time productively spent to them. Time efficiency first stems from knowing where you spend your time. One of the books I read years ago recommended tracking your time spent from wake-up to lights off for two weeks to get an idea on how much time you spend on various tasks. We might not even be aware of the amount of time we spend watching tv, youtube videos, and web surfing (the biggest productivity suckers of today’s modern age). I was appalled at my two week breakdown when I got done with it. While I thought I was doing well because I would set a timer for internet surfing, what I didn’t realize was how many of these 15 minute sessions I allowed! My short term memory had trained me to believe that because I had limited myself to 15 minutes that I was doing good. Evaluate how you use your time. Robert Kiyosaki in Rich Dad Poor Dad says “We all have the same 24 hours in a day. It’s what we do with those 24 hours that ultimately decides our financial future.”
There are two books I recommend for those wanting to delve more into the topic of productivity and efficiency. There are so many books on the topic but these are the ones I’ve found that are best fit for entrepreneurs.
- The One Thing by Gary Keller
- Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
WAA Director of Records
Owner CRC Investments
Owner Brio Properties