In my post on January 7, 2010, I presented my Personal New Possibilities for 2010. At the heart of that post was the recognition that my real estate investing and property management activities were interfering with the pursuit of my speaking and writing ambitions. Since then I’ve even admitted that those activities were a job and doing that job was preventing me from doing the other job I was attempting to do (i.e. speaking/writing). I’m admitting that I’ve only been pursuing speaking and writing on a part-time basis, and as a result have been achieving part-time results.
Here is the good news. I’ve recognized and admitted what was happening, and more importantly, I have taken action to correct the course.
Making a major decision to correct one’s course is a critical first step. Taking the action necessary to implement that course change is where the rubber meets the road. Since January I have been singularly focused on reducing the size of my property management job, and ironically, it’s been necessary to take a few steps backward to order to move forward. Here is what I’ve accomplished in the past 6 weeks and 3 techniques I’ve used to get where I am. You can also use these tried and true ideas to help you stay focused.
Since that fateful post in January, I have done the following:
- Made the decision to move my personal residence from my house in town to what was previously a rental property. This will improve cash flow, consolidate my life and stuff into one location, and simplify my ‘job focus’ by eliminating one property completely.
- The house in town needed a few major projects completed. During the 3 years I lived in that house, I’d done extensive remodeling, but had yet to complete the kitchen trim and 1st floor bath. These major projects are complete, as well as a punch list of other minor things. The house has had 2 showings already, with rave reviews.
- Physically moving myself has started. (There is more to do but at least the job is started … a few trips a week – one car-load at a time!
- Major remodeling of rental properties! This takes a good deal of time, money and energy, but must be done to stay true to my goal of providing clean and comfortable living space. If I am to alleviate time spent on my ‘property job’ in the future, I must either streamline the renting process or sell them. To accomplish either of the two, the updating and repair had to be accomplished. As of today, 3 of 8 units are completed, 2 more will be completed by mid-March. The other 3 will be completed in the next year or two as tenants move. In this case, a 20 year fix was applied in the last 2 months – Untimely, but necessary!
So lots of work has been accomplished in 6+ weeks. How did it happen? How did that get accomplished when other things also needed doing?
The short answer is staying focused and working hard. But here are 3 techniques I used and you can use to help you stay focused when your plate if full.
- Turn off the radio. Over the years I often had the radio playing in the background while I worked. I learned it from my parents; talk radio or background music was always playing in our home. I realized that it was distracting me. It doesn’t mean I won’t listen to the radio or music in the future, it just means that when I had to concentrate, having the background noise was just a distraction.
- Keep after a project until it’s finished. Being a person who likes lots of things happening simultaneously is interesting – but often inefficient. Multi-tasking is not necessarily the way to efficiency. In this case, there were several times when I’d reach a natural stopping point in a project. It would have been very easy to stop and check on something else to give myself a break. The reality is I’d have lost momentum and probably not returned to the original task. I forced myself to stick with the project at hand until it was completed.
- Allow other things to slip until they can be given undivided time. There is an expression when one is busy that they are juggling several balls at the same time. The reality of the past 6+ weeks is I’ve had to let a few balls drop to the ground. And other projects have been put on hold. It’s not necessarily desirable when that happens but the reality is they can be picked back up when there is time to handle them properly.
When life’s projects start to feel overwhelming or there are many things that need doing, my advice is to focus on one or two things, stay focused on those things until they are completed, and allow some other things to fall to the ground in the meantime. This may be the key to achieving your own Personal Possibilities in 2010!
Next Blog Title: How a Change of Scenery can Spark the Imagination!
Next Blog Date: Monday, February 22, 2010