Gary Keller, founder of Keller Williams Realty, wrote a fantastic book called “The One Thing.” In it, he challenges some modern ideas about multitasking, its effectiveness and its impact on the successfulness of your career.
His basic conclusion is that multitasking is a farce. He sights a study performed on college students to determine their effectiveness while multitasking. What the researchers found was that the people who claimed to be great at multitasking did perform many tasks at once, but that the tasks were performed poorly. They concluded that the most effective students focused their time and energy on one thing at a time.
Gary suggests that focusing your time and energy on just one thing at a time is paramount in being successful in business, especially real estate. As an investor, we wear many hats. You can be a property manager, a project manager and an acquisitions expert all in the same day. When you get pulled in these different directions regularly, it’s hard to be effective at any of these tasks.
Instead of working on all these at once, Gary suggests you ask yourself “the focusing question”, which is “What’s the one thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” Once you identify that, you focus your time and energy on accomplishing that one goal. You do this for 66 days.
Why 66 days you may ask? In the book, Gary references another study done on college students to determine how long a habit takes to form. Prior to this study, the accepted time to build a winning habit was 30 consecutive days. The researchers in the study, however, found that forming a habit was person specific. They found some students could do it in as little as 18 days, while others took 180 days. Once the researchers compiled all their data on a bell curve, they determined the average time to build a habit was 66 days.
Ashley and I decided to put this finding to the test. We’ve started workout schedules many times, pushed hard at it, only to stop sometime afterwards for no apparent reason. This time, we decided we would workout five days a week for 66 days.
We knew something had changed when we left town to go see Ashley’s dad. While out of town, a question arose: “Where are we going to work out?” Notice the stark difference between that and “Are we going to work out?”
It was then I knew we’d built a habit.
After that, we started another goal. We wanted to read scripture as a family twice a day. We read after breakfast and after dinner. We passed the 66 day mark last week. I have to tell you, it gives you a feeling a pride when your 4-and 5-year-old remind you it’s time to read scripture. That habit has formed.
I want to note we are still working out five days a week. By focusing our time and energy one thing at time, for 66 days, we have built some great habits in a short time. And like brushing your teeth, once a habit is established, it’s very easy to maintain. You don’t think about it; you just do it.
Now apply this to your real estate business. Refer back to Gary Keller’s question: “What’s the one thing you can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier or unnecessary?” If you are new to investing, it could be going to a Real Estate Investors Association a week to learn for 66 days. Or it could be evaluating one property a day, sending out five letters a day, meeting five sellers a week or even making five written offers a week. Whatever the one thing is, do it for 66 days and you will be amazed at what happens.
Joe and Ashley English buy houses and mobile homes in Northwest Georgia. For more information or to ask a question, go to www.cashflowwithjoe.com or call Joe at 678-986-6813.