5/06/2014 – In the popular show on HDTV the Property Brothers, Andrew and Jonathan, take select clients through home renovation projects. They show the client what their dream home could look like, but most people cannot afford to purchase their dream home, move in ready. Andrew helps families select an ideal property for a renovation and Johnathan actually takes them through the property renovation. After the family has walked a few of homes with the brothers, the brothers break it down to two outdated homes that would work within their renovation budget. They show the family what the two homes could look like completely renovated meeting their budget. The family then select one. In an effort to save money on the budget Johnathan asks the family to help with the renovation project. For most people who have never been through a renovation, things can get very stressful. Often times latent defects are discovered with the components or systems of the home. These homes on the surface look great, but during the renovation process these defects are discovered. These defects increase the cost of the renovation project. Even though these families sacrifice some money to fix the components or home systems they are often willing to give a little on the cosmetic things that are important to them to live in a beautiful, structurally sound home in the end.
"Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable... Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals". Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness". Napoleon Hill
Do you need to invest in a time renovation project? Are you spinning your wheels, finding that you cannot gain any traction in your personal and professional life? Do you find that it is hard to balance work and life? Do you want to spend more time focused on your life than your work? Are you constantly getting interrupted and not consistently productive? Is your business and customers running you or are you running your business? I have found that managing time is often like managing rental property. Managing a renovation of rental property requires preparation, designs, demolish, and rebuild.
Step 1 Preparation:
I am going to share with you insights into my life as a Father, Husband, Friend, MBA Student, Writer, Speaker, Operations Director of a Property Management company, President of my company, and as an active Board Member in a Finance and Accounting Firm. Needless to say time is important to me. I could not do all of this alone. I have a team of people I work with and I rely heavily on them to help me reach my mission in life.
A typical day for me goes as follows; my child, Natalie, wakes up around 5:00 am I get her out of her crib and change her diaper. I make my way into the kitchen to get her breakfast. I prepare her bottle, unwrap a banana, and put some fruit loops on her tray. Then I feed the dog and let the dog outside. After the dog comes back in, I try to put some food in the microwave for breakfast or grab a cereal bar for myself. Once everyone is feed I try to get everyone dressed. I double check the diaper bag and, depending on the day, I prepare lunches for the babysitter and myself. Mornings are busy and full. I usually rely on my wife to watch the Natalie while I get ready for work. Every morning I start my day with a motivational message from a speaker on youtube or my ipod.
My motivation mornings are just part of getting ready for the day. My wife then double checks me and ensures morning compliance running through her check list. Once we are ready to go, my wife packs the cars and heads out with the baby for the sitters. Before I leave I double check all doors and windows and make sure all doors are locked, locked, locked (I always say it 3 times out loud per door). On my way to work I make calls to critical team members, partners, clients, or advisors. None of the conversations are to actually do business, mostly it is talk though challenges or ideas I have. I typically arrive to work between 7:00 -8:00 am even though work starts at 9:00am. The 1st half hour is reading emails and responding to the previous day's questions from rental property owners, staff, clients, team members, partners or advisors.
At the beginning of my day, at 9:00am, I write out my top 10 things to get accomplished for the day. As staff arrives I spend 2-5 minutes with each of my team members determining if there are any pressing issues that they are facing that they need assistance or guidance with. After these quick briefings, I work on all the things that I can possibly get to for work. All day long I am faced with interruptions from contractors, staff, tenants, or owners. I fight to get all my work accomplished. Work that needs to get processed goes into my in-basket. Calls that need to get called back go into my in basket. Many of the tasks for work consist of writing communication reports for owners, reviewing accounts, looking at the largest expenses, and tenant balances. Other tasks consist of approving contractors bids, preparing make ready bids for owners, settling tenant disputes, moving along the Housing Authority, meetings with staff, owners, Investors, reviewing contractor invoices, reviewing applications for tenant approvals, requesting bids for projects, documenting policy and procedures, proposals to the owners for business process improvement and staffing requirements and more. These tasks are only some of the things I do for work on a monthly basis. All these items take hours of time.
Between 11:30 – 12:00pm I take lunch. My lunch is typically something I brought from home and heated in the microwave. I work while it is cooking. Typically at lunch time I spend ½ hour – 1 hour meeting with a member of our team. We typically talking about company issues and challenges we face. Sometimes I text my wife in the middle of the afternoon just to let her know I am thinking about her. This also typically spurs her to remind me of anything we talked about in the previous day that requires my attention during business hours. From 1 – 2 I scan and review my email for emergencies, and I mean emergencies. I work, work, work until 5:00 pm. Then I conduct a review of the 10 things I wrote down that need to be completed. I also review my google calendar and my personal calendar for all work that is important for the next day. I also review all my projects list listed in my planner. When all this is completed I head home from work. On the car ride home I may listen to an educational cd on sales, time management, personal development, management, leadership or any other topic of my interest.
Monday through Thursday, in the evenings, my wife, daughter and I make dinner as a family, eat, and read books until 7:30pm. 7:30 – 7:45 is baby's bed time. From 7:30 until 10:30pm every night is work. Many times I spend this time completing school work, responding to emails, and following up on my personal businesses outside of my job. On Fridays we often try to have friends over from dinner in the evenings. I have my routines every weekend as well. Saturday mornings are breakfast with my family then 1 to 4 hours writing and building content. About 10:00 am we complete all house chores. After that I spend the next 4 hours with my family engaged in fun family time. During the evening time after Natalie has gone to bed my wife and I spend time together just the two of us talking, family planning, and engaged. Sunday is my day of rest and reflection. 90 % of Sundays consist of visiting with extended family and week review and preparation.
Because I am working on my MBA, I have class one night each week, but the day changes every 8 weeks. Before I go to bed at nights, I check all the doors to ensure they are locked, locked, locked; I check our family organizer, goals, and calendar, turn out all the lights and hop in bed. I spend a minimum, no matter how tired I am, of 15 minutes reading. I then turn in for the night.
Are your days organized like mine or are you letting work encroach on your personal time? See I work to live, I do not live to work. I organized my days around what is most important to me, my family. You could not interrupt me during that time if you were the President of the United States in the middle of a National Emergency it would have to wait. As much as I have going on, the first time I block out in my calendar each week is for my family. Next is time for our friends on Friday nights. Next I block out time for my education. This is the time I block out that I am not flexible.
Step 2 Design:
I once heard a great orator ask the questions, "When should you start your day?" Answer: "As soon as you have it finished" Question, "When should you start the week?" Answer, "As soon as you have it finished." Question, "When should you start the month?" Answer, "As soon as you have it finished." Question, "When should you start the year?"
You might be think that's great all that stuff about your life, but what can I do about my time to ensure that I am living productively. Most people, when trying to reach their peak performance, and to take control of their time, need to go through what I call a "TIME RENOVATION." In Real Estate Investing a renovation is the process of improving a structure. Many people renovate homes to create a new appearance for their home, or so another person can live in the residence. Builders often renovate homes because it is a stable source of income. All renovations, in my experience follow the same structure: Selection of property, development of structural plans, project planning for property presentation, arrange funding, and recruit contractors.
Selection of Property
Legally property is that which belongs to you, whether as an attribute or a component. The most valuable property that produces the most happiness for you is the things you value most in life. Is it your family? Is it your fame? Is It your fortune? Is it a pleasing personality? Is it great health? The 1st thing that you will need to do, when undergoing a TIME RENOVATION, is select what you would consider your top priorities. These should be your top values. You select these values because you would like to see the greatest improvement in these areas of your life. Why are you renovating your time? Are you needing more time in your personal life, financial life, business life, spiritual life, social life, health? When selecting an area of your life make sure that there is going to be an appropriate return on your investment of time. Are you constantly evaluating different areas of your life and running the numbers to determine if an investment would be worth the time and/or money? Other areas of your life to consider are education, charity, community involvement, and dreams. After selecting what areas are most important to you, then make a list from 1 to 10 of the most importation things in your life to the least importation things. The top 3 things on your list, start running the numbers. How much time are your currently allocating to those needs? How much money are you investing to ensure you have the time you need for your top 3 priorities?
|Current Area||Time Allocate Per Month||Future Priorities – What I would like to spend my time on.||Preferred time Allocated Per Month||What things in your life do you need to adjust in your time allocation? What would you like to spend more time doing? What can you do to ensure you are able to meet the preferred time? GAP|
|Work||240||Spirituality||30||Delegate more to staff/hire more staff/ help current staff manage time better to take 1 hour each day at lunch for spiritual development – take time Sunday mornings for spiritual interaction|
|Sleep||56||Family||240||Reduce sleep by ½ hour each day getting up early enough to write and spend more weekend time with family|
|Eating||84||Financial Independence||30||Pre-make all my meals on Sunday with my family so during the week we do not need to cook.|
|Social Life||30||Vacation||16||Take shorter vacations quick vacations allocate time for friends to go - Purchase a vacation spot on a beach or lake to spend social time and family time|
|Family||60||Health||30||Take family on walks, encourage family to eat modestly.|
|Vacation||8||Social Life||8||Delegate more responsibilities in personal businesses, hire Virtual Assistants to help|
The above is called a GAP analysis. If you allocated more time, what would happen to you in the other areas of your life? What is the maximum return you could get from making an investment of your time in those areas, what is the worst case scenario? What is your exit strategy? Once you commit more time to this neglected area of your life, and you are not seeing the returns you would like, what is the contingency plan? Once you have identified the areas of your life that you would like to allocate your time, next your have to develop your structural plan.
When building your structural plan, your components and systems have to be stable enough to resist all appropriate structural loads. Your plan has to be stiff enough
to meet the needs of your life but not collapse from fatigue. If you see the diagram to the left you will notice first you have to put a plan of structural components into place.
Some of the structural components of my personal structural plan are as follows:
- Planning time, processing time, productive time.
- Time blocking
- Recruitment and Delegation
- Time Compounding
- Proactive vs. Reactive
- Relational Expectations
(For now this is the outline of the structural components for my personal structural plan. Each one of these topics can be broken down into entire subjects themselves. For more information on my structural components I deliver ½ hour to 3 hour workshops about all of them.)
Some of the structural systems of my personal structural plan are as follows:
- Goal Setting System
- Calendar System
- Financial Management System
- Record Keeping System
- Risk Management System
- Customer Service System
- Sales System
Once the structural plan is in place then it is time to determine your plan on how you are going to complete the interior of the home and the exterior of the home. This is a critical point in designing your time renovation, when planning your property presentation make sure to get everyone involved. If you skip this step your renovation often ends in hard feelings within different relationships. If you do not want to anger your family, coworkers, boss, or friends get them involved in the renovation process. It is easier for everyone if everyone "knows the importance of the structural plan," however, it is not 100% necessary. At this phase of your renovation design just do your best to find out what is important to others that are important to you. What do they need and how much will it cost you? I am going take a second and be frank with you, sometime renovation projects cost too much. They come without a great return on investment. It is at this point that you need to ensure that the property you selected "values that are top to you" have a great return on investment. This part of your design measures your plan vs. those around you. If you are getting positive feedback and you see the return is worth the risk then it may be a good idea to move forward.
There are a couple of ways to increase the value of the property you are renovating:
1. Declutter – What should you stop doing. What should you delete? What should you shred or trash?
2. Paint the walls – Do you color code your life? Why not? Color coding is an inexpensive way to improve your time management.
3. Install new flooring- How often do you find yourself dealing with interruptions? Uneven floors can cause you to stumble.
4. Upgrade your appliances – What tools do you currently use to measure, track, and plan you time. Do they need and upgrade?
5. Clean the property – Make sure everything is in its place and have a place for everything. Are you using organizational tools and space?
6. Landscaping- Are you an attractive person with a pleasing personality?
7. Add some finishing touches for show – Do you take the extra time to add presentation to your work, family, and friends?
The thought provoking questions are designed to get you thinking about your property plan. Can you renovate any of these areas of your time? Can you declutter your life, paint, install floors, upgrade your appliances, clean, landscape, or add finishing touches? Not all of these suggestions are always appropriate with every home. Some homes only require one or two of the suggested improvements. Gaining a return on your investment is determined by the success these suggestions will bring to your renovation project. Just like the property brothers, I recommend that examine your structural components and structural systems as you work through the demolition process.
You cannot ask for money from investors until you have selected your property, completed your structural plans, and your design plans. Now that the plans are completed we are going to take our plans to investors and ask for resources. What is the cost? Every renovation has a cost associated with the plan. How much is this renovation going to cost you? If you are like most successful people you are already having difficulty finding time to even read this article. To complete your time renovation you need to determine the cost of your changes. Most Real Estate investors utilize contractors to get estimates or bids on renovation projects, even though they are going to get bids they have an idea ahead of time of the resource sacrifice. If this is your first renovation project then you may not be aware of the costs involved. That is okay. Some investors make mistakes and underestimate the costs. This is why a coach or mentor is always good idea. Someone who has been through renovation projects can often be a wealth of information in helping you to avoid many of the pitfalls of underestimating the costs.
People ask me all the time to work through renovation projects with them. I currently am working on 14 renovations. I have found that people who do not have experience with renovation projects and the costs involved often complain to me about costs, quality, time, and scope of these projects. Most rookie real-estate investors underestimated their renovation project. I would suspect that if they allowed me to help them select right property to begin with, coach them through the structural plans, and design plans, they would be able to afford their renovation project and meet their return expectations. If I knew you could not meet your returns I would tell you, up front saving you time and money. I would ensure you did not have the wrong expectations going into the project. The thing is, I have completed many renovation projects and I have systems built to maximize your returns on these projects.
STEP 3 DEMOLITION:
After you complete the preparation and the designs during a renovation, you then move to the demolition phase. Demolitions can be complicated if you do not have experience. During the demolition you can end up costing yourself more than necessary if you are not careful. There are four points of progress when you demolish for a renovation project. The four points of progress are 1. Get permission and permits 2. Assess the risks 3. Take the first swing as a test swing & 4. Clean up when finished.
Get permission and permits – Before you just go swinging away at your time, it is first wise to get the proper permission from all coworkers, friends, and family members. Often times gaining permission to renovate your time is the most difficult part of the demolition. Often times the ones closets to us cost us the most as far as our time is concerned. It would be smart to gain permission from your significant other, boss, and peers to renovate your time. Try by have the following conversation it worked well for me:
__Family member______ I recently read an article on time renovation and time management. The article had a lot of great suggestions on ways for me to improve my productivity and ultimately increase my income. One of the last things I want to do is offend you because I am trying something new with my time. I would really like to be able to spend more time with my family. When is the time during the week that is most important to you that we spend together and is there more time that you would like with me during the week or are we spending adequate time together to ensure your time needs are being met?
___Coworker_______ I recently read an article on time renovation and time management. The article had a lot of great suggestions on ways for me to improve my productivity and ultimately increase my income. One of the last things I want to do is offend you because I am trying something new with my time. Over the next 3 weeks I may try a couple of the techniques from the article and other time management books, would that be okay with you?
___Friend_______ I recently read an article on time renovation and time management. The article had a lot of great suggestions on ways for me to improve my productivity and ultimately increase my income. One of the last things I want to do is offend you because I am trying something new with my time. Do you have any suggestions for managing time more effectively to be more productive?
You are truly not going to want to skip this step. Making sure you speak with everyone and gaining permission will save you from relationship disaster. One of the interesting things about human nature is that we are often resistant to change. One of the tools for effectively implementing a personal change in behavior is to include other in that change. Gaining advice and asking questions from other helps them to buy into your cause because they are asking you to make the change in behavior for them. When you ask the questions in the RIGHT way, you get from them the response and permission to follow their advice. It is nearly impossible to convince anyone to do anything but when it is there idea it is accepted one hundred percent of the time.
Assess the risks – Renovation project always have risks. It is your responsibility before you renovate your time to assess the risks. For instance, you may currently have a meeting every Wednesday. What if you made a decision to just stop going because during your time renovation this meeting is unproductive. It may be a huge risk not to attend the meeting it may offend coworkers, your boss, or you may think it is unproductive but is actually critical to the success on your current project. You need to analyze your structural systems and structural components and determine the risk associated with change. Maybe there are current manual updated spread sheets that are critical to your company, but in your renovation plan you toss it out and replace it with system generated reports? What is the risk to the organization of change? System generated reports save you countless hours, but your time may not be able to operate and remain productive. Just make sure you take time to assess all risks.
Take the first swing as a test swing – Just like in a renovation, when you start the demolition, it is important to take a practice swing. Your time renovation project will not happen overnight. You will need to test a couple of time renovation tips. Just completely demolishing your schedule and rebuilding it may not be the best thing or the most productive thing. Some people at this stage take one entire day and dedicate it to controlling that day. This is important to note. Try not to just start making changing in your life without at first testing them and getting the feedback. Feedback comes in many different forms. Stress is one of those, people are another, and productivity is another. You may already know this but I have learned that make too many changes too quickly can be a cause of failure. This can be in the case even if the changes are accurate.
Clean up when finished- Even when you have completed the entire renovation project of your time, there is always clean up that needs to happen. It may be as simple as changing around the location of items to as complex as renegotiating relationships you did not know were going to be effected.
When you start your clean up the first thing you need to do is get in the cleaning state of mind. Some people put on sweats and music, others like to clean in the evening. You know what to do to get in the cleaning mood. The next thing during your time renovation is to throw away the trash and the clutter. Take as long as it takes you to throw away all the trash. If you have difficulty determining what is trash and what you should keep use this as a guideline, "Am I going to need this in the next 3 months?"
After you pitch all the trash the next step is to separate what is left over. Put papers in a basket, put supplies in a basket, stack all lose files in piles, and all other things in a pile. The next step is to put things where they belong. File them, delegate them, and discard the rest. Lastly, clean you work area, schedule, and appointments this way everything is fresh.
STEP 4 Rebuild:
"There he is!" I said to myself. I did not actually know if it was him, but I imagined it was him. He walked past very fast on the while on phone. I saw the white hair. I was dressed in a blue button down shirt, with a silk blue & black tie. My black slacks were pressed and my black shoes shined like never before. I held my planner in my left hand and tucked into the planner was a file full of work samples and accomplishments. I could hear each tick of the clock. I looked down at my watch. The light reflected of the face and blinded me for a second, I was 15 minutes early, as I normally am. There was a very nice lady that sat at the front desk and she had me sitting at the high table in the lobby. I was setting at this high table in what would be the kitchen of a single family home that was converted to an office space. It must have been 100 degrees outside because I remember sitting there and dabbing the sweat off my forehead. I was excited to meet the man that built a real estate empire. I was very confident in my abilities to build upon the success he was having, and ready to take on the challenge of taking his business to new heights. This was a new beginning, a new opportunity for me if I was going to take it. After about 10 minutes waiting it was finally time to go into my interview. Don introduced me to the staff and then asked me to follow him to the basement of the home/office. In the basement was a conference table and chairs and a number of cubes. Even though I was confident in my abilities and skills this was all new. I had all the experience I needed to be confident, I had all the education I needed to be confident yet this was a new opportunity. New people to work with, new systems to learn.
Often the "new" in life is exciting as well as nerve racking. Just like starting a new job, renovating your time will take some patience. You will have people, systems, and challenges. You should go now into your time renovation with the same confidence as you approach a job interview. You have the skills and the education to complete the renovation. You have the tools and the confidence. You know the steps to take. I sincerely wish you success in your time renovation project. When it is complete I know you will be able to rent your mind out for higher prices.