There never seems to be enough hours in the day. I’d like to think that I can spend 5 hours a day after work on real estate investing, but that just does not happen all to often. What I need to do is make sure I am as efficient as possible with every action I do. Being able to plan your day is the key to maximizing what time you do have.
Over time I’ve found tools to really help me eliminate wasted time. What it really comes down to is being organized and having a plan of attack. Below are 10 tools that I use on a daily basis to keep me lean and mean..
1) Mind Map software
Mind mapping is a great way to get your thoughts and processes down on paper in an organized way. I use it to break down all the tasks in my real estate business into segments. I also use it to keep track of brain storming sessions to keep track of ideas. The software I use is called MindJet.
2) Google Docs
This is a must tool. I upload all my documents to this google service and organize them into folders. If you use a specific naming convention you’ll be able to quickly search for what ever you need quickly. The convention I use is
Category – Document Type – Lead Type – Date (i.e. Sellers – Lead Sheet – Probate – 030411)
3) Google Calendar
I’m sure you may use another calendar to organize your time and appointments, maybe one on your smartphone. I say drop that and use google calendar. The reason is because you can access them from any computer, smartphone or tablet. You can even share your calendar with others, so if you have a partner you can create a shared calendar for scheduling appointments.
Because Google Calendar allows you to create different calendars for different aspects of your life like Real Estate Investing or personal, you’ll be able to overlay each off them onto one calendar view. This makes it really easier to see when you have free time.
4) Andriod or iPhone
A smart phone is almost necessary. I just got rid of my iPhone and jumped on the Andriod bandwagon because of it’s tight integration with all things google. I must say that I’m loving it to no end. The phone I got is the Motorola Atrix, which is the newest smartphone for AT&T. It has a car dock that turns it into a GPS that uses Google maps which is wonderful for driving an area. A few other features that make this phone cool
- larger battery then most other andriod phones
- record HD Video at 720p
- dual core processor so the interface is silky smooth with no lag what so ever
5) Lead Management Software
With all the leads lists I get for probates and out of state owners I needed to organize in the worst way. You could use excel (which is great while you are just getting started) or buy a product like OpenRoad (which is excellent). I use SI Lead Manager (Which I created) to fit my own needs.
In the end it doesn’t matter what you use, just make sure it’s easy to use and saves you time. Nothing is worse then having a management system that takes more time to maintain then it saves you in convenience.
6) Google Voice
It’s free, you get your own phone number and you can use multiple accounts (and phone numbers) to help keep track of all your marketing. I have a number for my out-of-state leads, a number for my probate leads and will get a new number when I expand into other leads in the future.
I even have Google voice handle all my personal voicemails because I can customize my away message depending on who is calling. Also along with my Motorola Atrix, I can sync my contacts between all my Google accounts (Gmail, Voice and calendar) .
One time waster for me is having to run out to the post office (or other places that sell stamps) to buy stamps for my mailings. The USPS.com store has subscriptions you can setup where they will send you stamps at intervals of your choosing. This works out great for me and assures that I will always have stamps when I’m ready to put together my mailings.
8) Envelope Moistener
Staying with the mailing theme, do yourself a favor and get an Envelope Moistener to help you seal the envelopes more quickly. I recently got two kinds, Envelope Moistener, Pencil Type, Sponge Tipped by Sparco and Liquid Glue Envelope Moistener by Quality Park. I’m testing out both right now and I like the Liquid Glue Envelope Moistener better at this point.
I don’t really have any recommendations for a laptop, but ever since mine got destroyed by a water leak my production has declined. The replacement computer that I got is a desktop (which is great), but I’m coming up on situations where it would have made life easier, and more productive, if I could have brought my computer with me.
Sometime over the next few months I’ll be getting a portable laptop. This laptop will be used strictly for real estate investing. Hopefully I’ll be able to write that off 🙂
If you have a lack of time, then you are rarely in front of your computer able to record notes and thoughts. That is why keeping a small notebook handy at all times is crucial! I can’t tell you how many times I came up with a great idea only to forget it. Any note book will do, but I find a small one that I can slip into my glove box or pocket (Moleskine Ruled Notebook Pocket) is perfect.
For those people in a pinch for time, what tools do you use to help you keep efficient and organized?
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Great post. I think it may be one of my favorites because it’s really coming in handy right now. I’m in search of a mindmapping tool and your google items are rather intriguing. I think I’ll have to start using them since they would help out with ALL of my businesses.
Thanks and keep up the great work!
I’m completely a google fanboy, there products are great! The mindjet software is very good and I highly recommend it.
Hope you are doing well and making progress towards your goals.
Excellent post. May I suggest another great productivity tool? Jott is a service that will transcribe your voice into text and send it off to whomever you direct it to. I am always thinking of things that I need to do while I am driving. I just dial the Jott 800 number (on speeddial) and speak the to-do item to the computer that answers. It transcribes the message to text and emails it to, plus sends it to my to-do inbox. It’s cheap and works great. No affiliation, just a happy customer.
That sounds like a really useful and cool service, I’m going to look into that. Thanks Chan
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Thanks a lot! this really helped. I didn’t know about google voice, just created one! All the best!
you are welcome Wendy. Let me know if you have any questions.
Great article. I’m a big fan of Evernote. I use the free version. You might like it since you mention laptop and smartphone. There is a computer client and smartphone app that sync together automatically.
I make a new note for each property I look at. I can save comps, pictures and voice notes all in one place. I can keep emails about the property in one place.
it also lets you tag your notes so you can come up with your own organization system and then sort by tag to see all the relevant material.
That is a great use for Evernote! I actually use it for creating Christmas lists for what I want and what my wife wants.