Creating a Schedule is Not Easy

Scott CostelloAll, Blog 12 Comments

Over the past two days I’ve been trying to come up with a schedule that is rigid but with a little flexibility thrown in.  Let me tell you, it’s not easy.  I’m taking this very seriously because I want to be as productive as possible.  Some of you may be thinking I’m wasting time thinking about what to do instead of doing.  Even though that is partly true, I work best with a plan.  If I can put in the effort now to come up with my schedule, it’ll make me much more productive in the future because I won’t have to think about what I need to be doing, I’ll just look at my schedule.

In a prior post (Lessons Learned: Get More Out of Your Day with Daily Deadlines) I described the slotting system I am going to use each day.  I’m still going to use it, but I need to spread it out over a week because there just isn’t enough time in the day.  One problem was that I wasn’t taking into account eating and exercising once I get home from work.  Below is what I’ve come up with so far.

Eating: This will obviously be eating dinner.  On most nights my wife is at work so I eat by myself and doing so in 30 minutes is not much of a problem.

Open: I wanted to build in open time after eating and before the gym in case I had to run some errands or do some other things that either need to get done or that I want to do.  It may be real estate related items or it may just be anything else I’ve been wanting to do.

Gym: It is very important for me to be able to exercise.  I plan on going to the gym 3 days a week.  I also go either on Saturday or Sunday so that should be enough.  I may adjust this later to 5 days a week.

Probate: This is where I will be doing any and all probate investing tasks (letters, postcards, returning phone calls (although I’m afraid that will be to late at night), doing property research and networking.

Short Sales: This is where I will be doing any and all short sale investing tasks (MLS research, sending out initial responses to realtors, writing up offers and what ever else that needs to be done.)

Blog: This is my time to work on this blog and any other blogs/websites I’m running

Reading a book: I want to take a least 30 minutes each weekday for reading.  It’s becoming apparent to me that it’s very important to read and I setting aside time each day to read will pay dividends down the road.

Set Goals for Tomorrow: Every night before I head off to bed I will be reviewing my day and setting up my task list for the next day.  This is perhaps the most important part of the day and something I must start doing regularly.

One big problem I’m noticing is that I don’t have much time for making phone calls or meeting with people which is a key to real estate investing.  The ideal time would be 9 to 5, but I work and can’t be doing business on my JOB’s time.  So what to do?  I can make phone calls during lunch and meet people for dinner to network but that won’t always work out.  For me the cutoff time for making phone calls is 8pm, I then feel like I’m intruding.

So that is how I’m going to be working my weekdays for the foreseeable future.  As with life though, there will be some tweaking here and there but the main thing is to keep at it.  It takes 4 weeks to form a habit and I want the above to be my habit.

Have a good weekend!

Scott Costello
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Comments 12

  1. I would say that your open time should be….. “Time for my wife and life” In your open time I would not do REI related items. A supportive spouse is gold and must be treated as so. In your open time I would allocate to “What can I do to keep my wife happy as I work a full time job and then have 3 hours a day afterwards on trying to make the dream happen”

    There may come a day when you have an income coming in from REI that is not as much as your full time job but enough to say “Babe, I want to make a go of this!” and you quit “eeeeeeeeeeeeek…. scary!!!!” If you have successfully navigated the “Time for wife and life”, you will have a supportive spouse who believes that you can do it. (Goooooooooooooolddd!!!)

    There are the single people out there who dont have to give a hoot about worrying about how much time they are spending. They can work from 5-12 every night and not worry about spending time. Yes that is positive, but in all things in life, there is a positive and a negative. The negative of being married and doing this is, time allocation for wife and life. The positive is, if your wife works, you have another income. Also, a support structure. Very important for the ups and downs of this business. (extreme high and lows) They will be there for you at the pinnacle, getting that first deal, jumping up and down, screaming at the top your lungs “I did it!!!!!”, high 5ing your wife so hard she say “owww babe, that hurt” with a smile on her face. And the tear jerking “I am so proud of you”. But they will also be there for the “Babe, this is really tough, I cant sleep” and the response, “You can do it, you are killing it”

    About 8 months ago, I was dabbling in too many things and my mentor said, “How do you plan on getting these other things off the ground successfully and plan on keeping your marriage? Why dont you just stick to the thing that is working and make time for your supportive wife in the process?”

    Just my too cents from one married man to another.

  2. That is great advice Chris and one that I have followed since a started getting into real estate investing. I can assure you that I'm not taking time away from my wife with this schedule. You see we work opposite hours so she is at work from 3pm to midnight during the week. That is why I will not do any REI stuff on the weekends because that is the time I spend with my wife.

    I appreciate you looking out for me!

  3. Scott,
    Its funny you did your spreadhsheet this way. I'm doing the same exact thing. It really isn't easy. Especially when the nightly routine changes, well nightly. I think your smart leaving open time, but I would prioritize that open time as well. Today with my open time I will do x. Also, how long is your work commute? That would be a perfect time to get reading in, in the form of audio books. I'm up to 2-3 books a month now. I get 2 “free” books with $22/mo subscription. Just some thoughts. Good Luck.

  4. Good stuff Scott. I applaud your effort to timeblock the most important tasks throughout your day/week. “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” as they say.

    I too work better when there's a schedule to follow, but I have found that timeblocking more than 40 – 50% of my day becomes very difficult to manage. Carefully observe what percent of your assigned tasks you are actually getting to, because your brain will quickly label the schedule “unattainable” and then the whole thing will crumble.

  5. I was thinking the same thing Chris said about time for wife and life. Sooo important for a relationship. I'm glad that you guys work opposite schedules and you commit to spending your weekends with her. Good for you!

    Scott…you mention about not being able to meet with folks…how about lunch meetings on your lunch break for work? I'm not sure where your work is located in relation to any restaurants, but that may be an idea if some are close by. Just a thought.

  6. I read from Covey not to schedule more than 65% of your day to avoid not being flexible with your day and allow to be able to deal with the unexpected. Over scheduling your day also lead to frustration because unexpected stuff will pop up and you will not be able to complete everything you scheduled, guaranteed. I know this from experience, because like you I like to plan my time.

    Exercise. I agree with you on the importance of this but the time for this is early morning (before work). I have put in hundreds of training hours over the years between 5-6am. It is the best time of day to do this for more than just scheduling reasons. Also consider working out from home, at lunchtime or on the way to/from work. That will save you a lot of time.

    I would think one of the best times to make calls would be saturday/sunday. Have you considered that?

  7. I work 45 minutes away from where I'm investing (where I live) so there would be no way to meet unless I ask people to go out of their way. Now I could invest in the county where I work, but then it's far away from where I live. Stuck between a rock and a hard place with that.

  8. Thanks for the great ideas Luis. exercise in the morning won't work for me, there is no way I could get up at 5 am and not fall asleep at work. I wait for my wife to come home from her job (midnight) before going to bed so I at least see her for 15 minutes each day. That 15 minutes is very important to me, so going to be earlier is not an option.

    Going to the gym at lunch time, there is no way to get a good enough work out in 20 minutes to satisfy me. Considering 1 hour lunch, 10 minutes to actually get from desk to gym and 10 getting back. another 10 minutes for showering. I don't see how anyone can do that unless their office had exercise equipment.

    I also must eat before working out or I get the hunger shakes LOL

    Weekends are off limits. A phone call here and there isn't a problem, but I'm not going to say I'll be making calls on the weekend. Not fair to my marriage.

    What I'd really like to do is quit my job, pick up some spare cash as a full time RE Agent and concentrate fully on REI. Convincing my wife that that is a good idea is a bit hard to do.

    Non of the above are excuses, just road blocks that I'm getting around as best I can.

  9. Pingback: Update on My Scheduled Evenings | Struggling to Get Started

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