No, it’s not Facebook. This time-suck is not even that two-hour lunch meeting or the team conferences that seem to invariably run over their designated 30, 60, or 90 minutes. It’s something far more insidious that is eating up your workday and decimating your productivity: the “gotta minute?” meeting.

In my real estate investing business and my consulting business, I see a lot of individuals and companies demonstrating a lot of different ways to not use time effectively. Of course, there are the obvious ones, like those I mentioned above. For example, a Nielson Company report indicated in 2016 that Americans were spending nearly 11 hours each day looking at a multimedia screen of some sort, excluding the time they spent working. Analysts predicted that number would grow as more people gained access to additional smartphones, tablets, and video gaming devices. Around the same time, the National Bureau of Economic Research reported that nearly an hour of each workday is dedicated to internet activities that they informally described simply as “slacking” and that seem to be based largely around viewing cute animal videos when an individual should be answering emails or otherwise engaged in more productive activities.

Sure, there are a lot of “time sucks” in the workplace, especially now that we have unlimited access to the internet both in home offices and more formal offices space. I will say, however, that the worst time-suck of them all masquerades in the very deceptive form of a one- or five-minute meeting. Here’s how it works:

A co-worker stops by with a legitimate question or observation that is relevant to your work together in some way. Instead of sending an email or setting up a time to discuss the topic at hand, they simply stick their head in the door and say, “Gotta minute?” Odds are, you probably don’t. You were in the middle of something, or you should be, but you probably will say “Sure,” because you want to put off what you were working on or you just don’t want to be rude. That “minute” then extends to 10, 20, or even more minutes as the discussion, not formal to begin with because there was no predesignated topic in the first place, veers off track into other professional and personal topics. By the time that “minute” is over, you’ve lost focus and are likely rushing somewhere else as well.

We must begin giving time more respect in our businesses, especially when it comes to real estate. We all know how important the timeline of a flip, for example, is to the bottom line. However, because real estate investors have variable schedules and swiftly become accustomed to dealing with last-minute emergencies, over time, we tend to lose sight of the massive importance of systems and processes in our businesses. Learning (or re-learning) to be present in the moment and take full advantage of the time we have for our business or other activities is imperative to lasting, fulfilling real estate investing success.

Let Sharper Business Solutions help you learn (or re-learn) to be present in the moment and maximize your business success at the same time at the Think Realty National Conference & Expo in Dallas, Texas, on February 24-25, 2018. Sharper Business Solutions will be offering 30-minute one-on-one consultations at their booth in the exhibition hall, and Gary will present an educational training during the event. Click here to learn more.

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  • Carole VanSickle Ellis

    Carole VanSickle Ellis serves as the news editor and COO of Self-Directed Investor (SDI) Society, a membership organization dedicated to the needs of self-directed investors interested in alternative investment vehicles, including real estate. Learn more at or reach Carole directly by emailing

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