One Simple Trick to Stop Procrastinating with Josh Cantwell – EP 274

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An investor recently asked me for a ten-year cash flow study of one of our apartment buildings. To be honest, it’s not something I’m looking forward to doing. I feel like it’s at best an educated guess–and so does the Federal Reserve. None of us can predict interest rates or rent rates, and the work doesn’t feel productive to me.

So I’ve been putting this projection off for a few weeks. Not because I’m lazy, but I definitely am procrastinating–primarily because we’ve already raised all the money we need to do this deal.

I’ll keep this episode short and sweet. Today is all about overcoming procrastination, not just in writing cash flow studies but in anything you want (or need) to do. I’m sharing the simple trick that helped me finish overdue projects, reduce my body fat to 5% in my early thirties, find deals, and achieve so much more. It’s worked for me, and I hope it will help you too.

Key Takeaways with Josh Cantwell

  • The main reasons why we procrastinate.
  • How accountability partners force us to take action.
  • The importance of being aware of your calendar.
  • Why we’re so comfortable letting ourselves down, but not others.
  • Get started right away to find your accountability partner, set a meeting, and get something done.

Josh Cantwell Tweetables

“How do you overcome procrastination when you have something you need, but don’t want to do? Here’s the answer: set a meeting.” - Josh Cantwell

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Josh Cantwell: So, hey there. Hey, welcome back to Accelerated Investor. Hey, it’s Josh, and I just wanted to give you one fast tip today around laziness and procrastination. I have this little project that I’ve been working on, which is a five-year and a ten-year cash flow study of one of our apartment buildings. And I have an investor who’s asked for a 10-year cash flow projection. And it’s definitely not something that I look forward to doing, 10 years out, cash flow growth and all these different kind of things, like we can make all kind of assumptions of 3%, 5%, 8% rent growth. But to me, man, after the next three to four years, it’s basically an educated guess because nobody knows. I mean, the Federal Reserve, the chairman of the Federal Reserve doesn’t know what’s going to happen. None of us know what’s going to happen with the market. None of us know what’s going to happen with interest rates and rent rates.

 

So, for me, projecting anything beyond really three to five years is really difficult. And I just don’t like doing things that I don’t think are going to be productive because I just don’t know what’s going to happen six, seven, ten years from now. But I’ve got to do this little project. So, the investor asks for it. A couple of investors asked for it, I’ve got to do it. So, let me tell you about this project. I’ve been kind of putting this off now for a couple of weeks. I meant to do it for a few investors last year, never did it. I had another couple of investors that are asking for it. And so, how do you overcome laziness, procrastination? In this case, I know I’m not lazy, I’m procrastinating, though, for sure, because I don’t want to do it. And because we’ve already got all the money raised for this deal, I don’t really need to do it. I don’t really need the money from these investors. And so, I’m not really looking forward to doing all this extra stuff when I already know I have all the money in the house that I need to close this deal.

 

So, how do you overcome procrastination when you have a project that you need to do, but you don’t want to do? Here’s the answer. Set a meeting. I know that sounds really boring, but let me expand on that. When I was 27 years old, 28 years old and I wanted to get in really good shape and I was really committed to my health. I tried working out for years, even though I played college football. I tried working out for years and doing it on my own. Well, I never really put the time into it. It was always something getting in the way, I would procrastinate to go to the gym. And when I finally hired a personal trainer, guess what happened?

 

Now, I had an accountability partner. I had somebody that I was accountable to, to show up in the gym two or three days a week. He was measuring my fat. We were talking about what I was eating. He was keeping me on track two or three days a week. I was working out of my own another one or two days a week, and I went from about 16%, 17% body fat to about 5% body fat over the course of about a year, six-pack. I was in better shape at 30 years old than I was at 20 years old when I was playing college football. What was the key to that? I had an accountability partner.

 

So, if you have a project that you’re looking at now in your adult life, whether it’s underwriting a deal, whether it’s raising money, whether it’s going to see a property, make a meeting, put it on the calendar because when you make a meeting and you invite somebody to that meeting or you invite somebody to go to a property tour with you or you invited an investor to go have lunch or you have to do this five-year, ten-year cash flow projection that I don’t really want to do, the way I overcome that is I set the meeting, I send out the invite, and I give myself a hard deadline. It’s like having an accountability partner that you have to be accountable to in the gym. So, I would ask you, if you are procrastinating right now and you want to be in better shape, then put an appointment on your calendar with an accountability partner, and you’ll show up, okay?

 

If you are looking for acquisitions for more multifamily deals and more apartment buildings and you’re just not getting in the field, you’re not going to see deals, reach out to a broker, set the appointment to go do the tour, and you’re now going to have it on your calendar, you’re going to have to show up. If you’re procrastinating about raising money, go set a meeting, go set an appointment with a potential investor, and go talk to them. Whether you have an email marketing campaign or a social media marketing campaign or a direct mail campaign that you’re not executing on and you’re procrastinating on it, set a meeting with your team or set a meeting with your business partner, set a meeting with your spouse, set a meeting with the digital marketing manager or the direct mail house with someone that you have to be accountable to, set the meeting and then show up for the meeting, and you will feel a sense of urgency 24 to 48 hours before it’s due. If you’re like me, you’re busy, you’ve got a lot of things to do, you’ve got a lot of things on your mind, and so, it’s often whatever’s on the calendar is what gets the attention. If it’s not on the calendar, it’s not going to get attention.

 

Let me give you one final kind of story. My wife and I are busy. We’re married. We’ve been married 15 years. We got three amazing kids. And we’re very busy right now. My 94-year-old grandmother is having surgery. There was just a tragic accident, a friend of mine, and we’ve got to go to the funeral, and it’s very emotional. There’s a lot going on. We have a $16 million acquisition that we’re doing. We’re going to see some buildings down in Columbus and we’re continuing to expand. We’re continuing to raise money, taking our kids to all kinds of volleyball, football, basketball, trying to work out every day. We’re busy, just like everybody else.

 

And so, I told my wife just this morning, I said, “Look, I feel like we’re two ships passing each other in the night. We have very little time for each other.” And I said, “Look, if this continues the way it’s going, we’re not really going to ever have time.” Like, I’m a morning person, I like to get up and do things in the morning, I like to go to sleep early. She’s more of a night owl. She likes to stay up late and then sleep in a little bit. And we’ve always had a great relationship that way. I get up in the morning with the kids. She stays up late with the kids and gets projects done. So, we’ve got coverage at both ends of the spectrum, the morning and the evening. But because of that and the fact that we’re busy during the day with business and with our deals and with our kids, when do we have time for each other?

 

And even on the weekends now, our kids constantly have tournaments out of town, so Friday, Saturday, Sunday, like, we’re gone. It’s fun. I love it. We both love it, but when do we have time for each other? So, I said it’s no different than procrastination. I set an appointment with those investors for next Monday. Now, I have got to get the cash flow projection done between now and next Monday. You want to go to the gym and lose weight, set the appointment to go to the gym and you’ll start to lose weight at the appointment. Set the appointment and go to the gym, right? You want to start eating healthy, make a plan to go with your spouse or with your significant other to the grocery store together and buy the right food, starts with an action.

 

My wife and I were like, hey, let’s start to meet every Wednesday, middle of the day from like 12 to 2, kids get home from school at 2:30. Let’s meet every Wednesday. We can have lunch together, coffee together. Who knows what together? Spend time together. Talk about our financial life together. Let’s do that during the day, instead of just hoping that we both have the energy, the time, and the free time to do it at night. Right now, they ain’t working because we’re just both busy doing stuff, stuff that’s important. So, when do you make time for each other? You have to be very aware of your calendar.

 

So, all of these examples, what this essentially comes down to is having somebody that you’re accountable to, having an accountability partner that you don’t want to let down. We will often let ourselves down. We won’t eat the right food. Instead of eating the salad, we’ll have a cookie. Instead of getting up early, we’ll sleep then. Instead of going to the gym, we’ll veg out on the couch. We’ll often let ourselves down, but something in our humanity that doesn’t want to let other people down, that’s a big deal. And that accountability to other people is often what will allow you to be more productive, less lazy, and overcome procrastination. So, find an accountability partner, set a meeting on your calendar, put it in the calendar, and it will get done.

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