unplug_your_life_imageWe live in information overload. There are more distractions coming at you from all directions, and at all times, than at any other time in the history of humanity. This is a message that is more important for you right now than ever before. Unplug your life! Here’s how:

First things first, you need a daily quiet time. Let me explain. Once of the richest men in the world at the time of his death in 1942 was George Andre of Nyon, Switzerland. He was a grain merchant that had started from humble beginnings as a small grocery store owner and became one of the world’s largest grain traders. He lived in an opulent chalet in the Swiss Alps and his daily routine included locking himself into a room, sitting in a chair with his cup of coffee and staring out the window at the mountains for exactly 1 hour. Everyday, just after breakfast, he did this, for 60 years. When asked what on earth he was doing, he simply said, “You wouldn’t understand.” Finally, a very inquisitive young man persisted and George revealed what he was doing. He said, “I talk to God.”

I read a book on creativity a number of years back and the main strategy for unleashing creativity was this, “Stare out the window in silence for at least 30 minutes a day.” So I guess that Mr. Andre was onto something, huh.

Try it. It just may change your life.

Besides quiet time, let’s talk about technology and how to unplug that. Now, I don’t mean throw away your PDA, cancel your Facebook and Twitter accounts, and stop checking emails. Instead, what I mean by “Unplug Your Life” is to control the flow of distractions and information that is coming at you constantly. Here are some tips on how to do that:

Control Your TV: I don’t watch TV news. I had a mentor once tell me that I needed to fill my mind with the good, the powerful and the positive and the news fed the negative. In the 5 o’clock network news world, the phrase they use is, “If it bleeds, it leads.” Meaning, the more gruesome the story, the more likely it will headline the 30 minute segment. He said that if I wanted to stay up to date on current events, to read the newspaper because I could read the headline and then choose whether to read the article.

Nowadays, you can use online publications, but the principle is the same, control the news that comes into your brain by choosing which stories to read. Further, pick one time per day, per week, per month, whatever, to review the most important news stories. It really doesn’t matter, because any really important story you’ll hear about anyway. Someone in your sphere of influence will say the phrase, “Did you hear…” and follow it up with some horribly tragic story of some small child in Northwest Indiana, blah, ba, blah, blah, blah.

I also don’t watch TV. I record the shows I want to watch and then watch them when I feel like it (usually at night when my newborn won’t fall asleep.) Again I control what is coming into my brain.

Control Your Email: This is the biggest killer of them all, email. First, you need to set aside specific times when you check and respond to emails. Once a week, Once a day, Twice a Day at the most. Based on my schedule, I check emails at 11AM and 4PM. Second, program your email so that only the best stuff gets through to you. Here’s how it happens. Your surfing the web, you run into a squeeze page that asks for an email, you type in your email, and then you start getting emails from that company. If the emails provide great value, then let them flow. But if what they are sending you is garbage, send those to a junk folder. You can always set a time once a month to check the junk folder for anything interesting. I use Outlook and every email automatically goes into a different folder and then I’ll review everything in a folder once a day, once every two days, etc, depending on the folder.

Control Your Social Media: With Facebook and Twitter dominating communication, this can be a massive distraction. Much like email, set specific times to check these. Once per week, once per day, whatever. Personally, I check Facebook and Twitter once a week, sometimes less. Now, I’ll contribute pictures, comments, videos and the like at random times from my cell phone, but I don’t actually log into either accounts but maybe once a week.

Control Your Texting: Although I have texting capabilities, I rarely use it with anyone but my very close family and friends. Once someone knows you are a “texter”, it can be impossible to stop the onslaught of distractions. The same as everything else we have already talked about, check texts at specific times of the day. For me, it’s 11AM and 4PM.

The Cell Phone Exception: Thus far, you have seen a very predictable pattern, control, control, control. I’m going to throw you a curve ball here…the cell phone. I have experienced some of my greatest opportunities because I have picked up my phone. I am going to encourage you to pick up your phone. Now, to avoid annoying callers, make sure your cell phone shows the name of every caller. That way, you can screen those who are not worthy to take up that moment of your time. If they leave a message, you can always call them back. I don’t know exactly why picking up the cell phone is so important, but experience has taught me to pick up my phone.

What does this have to do with real estate investing and short sales? Everything. The #1 reason why people fail, as studied by Tony Robbins organization, is people get “caught up.” They get so caught up focusing on all the minors of life, they run out of time to focus on the majors. Hopefully this will help you focus on the majors so you too can live the life you have always imagined.

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