Procrastination is the thief of time

Words by Margaret Lomas

I get the chance to speak to a lot of property investors all the time, and I think I know how many of them tick.  Often it’s at a seminar that I meet them, and they leave so full of excitement and determination – ready to go and get started straight away!

You might identify with this. Most likely you’ve been to a seminar or read a great property investing book and started planning what to do next.  Some people make a firm commitment to get right into it and finally start investing, others plan on how they can expand their existing portfolio. All in all there’s usually excitement in the air and a conviction that action will follow. 

The next day at work the excitement continues, at least until morning tea time.  Colleagues are apprised of the situation, the great seminar that had provided the motivation to take the future by the horns.

By noon, it becomes apparent that enough time has been spent on excitedly imagining the future as a die-hard property investor and work needs to become the focus.  By this time, you might have even looked at real estate websites and considered hotspots.

Friday night and the exhaustion of working so hard kicks in and all you want is a glass of red and to sit in front of the heater watching The Voice. Tomorrow you’ll get into it.

Saturday dawns and you have things to attend to first – clean the house, mow the lawn, get the kids to and from sport, go shopping, call your mother, put on a load of washing.  By afternoon you haven’t stopped, so it’s time to sit for a little bit, you’ll switch on the computer later and get started on the big dream of owning a swag of investment properties.  There’s plenty of time.  You can even start tomorrow.

Sunday arrives and – well it’s Sunday and it’s your only real day off so you’re not even going to go near the computer. Instead, you read the paper – there’s news that interest rates might rise and that the property market looks set to be affected.  Mmmm. That’s Ok, it’s only one report, but probably lucky you haven’t done too much work yet.  Monday morning and someone enquires whether you have bought a property yet, referring to that latest news.  When you say ‘no, I was busy on the weekend’ they say ‘maybe a good thing’. None of the agents have gotten back to you about your enquiries anyway, it just shows how hard this whole thing is going to be if you can’t even trust those in the industry.  The ball is in their court now anyway – what can you do but wait until they phone you?

Deep inside your mind that little voice (the one you call reason, but which in fact is really called roadblock) comforts you with comments like ‘you’re not really ready yet’, and ‘it’s a big step and you’re not really equipped, you should wait until you know more’ and ‘I could lose big time here so I really should wait until the news is better/the property market is booming/ I have more money/ pigs fly/ hell freezes over’.  Yes, that feels better – you’ve made a decision and you’re sticking to it.

Until next year, when you go to a seminar again and you get fired up again, only by then you also kick yourself for not taking action sooner, because you can see the bargains you missed and the people who went home after the seminar and, tired as they were got on the internet that night and found their first, or next property and, despite being busy/tired/overworked, killed themselves making it happen because they did not want to be in your position next year!

Does this sound like you?  Which person are you?  Are you the person who, despite an impossible workload, too many commitments, lack of knowledge and the uncertainty that still exists decides that now is the time and you will not stop until you own a property?

Or, will I see you next year, head hung a little as you tell me how excited you were last year but how life got in the way and you just couldn’t take action.  The time wasn’t right.  The planets just didn’t align.

It’s so easy to find an excuse not to get started, but much harder to find an opportunity to get into it.  Your first (or next) investment property isn’t going to come knocking on your door, and building a portfolio isn’t going to come without challenges, drawbacks and risks.  But retirement will be on your doorstep in the blink of an eye and by then it will be too late.

So, what are you going to be doing this Saturday?

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