Tuesday, December 21

Putting the Rest of My Life on Auto-Pilot

Most of my friends and family chuckled when I told them I was opening a restaurant. Not because they thought it was funny but rather because I'm the guy that's always working on a new project. Guess it's the ADD in me rearing its ugly face. It's more than that, though. I'm just not a lazy person - I have to keep pushing myself day after day or I get bored.

The secret for me is being able to automate my life as much as I can. There's no way I could own and operate a restaurant, manage 7+ rental properties (more about that "+" later), write a blog, mystery shop, and deal with all the other responsibilities I have.

Here's how I do it.

Rental Properties
  • The rental properties have the most potential to require my time, so I've worked hard to simplify things: Of my 7 leases, 1 still has 5+ years on its 7 year lease, 1 runs through the middle of 2013, 1 just did an early renewal for a year, and 2 just started on a 1 year lease. In fact, I only have to deal with one renewal in all of 2011.
  • I've generally invested in my properties to keep them in solid condition, so I don't expect many surprises as far as maintenance goes.
  • When an issue does arise, I have a short list of contractors I am loyal to. Since they know me and we trust each other, they will do the work without me being present and send me a bill.
Mystery Shopping
  • I'll be very selective with my shops, particularly at first. I seriously doubt I'll do any restaurant shops since I'll be around food all day. But I'll probably do some gas stations (I'll be driving a lot). And, when I do start taking days off again (hopefully after 2-3 months I'll be able to work 5-6 days a week instead of all 7), I'll definitely seek out hotel shops since those are my favorite. What better way to switch gears and decompress than getting out of town for a night, even if it is a working vacation (I'm not good at taking "real" vacations when I can do some work at the same time).
  • I'll have to consider whether I can continue to do speaking engagements at different conferences. I love doing it, and my audience seems receptive. I'll have to be careful about the commitments I make. Same with media interviews and responding to every single email I receive.
All That Other Stuff
  • I've already started removing my email address from some lists. I spend way too much time on email everyday.
  • I just serviced my car and will be sure to get a haircut a couple of days before we open. Fortunately, the cosmetology school I like to use for a haircut is less than ten minutes from the restaurant.
  • I'm letting several magazine subscriptions expire.
Basically, I'm trying to get everything done that I can before we open. A side benefit to this is that some of the things I usually procrastinate about, like scanning documents (paperless office), are finally getting done.

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