Steve Koerber

The ‘Four Hour Work Week’ for Real Estate Success

My holiday reading last year was so inspiring I just have to share it with you.  I highly recommend you buy a copy of The Four Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferris.

Step 1 – Process of Elimination

Pareto Principle

*  Quantify 20% of the activities that produce 80% of your desired outcomes

*  Determine the 20% of activities & people that are consuming 80% of your time

*  Apply 80/20 rule to customers, work tasks, personal chores, friends etc

The goal is to:

1.       Find your inefficiencies in order to eliminate them, and

2.       Find your strengths; those critical few tasks in order to multiply them.

Working every minute of every hour between 9 to 5pm isn’t the goal.  That’s simply a structure that has become a habit for most In the knowledge economy.  It’s important to shift from presence to performance, cut out static (all the things that consume time and income without return on investment).  You’ll find that very few things matter.

Step 2 – Cultivating Selective Ignorance

  • Shift to a low information diet.  As an example I cleaned out my internet “favourites” that were increasingly eating my time.
  • Avoid “all input” and “no output”.
  • A more effective approach is to catch up with “news & data” when required, instead of constantly keeping up.
  • Let things wait – especially email!  Nothing is really that urgent.
  • Be more efficient using an email auto-response system.  Send an email to to see mine.
  • Give yourself room to single task and focus on the mission-critical tasks (or as we know it, Dollar Productive Activity) without interruptions.

Step 3 – Outsourcing your life

  • Avoid doing $20 per hour tasks if you’re worth $120 or more per hour.  Get a PA or VA.
  • If you earn $100,000p.a in real estate and on average work 3 “effective dollar productive” hours per working day, assuming 1 day off per week and 5 weeks holiday, you would “work” a total of 831 hours per year.  This equates to $120 per hour.
  • Most honest hard-working salespeople create a false reality and believe they “work” 8 or 10 hour days.  It’s bollocks!
  • If you think you “work” an 8 hour day and you’re actually above average and do 3 hours dollar-productive activity per day, then you’re desecrating 5 hours per day of your life.  How would your family or spouse feel about you “going to work” if they knew the truth?
  • Assuming you earn $100,000 per year, and today, between 1pm and 2pm you wrote an ad, stuffed some envelopes, read some emails, and talked to your manager – those activities earned you $0.  The 3 “dollar productive” hours you hopefully achieved are the ones that gave you your $360 today.
  • Resolve not to work for no reward.  At the very least, resolve to spend your unproductive hours with friends/family or relaxing on the beach – not in the office pretending to work.

In Summary

It’s smart to focus on getting things done, but it’s only possible when you set your “not to-do list”.  Remove the constant distractions and static and focus on the critical few dollar productive activities (DPA) – there really aren’t that many!

Real Estate DPA is simple.  Ask yourself how many of the following activities are you scheduling and performing.  More importantly, ask yourself how many $20 per hour activities fill your days – outside the following key activities in order of priority:

  • Prospecting
  • Listing
  • Negotiating
  • Selling and keeping deals together (thanks Fred Grosse & Bob Wolff!)

Remember, all of the rules we follow (outside of the rules of science) are rules we set ourselves.  So set yourself up to win and choose your own rules.  Buy the book and immerse yourself!

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8 Responses to “The ‘Four Hour Work Week’ for Real Estate Success”

  • Steve continues to produce some very well researched and thoughful advice.
    And I for one, thank him for his time and energy in this area.

    He is a fine example of a real estate professional who is at the top of his game.

    I will be going over this article a number of times and can already see my overburdened inbox getting a regular purging for a start.

  • Thanks Darren, another great thing I’ve done is to set up email rules that put various new emails into dedicated inbox folders (eg: email enquiries). I then read those inbox folders when I’m ready to, after-all the received emails in this folder were all answered automatically anyway. The other great thing about ‘inbox rules’ is that all emails I impose rules upon magically bypass my Blackberry so I don’t get distracted by them throughout the day. The other day I received 30 email enquiries on new listings and didn’t need to attend to any of them.

  • Quality first article Steve. Welcome to the Uni site. I believed that agents could learn some really effective strategies from you and you certainly delivered.

    Funny thing. I read his book over the holidays too. It’s an amazing book.
    There is no question that outsourcing & automation can make life so much simpler for agents, plus it can create a lot less complaints from customers who are waiting to hear back from the agent.

    Your auto-responder email is a terrific strategy.

  • Joan says:

    One thing I struggle with is the fact people nowadays want a response RIGHT NOW (and hurry!)

    I am all too aware of this expectation so tend to fret about it if I’m out and about and get enquiry via emails.

    Let’s face it, texting emails from a blackberry gets a tad tedious after awhile. This auto-response idea is brilliant!

    I am going to set something similar up myself and suggest it to other colleagues here also. Thanks..

  • Hi Steve. I found your site via Keith Barrot (one of my clients) and was instantly attracted to the 4 Hr Work Week link, since I read (and love) the book myself.

    It’s a great book and I am working towards his vision as we speak. With some hard work & good planning, I hope to achieve that goal within 24 months.

    Lots of common sense really – it just takes some good planning and consistent effort to get there, but I don’t think it’s beyond too many people (assuming they’re hard working, persistent and prepared to sacrifice some time in the short term for long term gain).

    Good review of the book by the way. You broke it down into the most important basics. The old 80/20 rule really is important! :-)


    Eran Malloch
    World Wide Web Marketing
    Perth, WA.

  • So how many of you actually have used virtual assistants to run your real estate investing?
    I am doing some research and would appreciate any help inspired by the Four Hour Work Week book by Tim Ferris.
    And I set up a survey at surveymonkey if any interesting info to share – please fill out my survey

    - and if you participate just let me know if you want me to share the results with you :-)


  • Now we’re talking. It had been long since I’ve forgotten all about my dream and become the best in the real estate business. I am very much looking forward for more!

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