Handling Busy Part 1

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You have no idea how busy I am.  If you are like me, hearing that grates a nerve deep inside you.

Of course you know how busy I am! Like most professionals, you’re just as busy. In our lives the demands often overwhelm the number of hours we allocate and we are forced to manage tradeoffs. Fortunately, (or unfortunately), we all have the same 8,765 hours in a year to achieve the lofty goals we set in December. You have the same amount of time as Bill Gates and (insert name of person you think is killing it here).  

Unfortunately, most professionals often wear “busy” as a badge of honor. Idolizing your business limits confidence in yourself, limits your ability to be referred, and limits trust. I learned this first hand early in my career, when Joe Stumpf told a room of 4,000 people that, “the number one thing you can do today to increase the number of referrals you receive is to stop telling customers you don’t have time to serve their family and friends.”

Three things Real Estate Pro’s forget in the midst of their busy schedules are:  1) You are special, but you aren’t unique. 2) Emotional Intelligence wins. 3) Slow down to speed up.

Entrepreneur multitasking outdoor

You Are Special but Your Situation Isn’t Unique

You have a purpose and are capable of changing lives, but guess what? So is everyone else! When you have a deal go sideways or end up with three contracts at once or your Underwriter produces a last minute condition it is imperative to remember your situation is not unique.  If your deal goes sideways, your lender has four going sideways. If you have three contracts, your TC has 15, and Underwriters don’t condition for the entertainment value (although it feels like that sometimes).  You are significant but your situation is not exclusive. Remember that we are all in the same boat. 

Emotional Intelligence Wins 

Self awareness is key to handling busy. “If your emotional abilities aren’t in hand, if you don’t have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can’t have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.” Daniel Goleman says it perfectly in his book Emotional Intelligence. Self awareness is the key to handling busy. You are an influencer and creator of your own universe. You receive what you deliver into your process and the people you influence.  Are you sending the right message?

Slow Down To Speed Up

Over 500 yrs ago, Saint Francis de Sales said, “Half an hour’s meditation each day is essential, except when you are busy. Then a full hour is needed.” We are living through a renaissance of mindfulness and 500 year old lessons are more relevant than ever. I find that the busier I am, the more planning it takes to be effective.  When I build a plan, I have a clear path to victory.  

Sometimes busy brings out the worst in our communication skills.  The “off my desk” mentality is a trap. Creating a constant stream of incomplete work from your office slows everyone down, is selfish, and kills deals. Slow down, finish one thing at a time, and get it done well. Counter-intuitively, things will speed up.  

The next time you find yourself completely overwhelmed, remember: You aren’t the only one, be aware, and slow down.  

In part two of Handling Busy, I explore four tactics you can use to help manage busy: Finish the job, communicate less and better, squeak properly and manage upstream.