Running a business can feel chaotic.
The phone rings.
Emails pile up.
Research this, complete that, run this errand, correct that problem, meet with those people
–and ‘Pronto Toronto’ too, while you’re at it!
List this. Advertise that. Call them. Consider starting that project. Oh, and don’t forget to post a blog! And post on Facebook.
And – hang on, I just have to take this call –
Where was I?
The day races on and time swirls away leaving you spun around and then it all starts again the next morning.
You get it.
That’s being an entrepreneur. And especially a real estate agent.
Sometimes I get caught up in the swirling tornado of tasks, and have to reset. It’s taken me a while to strike a balance between work, faith, and family, and still don’t get it right all the time. But, in my years as a mom, wife, friend, and real estate agent, I’ve discovered a few secrets to getting things done even when chaos calls.
How to Get Things Done Despite Interruptions & Distractions
Don’t Do Laundry
There isn’t time enough in a day for everything. One of the biggest favors you can do for yourself is to get okay with that right quick.
Allow yourself not to get to some things.
Maybe the grass gets a bit longer this week. Or the weeds in the garden get a bit taller. Maybe instead of folding the laundry, it sits in the basket for a few days.
It’s okay. I promise, no one will die.
Sometimes letting things go is a perfectly sane practice.
Try it – if you really allow yourself – I mean actually give yourself permission to just let laundry be in a pile, or grass to be taller than usual – it won’t weigh on your mind, adding to the pressure you feel. You’ll have more mental and emotional capacity to focus on things that really need doing.
You can’t do everything. Heck, even if you can, do you really want to?
I have a professional photographer, for example, not because I can’t take photos or learn how to take professional, well-lit, high quality photographs. I could learn. But it would take TIME, and that’s something I don’t have a lot of.
Time is a limited commodity, especially for a busy real estate agent, so delegation is gold.
Photography, administrative tasks, errands, research, bookkeeping, writing sales copy… there are so many things that can be assigned to competent people.
Delegation saves time, minimizes stress, and also allows you to focus on the parts of your business you’re especially skilled at and enjoy the most.
Action Item: What one regularly occurring task can you delegate starting this week? Decide which task to delegate, and, if you don’t have someone in mind to do it, begin the hunt for a competent person to assign the task to.
Fill Yourself Up (before you completely empty out!)
Do you take time to rest?
Even if it’s to sit outside for a fifteen minute coffee break, just to get work out of your head?
You really, really should.
Despite our western go-go-go mentality, the fact is our minds, bodies and souls need rest. Every single day, and every single week. A recharging happens during that rest that we can’t get any other way.
My life changed when I finally decided to take one day off each week. I was run down, exhausted, and something had to give. Thankfully, I found a fantastic team member in Eniko, who can serve our clients with excellence, and who I can fully trust while I take time to recharge.
Action Item: Decide to abandon thoughts of work for fifteen minutes today. Ditch the phone, leave the laptop, and think of something completely unrelated to work. If you don’t ever do this, fifteen minutes may be a challenge.
It might be helpful to pray or think about relationships, friendships, ministry, or your life purpose. Or maybe just listening to birds trill and watching leaves flutter in the breeze is the mental break you’ll find most refreshing.
For me it may be as simple as playing with the dogs for a bit. Their affection makes me feel good.
Either way, decide to take fifteen minutes each day for rest.
Only Scheduled Items Get Done
The most effective way to fail at getting anything done is to not schedule it.
Don’t make a plan, just do it ‘later’ or ‘when you have time’ or ‘when you think of it’.
For me, this is a big challenge particularly when it comes to blogging. I want to do it, need to do it (it helps my Google rankings, and people actually hire me because they read my blog and like what I’m about), but if I don’t schedule time to sit down and think about what I want to say, it doesn’t happen. For weeks. Months even.
When I schedule it though, it gets done.
It’s one of those things that’s simple, but not necessarily easy.
Action Item: Choose one task or project you’ve had difficulty completing or getting to. Schedule time to do it. I’m serious – get out your calendar and put it in there right now. Then, keep your appointment with yourself.
What’s one thing that helps you deal with interruptions and distractions?
Post in the comments below.
And remember to share this post with your friends too!
(We need to help each other in this distraction-ridden world…)
When you find that one perfect summer spot that helps you escape it all, you will find yourself returning. I found that spot almost twenty years ago. My daughter was seven or eight when a single mom friend of mine invited us on a camping trip. I hadn’t been able to justify time off or a vacation as a single parent. When I realized I could buy a tent for the price of one night in a hotel room I was committed. Besides, I could use it over and over again. All I needed was a park pass, to rent a campsite, and the gas to get there. Back then $15.00 filled my Chevy Sprint and I could drive a month on a tank. Economical. That was what convinced me to go the first time.
Grand Beach was our destination. Our children played. We ladies chatted. We took turns cooking. Most of all we just loved hanging out at the beach. We started to go every year. Always a memorable time.
After I married Wendell in 2002, we insisted on going back. We used to go the first week of July. It was a bit of a way of celebrating birthdays. My daughter’s birthday is June 29 and mine on July 5. The sun always shines that week. My daughter would bring a friend and off we would go to have a good time. Till the last time. Mama bear and her cubs came through our campsite and that was the last of camping as we knew it. No more sleeping in tents for us.
Last year I was offered an amazing opportunity. I did an opinion of value for a few places in Grand beach. As payment I was offered cash or a few nights at a cottage I had evaluated. That was a no brainer choice. I responded whole heartedly with a YES to the cottage. Since I started real estate in 2010 I had not been on vacation with my husband. I had not even had a day off! I found some trustworthy people to look after business on my behalf and Wendell and I went to the cottage and we’re delighted that my daughter Jerica was able to join us. We had such a great time that I booked the cottage in advance for a week this summer.
I just returned from a memorable week at Grand Beach. I felt happy. Watching young children playing in the sand and water the way my daughter did as a child filled me with happy memories and put many smiles on my face. Watching the teenage girls reminded me of the summers that I took teenage foster girls with me to this very beach. We had amazing weather. We had a windy day where we played like children in the waves. We had leisure time laying in the hot sun. We went on walks every day along the shore line. Most of all we just enjoyed each other’s company in a relaxing environment. Wendell is my best friend and I find him so easy to be with.
While we were there I was notified that my cousin had passed away at 43 years of age. I was glad for some quiet time to reflect, to pray for the family, and consider priorities in my own life.
In my absence, I left my business to my partner and friend Eniko Crozier. I was only gone 5 days. I had a listing coming up and she was to list it while I was away. The seller had confidence in her because I do. But upon my return I find out that she listed three properties in my absence! Aside from showing listings, showing homes to buyers, and getting a SOLD sign put up on my co-list with Yvette Kent, she took my calls and emails so I could relax.
I feel blessed. Truly blessed. Personally. In business. I truly enjoy my career. I truly enjoy having time at home with my husband. Now I can truly have work be uninterrupted when I take a break. Thank you Eniko. I appreciate you and so will each of my clients. You work hard and I want you to be blessed all the days of your life.
(Picture from my flower garden)
This week I’m celebrating my one-year anniversary! It’s been one glorious year since I had my first scheduled day off. That might sound weird to some people, but self-employed people know how difficult it can be to not work when people expect you to.
It’s been an adjustment, but I don’t plan to go back! I went from doing it all on my own to joining a team of professionals, to customizing my own team with Eniko as my right hand woman.
It’s sometimes a challenge to share work with a team mate when I’m perfectly capable of doing it. I’ve done it on my own for so long, I’m used to just doing… everything! But it’s getting easier to share the load – and what a brilliant invention team work is! We can each operate in our strengths, and get help with the things we’re terrible at, or just hate doing.
Probably the biggest adjustment has been letting go of the pride of being busy. We tend to wear busyness like a badge of honor. As an eager, goal-oriented person, it’s tough for me to sit still sometimes.
It helped to read a blog lately, where Tyler Ward said, “Busy isn’t respectable anymore”. I was challenged by that, but also relieved. Being overly busy is not the accolade it once was – now it’s seen more as an inability to manage time, or a self-control issue. (are you squirming? I was!)
So I’ve been intentionally working toward a lifestyle of less busy.
I don’t respond like a paramedic anymore, just because someone calls. Sometimes I’m at a wedding or a funeral, and that’s okay.
Working with a partner frees me to take a day off, so I use it to garden, go to the beach, do housework(groan), or whatever I feel like. I try very hard not to use it for working!
I also make a point to put everything aside when hubby gets home, so I can give him my undivided attention for a while. It’s my way of loving and honoring him, and it doesn’t cost anything. Just setting myself aside for an hour? I can do that.
As I practice these, I find my stress level has dropped considerably. I also find it easier to be in the moment, enjoying wherever I am, even if it’s an open house in the middle of a thunderstorm.
I can’t wait to see what the next year has in store! …How do you avoid the busy badge?