Five Ways To Find Balance When You’re Too Busy Or Not Busy Enough
Article Published by: forbes
Too busy or not busy enough. It can seem like we only experience either extreme.
In any business, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture and get caught up in urgent tasks that are ultimately less important. For example in real estate, agents must have a “pipeline” versus “transaction” mentality. That means keeping an eye on the big picture and your business development rather than getting bogged down by day-to-day administration. If you don’t focus on what’s important, you get through the busywork to find that you have no leads.
It can also be difficult to stay focused and maintain perspective when business is slow. When you’re busy, you’re talking with others and meeting potential leads every day, which is beneficial to your sales pipeline. When you aren’t busy, that doesn’t happen as naturally. This makes it tempting to focus on small tasks rather than business development just to feel productive.
In 20 years I’ve seen many ebbs and flows in the real estate business. Here is what I’ve learned that can apply to any industry.
1. Start and guide your day with the right tools.
Sticking to your priorities is easier said than done, I know. We can have the best intentions when we start the day — but then the day happens.
Purposefully starting your morning helps. To do this, I use the Full Focus Planner and BestSelf productivity tools. Each morning I write down my “Big Three” — the most important tasks I need to accomplish that day. I organize other tasks and notes, plan my calendar, and review my week. These tools optimize my weekends as well.
You can find countless articles promising the perfect morning routine. While those routines are great, none are perfect. I wake up at 4:50 a.m. every day, but that doesn’t work for everyone! Experiment to find what works best for you.
2. Protect your schedule with time blocking.
The concept of work-life balance is popular. It isn’t as popular to look at work as part of your lifestyle, but you have to when you work weekends, like those of us in real estate — and I think it helps.
When blocking my calendar, I start with my personal time with family or at the gym. This is the framework for everything else, which helps prevent work from creeping in.
The idea behind time blocking is that you focus your time and attention on a particular task by blocking it off on your calendar in advance. This also helps protect your most essential work priorities — those big-picture focus areas that can get pushed aside by less important tasks.
For example, while servicing clients is a top priority, so is business development. When I set time on my calendar to follow up with old contacts, it’s easier to schedule additional calls for 3 p.m. instead of 1 p.m.
This helps you prioritize your goals, but it’s equally important to know when something is urgent and worth being flexible.
3. Have a plan for the crazy days.
The unexpected happens sometimes. When I have a crazy day and need to refocus, I leave the office for 10 minutes to meditate. I don’t try to control my thoughts or stop them. Just closing my eyes and focusing on breathing can work wonders.
There’s a proverb that says, “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour.” Regardless of whether you meditate, the point is that your routine is even more critical when you don’t have time for it.
It also takes discipline to stick to your schedule when you aren’t busy. If you have down time, first tackle those things that you always put off. But if you don’t have those nagging items on your to-do list and you don’t get downtime often? Enjoy it!
4. Biohack your health.
No matter your routine, your health should be one of your top priorities. We all know that we should eat nutritious foods and exercise, but how often do we measure our progress?
Dave Asprey talks about “biohacking” in his Bulletproof Radio podcasts. My favorite biohacking advice is to get your blood tested regularly. Blood tests can measure insulin, cholesterol, vitamin levels and so much more. This alerts you if something is awry and you can see the benefits of good habits you form.
I also see a longevity specialist, get a massage regularly, and have regular chiropractic adjustments.
5. Remember what’s important.
Don’t forget how much your personal life impacts your work life.
Choose a partner whose priorities complement yours. For example, it’s essential that my wife and I travel once a year. She also loves the planning, which is great for me! It’s truly relaxing when we go on vacation.
Travel is key to your wellbeing and helps gain perspective. When you go on vacation — even if it’s just across state borders — enjoy it as best you can. Sometimes work is inevitable, so I continue to block my time while on vacation. That way I catch up on emails before my family wakes up.
It’s also important to live somewhere that makes you happy. For me, that’s Malibu, California. I love the nature and peacefulness. While that means I have a longer commute, that’s OK. It’s worth it to me, and I make a lot of calls while I drive.
You may not like long commutes. In that case, prioritize living somewhere that makes yours shorter. If that isn’t possible, look for ways to make your commute more enjoyable, for example listening to an audiobook or podcast or reconnecting with someone on the phone.
My closing advice is to take it one day at a time. If you have a bad day, you can always start over. String together a few good days, and you have a good life.
About Jaime Bonetti Zeller
Jaime Bonetti Zeller is an investment professional and entrepreneur with businesses in multiple industries. He is president of Servicios Consulares Eurodom, the local partner in the Caribbean region for VFS Global, a leader global outsourcing and technology services specialist for diplomatic missions and governments worldwide. Jaime Bonetti Zeller also started the company Sofratesa de Panama inc., an organization in the engineering services industry located in Panama City.