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Realtors that say “I’m so busy” – a sign of business success or failure?

Realtors are famous for touting how busy they are, but does this convey success or failure? There are two schools of thought on the topic, and three surefire solutions to being productive regardless of which camp you follow.

busy team

One day a few years back, an agent friend of mine popped her head in the door. I asked her how things were going, and she told me that she was “so busy.” With no deals currently in escrow and not a particularly significant pipeline, I wondered about her use of the words “so busy.”

First and foremost, no matter how many plates I am spinning, I would never, ever tell anyone that I was so busy. It seems to send the message that I don’t have enough time for them. And, it may shut people out.

There are many people who disagree with that philosophy including, Michael Port, the author of Book Yourself Solid. Port believes that telling clients how busy you are and how you don’t have any time for them is a means of winning business because human nature is to want something we can’t have. Who would you rather have as your Realtor®: The busy gal with loads of listings or the guy who hardly has any clients?

On the other hand, being “too busy” can actually be a sign of our inability to manage our daily activities well. Though most real estate professionals have pretty hectic schedules, few agents have a legitimate need to be busy all the time. It’s possible that they just don’t prioritize well. 

“Being busy is not the same as being productive,” says Tim Ferriss, “…and is more often used as a guise for avoiding the few critically important but uncomfortable actions. Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action.”

If you want to make big bucks in real estate, you cannot sing the “I’m too busy” song. You must try to find ways to restructure your daily and weekly activities. When you tell others (and yourself) that you are too busy, you are turning down the opportunity to do more and be more.

3 Ways to Stay Productive Instead of Busy

One of the easiest ways to be productive is to put things on a calendar. For example, if you are planning to send your sphere of influence a monthly newsletter, plan the whole year right now. Add the dates for printing and mailing to your calendar now. Refer to your calendar to keep yourself accountable.

Another way to stay productive and in control is to quit fixating on minutiae. Namely, leave your drama at the door. When you walk into the office fully intending to prospect for two hours and then your seller calls about a missing key or an overflowing toilet, everything is derailed. Evaluate what is sucking your time, and figure out a way to overcome “time sucks” so that you can focus on generating new business.

You can easily avoid the “I’m too busy” mantra when you learn more about productivity tools and seek ways to outsource time-consuming tasks by leveraging assistants and support staff. Focus on what you do best, and let other people do the rest. In the short sale world, my team has helped lots of agents with the short sale processing, while they work on building a strong pipeline.

The next time you feel like your head is spinning and you are “too busy,” think again. Busy is something you’re probably not. It’s likely that you just need a better method for managing everything—one that will give you plenty of time for all the things you really want to do with your life and with your business.

Melissa is an in-demand business success speaker and author, as well as a real estate broker with thousands of short sale transactions under her belt. She leverages her experience as a short sale insider to motivate thousands of business professionals to plan their careers better, execute more effectively on their plan, and earn more because of it.


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