Spring is the busy time of year, especially in real estate and everyone is busy — or, at least, that is what people say. Being busy doesn’t necessarily mean making money, but if I were to tell someone that I’m busy, they would congratulate me.

  • I hate getting the "I'm busy" excuse. We are all busy.
  • If you are always so busy, maybe you haven't figured out your niche yet.
  • My time is valuable, so I am careful how I spend it.

Spring is the busy time of year, especially in real estate, and everyone is busy — or, at least, that is what people say.

Being busy doesn’t necessarily mean making money, but if I were to tell someone that I’m busy, they would congratulate me.

As an industry and as a society we value being busy, and most people would never admit to not being busy when business is slow. Agents who admit that they are not busy might end up with less business because of it.

We always picture great agents as being so busy they don’t have time for anything but business except for returning calls and answering emails. No one has that much time.

We don’t value people who are not busy. We tend to judge ourselves and others based on some imaginary scale of busyness without taking into consideration what people are doing when they are busy. It’s super easy to look busy and to act busy; actual accomplishments are a little harder to come by.

When someone tells me that they are busy, I think to myself — “Sure, you are busy, and do you think you are the only person who is busy?”

Everyone I talk to makes the same claim. What I am really being told is that busyness makes people important, and perhaps too important to answer my question or respond to my email.

Ditch the humblebrag

Lately, I have been dealing with a homeowners association, and the person who is supposed to help me has to remind me that she is out of town, very busy and having trouble keeping up. I have to pretend to that I care — when I really don’t. I am just doing my job, and to be honest, I don’t like the busy excuse.

The humble brag is still a big part of our work culture too. People like to list all the places they have to travel to and the meetings they have to attend to let us all know how busy they are because successful people are busy.

There are a lot of demands on their time, and they want us all to know how hard they work, and they make it all sound like a complaint.

Employ time management your way

When I had a traditional 9-to-5 type job, one of my biggest complaints was that I could often get a day’s worth of work done in two or three hours, but instead of being allowed to go home because I was done, I was “rewarded” with more work. Eventually, I learned to work at a more leisurely pace.

My parents have taught me a lot about time and time management, and it is partly because of them that I am no longer too busy, and I won’t use busy as a reason or excuse. It is something that I have been working hard on.

For more than year, I wasn’t able to work full-time because I was taking care of my parents. During that same period, I had to work to pay the bills, yet somehow I managed to make as much or more money working part-time as I had working full-time in previous years. How can that be?

Create your own adventure

That was a powerful learning experience for me, and it changed how I work and how I schedule myself. I am no longer a 9-to-5 kind of gal who works way past 5 p.m. I work about 35 to 40 hours a week on my business or as long as it takes, which might mean more hours but could also mean fewer.

I constantly search for ways to work smarter and faster and can usually accomplish my goals by taking advantage of technology. The hardest part has been learning to not to feel guilty if I am not working and to keep my perspective about the relative importance of the type of work that I do. No one will die if I work fewer hours.

There aren’t any time clocks to punch, and I don’t even bother starting my work day first thing in the morning unless I have a business reason for doing so, like a meeting or class. I am rarely ever late for anything, and I honor my commitments, but we are not in the industrial age anymore, which means we don’t all have to be in the same place at the same time to be productive or to get our work done.

To me, time is as valuable as money. I trade some of my time each day for money so that I can buy food and have a place to live. It is a good trade most days, and I try not to overthink my role in real estate.

There are plenty of time-sucks for real estate agents. Sometimes we would be better off without some of our clients or agents who take a lot of our time, and other times we fill our schedules with events that don’t add value to business or personal lives.

It is spring, and if you are too busy to notice that the flowers are blooming and the birds are singing, you might want to re-examine how you spend your time and if you really need to be so busy — and maybe even check to make sure that how you spend your time is in alignment will your goals in life.

You might discover that you have more time than you think. Please don’t try to impress me with how busy you are. Saying that you are busy does not make you at all unique.

Just about everyone says they are busy, and often they say they are too busy. If being busy makes you happy, then enjoy it and don’t use it as an excuse or a complaint.

Teresa Boardman is a Realtor and broker/owner of Boardman Realty in St. Paul. She is also the founder of StPaulRealEstateBlog.com.

Email Teresa Boardman.

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