How Do You Know When You Are Too Busy?

By: Shad Bookout

Does it seem to you like things in your office have been crazier over the past few weeks? We travel around to multifamily communities all over the U.S., and we have noticed a shift happening in many leasing offices. Sure, all of us are busy and, with the increased demand for apartments, there are more customers than ever before. But that is not the type of busy we are talking about. The shift we are seeing is creating new levels of stress — not from customers, but from within. So how do you know when you have become too busy and what should you do when the moment arrives?

Let’s start with the hard part: knowing when it happens. The truth is that you might never see it coming until it is too late. You are just there, working on a renewal, and then suddenly it seems like all hell breaks loose (at least, that is how it seems in your head). Think about all the different things that can happen in your work day all at once.

As a multifamily professional, you already wear a variety of hats at any given time. But add the stressors to any given moment:

  • Your team is short one person because they called in sick.
  • You have a new prospect tour that just entered the leasing office.
  • The phone is ringing.
  • Your email alert chime just went off.
  • “That Resident” (you know the one) is walking in the other door.
  • A supplier is sitting with the assistant manager talking about something.
  • Is it going to rain today?
  • Did I return that text from earlier?
  • Where am I going to put this tower of packages that UPS just dropped by my desk

We have to deal with more distractions than ever before, and this is leading to less available time. In order to hold back the tide coming at you, you first must eliminate the small distractions that are going to attack your time down the road. Automate anything that you can, so that the interruptions those distractions cause simply go away. All the other small things can be handled in volume at set moments throughout the day.

But, even when you eliminate the small things, the day(s) will still come where the stars align to create that perfect storm that drives you from a normal day and into one of the ones that calls for a glass of wine (or two or three) at day’s end. Try to recognize it early and call in as much support as possible. If additional support if not available, be sure to write down everything that is going on so nothing gets missed. Rank each item from 1 to 3 on its level of need and how long it will take. Now, handle them in the order of importance. Put those quick-to-handle items from earlier at the hour before lunch and the hour before going home.

Once the ball is in motion, the momentum is hard to stop. Pause and take a breath. It is not worth getting worked up over. The onslaught coming at you wants you to feel overwhelmed. Don’t let it win. Take care of the important task at hand and make the rest wait its turn. Customer’s needs (real needs – not their imagined ones) come first. Office needs come last (sorry, but it is just business). When it starts to get to you, take five minutes, step away (without your digital devices), and take a moment to simply center yourself. If you are going to get through this, you need all of your faculties.

How do you know when you are too busy? You only know once you are there. What do you do about it? Eliminate the small distractions, automate the ones that technology can solve, and prioritize the bigs ones by size and need. And, above all else, do what you need to do for yourself to stay at peak performance.

Let us know what you like to do with those moments you step away to decompress in the comments section.

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