Real Estate Agents and the 'I'm too busy' Mantra

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Broadpoint Properties Cal BRE #01324959

real estate productivityAs Broker-in-Chief (not to be confused with Commander-in-Chief) of a real estate brokerage and also as head honcho our short sale operation, I spend much of my day chatting with agents. When agents ask me to hold them accountable for their productivity in weekly meetings, I often hear them tell me things like “But, I was busy” (also… “I was too busy” or “I’m too busy”). 

When I hear that battle cry, I almost feel like the late Gary Coleman when he would say to his actor brother, “What you talkin’ about, Willis?”

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 evaluate your own productivity and to make yourself accountable.  When you tell others (and yourself) that you are too busy, you are turning down the opportunity to do more and be more.

One of the easiest ways to be productive and make yourself accountable 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 (or sending to the printer) and mailing to your calendar now. And, use your calendar to keep you accountable.

Another issue arises when agents spend too much time fixing and fixating and not enough time prospecting and planting seeds. Evaluate what you did in 2011, what made you money, and where you lost a lot of time. If you took the same buyer to 105 properties and wrote 37 offers, yet he still wants to look around, that buyer might be a time suck. So, evaluate your productivity and learn from your mistakes.

Another way to avoid the I’m too busy mantra is to learn more about productivity tools and figure out ways to outsource time-consuming tasks by leveraging virtual assistants. Focus on what you do best, and let other people do the rest. In the short sale world, we help lots of agents with the short sale processing, while they work on building a strong pipeline.

Two years ago during the holidays I read Gary Vaynerchuk’s book Crush It!  One of the big points that he makes is that for people who love what they do and are passionate about what they do, time doesn’t matter; those people never feel busy even though they might spend every waking moment doing what others might feel to be busy work.

Think about it. Are you working in something that you are passionate about? Or, does it feel like work? And, when was the last time that you said, “But, I was too busy.”

Some food for thought for 2012.


(photo credit)



Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Wallace S. Gibson, CPM 01/01/2012 03:09 AM
  2. Linda Jamail Marshall 01/01/2012 05:15 AM
  3. Robert L. Brown 01/01/2012 06:57 AM
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John Souerbry
Cordon Real Estate - Fairfield, CA
Homes, Land & Investments

I interviewed an agent to do new construction sales, manning an on-site office during specific hours.  She couldn't work shift X because she drove the kids carpool to school in the morning.  She couldn't work shift Y because it interferred with her 3 times per week yoga class.  She couldn't work shift Z because it interferred with her girl's lunch on Friday.  Didn't take too long to see why no other brokers in town would give her a contract.  I didn't, either.

Jan 02, 2012 03:27 AM #52
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

I clicked over to your productivity post and read about CardMunch. Hadn't heard of that one. Going to download that right away.

Jan 02, 2012 03:27 AM #53
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
your real estate writer

I tend to be "too busy" to get on tasks that I really dread doing - like figuring out why I can't view my own domains on my new computer.

I've already spent hours on it and the thought of more hours is awful. So, I keep putting it off, thinking "I'm too busy to spend 3 or 4 hours on that today."



Jan 02, 2012 03:46 AM #54
Debbe Perry
Real Living Carolina Property - Morganton, NC
828.439.3084 Morganton/Lake James NC

Sometimes I think the "I'm too busy" comment comes from the feeling, "I'm scared and really don't know what to do."

But sometimes it comes from the "Watch my hands, not my feet" feeling.

Whatever it is, it's not a valid comment, and it's certainly not something our clients and customers want to hear, so let's delete it as a comment we use this year!

Great post!

Jan 02, 2012 04:21 AM #55
Jeanne Dufort
Coldwell Banker Lake Country - Madison, GA
Madison and Lake Oconee GA

Its the "busy" people who get the most done!  Some of us manage workloads better than others, and some us us "juggle" and "multi-task" better than others.  The key to being a successful independant contractor is to understand your personal strengths and weaknesses, and implement support systems that will lead to success.

Jan 02, 2012 05:10 AM #56
Marshall Brown
Mid America Inspection Services, LLC - Fargo, ND

For the top producers I would guess they could be too busy for some activities but for many the problem is not that they are too busy but they are too busy doing the wrong things.

Jan 02, 2012 05:20 AM #57
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA


"Focus on what you do best, and let other people do the rest." How true, how wise, and how important! I love what I do as a realtor, but there are some tasks that are simply beyond my ability. Hence, where I can, I hire professionals to do the job, and focus on what makes me happy doing: being a realtor, talking with clients, building my business, prospecting, etc.

Thanks for the wondeful blog that puts it all in perspective.

Jan 02, 2012 05:38 AM #58
Jennifer Chiongbian
Specializing in all types of Manhattan apts & townhouses - Manhattan, NY
Real Estate Broker - NYC

I always have to calendar my activities for the day and make sure they get done.  By the end of the day it is almost always wiped clean to start a new the next with a clean slate.  Keeps me organized and if any unforseen things crop up, I can squeeze it in somewhere and never say I am too busy.

Jan 02, 2012 05:42 AM #59
Ann Wilkins
Bay Sotheby's International Realty - Oakland, CA
Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont CA

Reviewing the past year and seeing where the wasted time was spent is always very productive.  It made me much more selective with the clients that I take on.  Still working on setting up my marketing plan for the year  and making it happen.  I always do a detailed business plan for each year - very helpful.  Like some of the comments above - I do procrastinate at times.  Focusing on that for 2012.


Jan 02, 2012 06:38 AM #60
Michelle Minch
Moving Mountains Design Home Staging, Pasadena, CA - Los Angeles, CA
Home Staging Los Angeles and Pasadena, CA

Melissa: I agree - one of the best ways to stay organized (and hold yourself accountable) is to create a calendar or to-do list for yourself. Yes, I am busy, but never too busy to earn more money or find new clients. I don't get the "I'm too busy" chant. If you are that busy, then you should be making enough money to hire an assistant or VA to help you.

Jan 02, 2012 10:51 AM #61
Rocky Dole
Revelation Real Estate - Maricopa, AZ

Most of the time if people would spend the time that they waste making excuses to be more productive then it will be amazing what that they can accomplish.  People waste way too much time making excuses and not enough time being productive.  That is one reason that so many people fail in business and in other things.

Jan 02, 2012 11:11 AM #62
Winston Heverly
Winston Realty, Inc. - Atlantis, FL

I don't use this term, for I always felt it was giving an excuse for being lazy. There is an old saying we all have heard. When things need to get done give it to a busy person. Not a I'm too busy person.

Jan 02, 2012 11:23 AM #63
Joy Carter & Jeff Booker Brother and Sister Team
Keller Williams Parkland/Coral Springs Realty-GreatFloridaHomes Team - Coral Springs, FL
Trust Your Family's Move To Our Expertise!

I worked this entire Holiday week because we had clients that wanted to make offers.  I left so many messages that went unanswered...not even a please reschedule for next week. 

I hope things improve tomorrow and these agents can go back to a working mode....  Joy

Jan 02, 2012 11:45 AM #64
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I find that in many areas of life people fill themselves with busy work to avoid what really needs to be done.

Jan 02, 2012 01:24 PM #65
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas


Great input.  I have "Crush It" so just need to get reading!  I should have bought it on CD so I can listen to it in the car!  I'm busy but still enjoy it!

Jan 02, 2012 03:17 PM #66
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Melissa, excellent post.  I agree, it's all about the 80/20 rule.

Jan 02, 2012 10:10 PM #67
Sylvie Stuart
Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765 - Flagstaff, AZ
Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta

"I'm too busy" is an excuse we could all use. If you really want to achieve the goals you set out for yourself, you need to work around that, prioritize, put things in your calendar, as you said, and delegate. I used to be "too busy" and then I started delegating what I didn't need to be doing that was sucking my time. I am still busy, but not "too busy".

Jan 03, 2012 12:29 AM #68
Lehel Szucs
All Seasons Real Estate, Inc. - Covina, CA
REALTOR of choice

one of the few commitments I made for myself this year is to do more farming and prospecting .... how else am I going to get business .. .referrals only go so far .... 

Jan 03, 2012 05:21 AM #69
Jairo Arreola
Lotus Group Realty - San Jose, CA
VA Home Loan Specialist - SF Bay Area - South Bay

Thanks for the blog. I stopped by your page and there is some great info. Good Luck in 2k12

Jan 04, 2012 08:21 AM #70
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

Great blog post.  The thing is, we all have the same amount of time in the day and there are some who crush it and some who are "too busy."  I'm trying to work on my productivity this year..-Kasey

Jan 15, 2012 12:01 PM #71
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Melissa Zavala

Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County
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