Juggling & Dropping the Balls. Nick’s Tough Week.

Time Management / Focus on February 12th, 2011 Comments Off on Juggling & Dropping the Balls. Nick’s Tough Week.

There are just some weeks, when focus and determination sometimes aren’t enough.  Haven’t written a blog in a while, and it was due anyway – this may not be as fun as a review of busting into a rehab, but thanks for letting me vent a bit.

A friend of mine was having a similarly bad week… month… year.  She had a great metaphor, which I’d like to share here.  Life is a show – and you’re a juggling act.  You start when you’re little, and you have one or two small balls you’re learning how to throw up in the air.  As you grow, you get stronger and more coordinated, and you begin to add more balls, and they get heavier and heavier.  Sometimes, when you have things all planned out and things are running good (and the juggling is going smoothly), God sees you as having entered into a comfort zone – and He does what he can to ensure you continue to grow.  He will sometimes throw a whole bunch more misshaped balls and items at you all at once, which you need to keep in the air… and SOMETIMES, you just can’t keep it together – and you drop them all.

Nick had a rough week, and at the end, for the first time in a long time, he couldn’t juggle any more.  It was so bad, in fact, that he’s now talking in 3rd person.  Skip to the end, oh loyal reader, should you just want to get to the meat and bones of this entry.  If you NEED to share in frustrations, you can feel free to keep reading.

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To start, a close member of the office went on a vacation, which was both needed and well deserved.  I thought I was ready for it – I was going to grow my team anyway, and this would be an opportunity for the new person to take over responsibilities, so we could see how it worked out.  The problems began when that new person I had planned on coming in, had a family emergency, and had to back out.  “No prob,” I thought. “ I used to do this business on my own, I can handle it again.”  Then I remembered when I did it on my own, I didn’t have 6 rehab projects going on at once, OR a fantastic investor-friendly real estate brokerage (filled with AWESOME people!), a successful short sale acquisition & negotiation business based in two states, OR an in-house property management firm overseeing my rental portfolio (based in 3 states).  Even just SAYING that, gets me exhausted – which is why I tend to not look at the big picture often enough.

Even still – I knew if I could just chunk down my tasks bit by bit, I could get through it.  I’d market for a new office staff member, I’d set aside time each night to go through the e-mails & voicemails, and I’d continue to systemize certain functions & tasks, etc. etc. to make things easier.

My first problem – I took the time to create an online ad for the position, and attempted posting it in a few online forums.  It wouldn’t stay up for 3 minutes before others “flagged” it, for no apparent reason.  I even then took the time to repost it in the “Why am I being Flagged” forum, where no one could give me an answer.  Challenge & time waster #1 of the week had begun…

Then, I didn’t realize the sheer VOLUME of e-mails and calls would get to me.  E-mails are always easier to manage my workflow (you should try this if you can, and tell people you prefer e-mail…I used to receive up to 30 phone calls a day, and would never get anything done)… but I never realized how many we get in one day – 90% ofwhich are NOT spam, and we actually have to put in effort into a reply or mark down an action item to take care of things.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m VERY happy to have gotten to a point where we get approximately 250 e-mails a day, 180 of which require a response, or are deal submissions, investors looking to get involved, agent inquiries, mentee questions, contractor bids, invitations to speak at events, etc.  I DREAMED of getting to this point, only a short 4 years ago.  But NOW I realize the benefit of having 2 or 3… or 8 people in the office – and sometimes, even NICK sees a mountain of work growing, and all of a sudden, he can’t see over or around it (there’s that 3rd person again).

Then, I checked in at the office, where I had realized my bookkeeper had been sick for a week or so – and I saw 4 bills for utilities for some of the vacant rentals, reaching over $700 EACH – for ONE month.  Followed by shut off notices.  And a response was necessary by THAT day. (I don’t get it either.)  So, Nick had to play bookkeeper, and negotiator for a day.  The worst part was, my staff member then called from PA, and told me several tenants had received similar bills, and that they all gave their notice to vacate, claiming the utility bills were too high.  Another BIG ball to kick in the air.

Then my retail landlord (for the Edible Arrangements)…the GOOD one… called me, and told me our delivery vans were a nuisance to the plow trucks, and we had to move them ASAP, or he would tow them.  Now – the lease clearly stated we had the right to those spaces.  But was it worth the effort to fight it, with the week going as it was?  So, the vans got moved into my complex’s parking lot.  The next day – they wouldn’t start.  Another “urgent” ball to juggle.

Oh – and as I attempted to fix the vans, I jumped in my car to drive to an auto parts store to grab some things, and realized someone, or something had scraped the entire driver side of my car, to the tune of $2000 in damage.  Coupled with a whole bunch of other things that didn’t go as planned this week, challenges that arose – that was the end.  I shut down my computer & phone last night, and I shut down my brain.  Completely.  I didn’t want to even THINK – just experience…nothing.  Silence.

And the balls rolled around on the ground, and I felt they were beckoning me to pick them up again for another round.  I knew that they’d wait.

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I like to think I’m not the type to complain (and yet, here I am).  I also know, there are a ton of people who don’t have a home, are hungry, or soldiers just looking for the next flight home out there.  My problems can’t even compare – and so I realize how blessed I am.  So, as I always ask myself, where are the positives?  What can I learn from the situations that arose?  Where can I improve, and how do I move forward?

You know what – dropping all the balls, though it happens infrequently, is what we NEED to re-analyze, breathe, and re-focus.  If things get so overwhelming to you, I’ve learned it’s OK to give yourself permission to just STOP, and take your next breath.  Re-strategize, and know that the ones who were worth your time beforehand, will understand, when you get back on the stage.  When you throw that first ball back up in the air, before you add the other 100 you’ve learned to balance so well.

I suppose the point to this entry is – no matter how focused, determined, persistent, and open-hearted you are, no matter how positive your attitude – it’s OK to drop the balls every once in a while.

Thanks for allowing me to vent.  Feel free to share if & when you yourself have shut down, and rebooted your own internal self, and the benefits of doing it.

Coming soon… the next video saga begins … 8B Heather Drive in Framingham!

8 week project, from studs to finish.  Now if I only could find an office admin or marketer to assist me in editing and posting these videos or even this blog, we’d be in business.

I’ll see you after my reboot, and when I pick up the pieces and start running again on Monday!  In the meantime… you can send an e-mail.  🙂

Happy Investing!

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