Everyday at 3:34 in the afternoon I am startled by the sound of my alarm on my phone. I still chuckle that nearly everyday this alarm startles me just as much as the rude alarm that wakes me up so bright and early in the morning.
You see I hate to be late. I feel it is rude and disrespectful of someone else’s time. But you know who I hate being late for the most? My kids.
“Just One More Thing….”
My mom, God love her and I do, was always late picking me up from school or band practice or a friend’s house. And I am not saying this to say my mom was bad, in fact I have a great Mom! Punctuality just wasn’t her strong suit then or now.
My mom operates on the theory “I have enough time to squeeze in this one more thing before I go….” So I know that she wasn’t late picking me up not because she didn’t care or because she forgot, but because she was just trying to get that last thing done before the chaos ensued again.
Now that I am a mom, I understand it better than I did when I was a kid. (Isn’t that true about parenting in general once you are the one in the hot seat?!) But I will tell you as a kid, I hated being the last one picked up. It made me sad and lonely and embarrassed. We try to learn from our parents mistakes, just as our parents learned from their parents. One of my lessons is I don’t want to be late to pick up my kids from anything ever.
The Inner Struggle
Our family and friends will often say that I am a carbon copy of my mom. We look alike, we think alike and sometimes even act alike, so I also know that I suffer from the “squeeze in one last thing” syndrome. I knew I needed to figure out how I was going to reconcile my need to squeeze the one last thing in with my need to not be late to pick up my kids.
I decided when school started that first week in September, that I would set an alarm on my phone precisely 6 minutes before my shoes had to be on and I had to be out the door to pick up my oldest from school. That alarm became my mental signal that I had 6 more minutes. That I had 6 more minutes to squeeze one more thing in.
This practice has somehow satisfied both of my needs and in a strange way makes me feel more accomplished playing the dual role of Mom and business owner. Did you know there’s a lot that you can accomplish in just 6 minutes?
In those 6 minutes, I can
- Return 1 lengthy email to a client
- Return 2-3 short emails to clients or partners
- Update my Twitter status and chat with a few of my Twitter friends
- Check in on my challenge group
- Brainstorm 3 new blog post ideas
- Add a few new keywords to posts I have already published
You know what else I can do in 6 minutes? I can take 6 minutes for me. To breathe. To close my eyes. To prepare myself for the chaos that is about to ensue.
Where are your 6 minutes?
I know you are a busy Real Estate Agent. You have to wear all the hats and I swear sometimes I don’t know how you do it. But what could you do in just 6 minutes? Pick up the phone and call a past client you haven’t touched base with in 6 months? Drop a handwritten note to a new acquaintance that is thinking about selling their house? Schedule out that next email newsletter mailing?
I know that you don’t always have an hour or even a half hour in your day to work on your business, but I bet you could find just 6 minutes. Six minutes to breath. To think. To do something nice for someone else. Or maybe take that 6 minutes for yourself every once in awhile before the chaos ensues.
Yes, everyday the alarm does startle me at 3:34 pm, but I have come to look forward to that sound everyday. It is a reminder to me to take the 6 minutes to do something for my business before the best part of my day comes home. Taking those 6 minutes to do something that fulfills me, makes it so I can fill up someone else later– in fact 3 important someone elses.
Where can you find 6 minutes in your day everyday that you can set an alarm for? Are you like me and hate being late so this is a normal habit for you? Are you traumatized by being picked up late too?! Please share with me about it in the comments below. I would love to hear about your thoughts!