There’s always something to howl about

I’m a time-waster. How about you?

Here’s the point: My name is Greg Swann, and I am a time-waster. My next closing is Wednesday, November 17th, 2010.

It’s news that is my special poison, a quick check of major news and opinion sites several times a day. Stir that in with email, some of it work, some of it work-ish, some of it just more time-wasting. And blend all of that with lots of tiny little brief chores done for clients at various stages of “the process.”

That’s a half-productive day. I start at six, finish at six or nine or one — the next day. And if I spin in place like that all day, I can get half as much done as I should have.

It’s not that I’m working from home. I’ve worked from home for almost twenty years, and I’ve always been able to get a lot done when I need to.

And it’s not the internet as such — duh! I’ve worked on the internet for most of my life.

And I’m not even really a bad, bad boy. It’s just checking this for a minute and that other thing for a couple more, all while taking care of business, yes-sir-ee-boss. By the end of the hour, I’ve rarely wasted more than 20 minutes, so what’s the beef?

The beef would be the stuff that’s missing between these two slices of bread, as it turns out.

I don’t care for the example being set by prominent members of the on social media sites, but I also don’t care if their seemingly-constant TwitBooking helps or hurts them.

This is what I care about: Hundreds and thousands of ordinary working stiffs are mimicking those poor examples, in the mistaken belief that scrupulously documenting every burp and bowel movement will make them successful.

But, from my own corpus: “Egovangelist, motivate thyself!” It’s all one thing, and the way to help other people get good at getting things right is to get good at getting things right. I love to think of myself as a hugely productive being, and the job that matters most to me is not scolding other people for being worse than me, but simply to be better myself.

If I can set a good example, so much the better. But as hard as I work, I want to get a lot more done.

I have other things I want to talk about, but this has to come first, I think. I know not everyone can be as public as I often am — and I think my own error has been not to be public enough — but if you have it in you to make a similar confession, you might be doing some starving Realtor or lender a big favor.

Here’s my bottom line: I can describe defects in human behavior so tellingly because I have lived everything I talk about. I have never wanted to represent myself as a paragon of virtuous behavior — too much the contrary. And while I know what virtue looks like, it’s not an attribute I am always adept at embodying. I think it’s funny that I seem to be so notorious among what is actually a very small pool of people, but there is nothing I want for anyone in this business — or for anyone on earth — except health, wealth and the happiness that comes from being your best possible self.

That’s where I live — when I’m alone, and most of the time when I’m with Cathleen. The more I work, the more of my self I express, so I am twice foolish to waste any time, ever. My plan is to amend my ways, and, as I have done of late, to document my progress and observations.

What about you? If you can say it, say it. If you can’t, at least do it. I’m a time-waster, but, alas, my name is legion. As with every human vice, this is a correctable nuisance. But it demands correction.

And: So: Please excuse me. I have work to do.

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    14 Comments so far

    1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Real Estate Feeds and Tom Hunter, My REALTY. My REALTY said: I’m a time-waster. How about you?: Here’s the point: My name is Greg Swann, and I am a time-waster. My next clos… [...]

    2. John Kalinowski November 11th, 2010 4:19 am

      Now that’s the Greg Swann I enjoy reading! Your point is well-taken, as I also need to work on my time wasting, particularly when it comes to being drawn into countless blog post replies. “My name is John, and I am a habitual blog responder.” No more. I would be better off focusing on creating my own blog presence than wasting time fighting attacks from anonymous egotists who often lurk in the shadows of this blog. ;)

      Thanks, Greg, for helping me amend my ways too! I’ll still be here, watching and learning, and using the ideas to help improve my life and business, and ultimately my family’s life. That’s why I was initially drawn to reading BHB, and that’s why I’ll continue!

    3. John November 11th, 2010 5:50 am

      The curse of the internet – distractions are just a few keystrokes away. I’m guilty of being a time waster too.

    4. Jessica Horton November 11th, 2010 6:43 am

      Itunes. I could explore new (to me) bands and singers for hours. I’m also guilty of playing some cards every now and then…

    5. Mark Madsen November 11th, 2010 9:29 am

      I live in Google Reader, from my iPhone, which keeps me off the web for hours and hours wondering where I started or what I was looking for.

    6. Scott Cowan November 11th, 2010 9:47 am

      I too am a time waster. I would like to say I am getting better and perhaps in some ways I am. However, I too waste way too much of my working day chasing Alice down the rabbit hole of the Internet.

      I am signing off for the day (at least the business hours of the day) today I will not waste anymore time.

    7. Jim Klein November 11th, 2010 10:21 am

      I’m not sure I know what wasting time is. The closest translation I get is, “choosing to engage an action that you have judged is less beneficial than an alternative action.” And that in turn translates to basically “making a misjudgment,” or worse, “proceeding on a known misjudgment,” both of which are instances of subtle misidentifications.

      Epistemically, this all translates to “not being true” and ethically “not being true to (or with) yourself.” Our time is wholly our own—perhaps literally physically and surely effectively. I’m not sure of the “therefores” which follow from that, but I’m guessin’ there are some.

      Speaking of misidentifications, John…it’s “egoist,” not “egotist;” major difference. And me, I’ve never seen an anonymous poster or commenter here, but I guess you could be referring to something I’ve never come across. I doubt it, though. IMO, there is no greater waste for a human than to proceed on information that he knows, or could know, is false. Nearly as I can tell, it’s the ultimate cause of every waste and evil on Earth.

      The reason Splendor is within our grasp is because we finally have enough knowledge to understand it.

    8. Chris Johnson November 11th, 2010 10:31 am


      I turned on “Rescue Time” not long ago. And, that changed my life. I am achieving about 35 hours weekly of real production on my macs.

      My income is up, my wife is as happy as any woman ever gets, and I’ve got more time to think and ponder.

      It’s $72/annually.


    9. Al Lorenz November 11th, 2010 11:53 am

      Guilty as well. But it is sort of like fishing. Random rewards, like catching a fish, just encourage the behavior.

      If I hadn’t been willing to look around on the internet, I would have never found BHB. I’ve used many of the things discussed and debated here to make my business more productive.

      Tell me you haven’t found some things that enhanced your life with some of that “unproductive” time! The goal would be how to get those nuggets with less time…

    10. Greg Swann November 12th, 2010 6:50 am

      > Tell me you haven’t found some things that enhanced your life with some of that “unproductive” time!

      Oh, indeed. Meanwhile, as I’m catching up on comments here, I just comped a house that I’ll be writing a contract on later today. My clients live all over the world and work all hours of the day and night, so just being at my desk makes me available to be productive.

      For all his faults, Tom Hopkins offers up a great question in Mastering the Art of Selling Real Estate — “Am I making the most productive use of my time?” It doesn’t mean that one must work like a dervish all the time. It simply means, that, whatever it is you have chosen to do in this moment, are you doing that one thing all the way, or are you letting distractions sap your productivity?

      Here’s my own take on that theme, and I am dying to do this in front of an audience: If you want to know what a total commitment feels like — have an orgasm. That’s what I want — and often get from my work day — a commitment so total to the work I am doing that I am not doing anything else. It’s how I write, and it’s how I sell, when I’m selling at my best.

    11. Greg Swann November 12th, 2010 7:00 am

      > Thanks, Greg, for helping me amend my ways too!

      Bless you, John. You’re a better friend to me than I deserve.

    12. John Kalinowski November 12th, 2010 7:08 am

      Back at ya’ Greg!

    13. Teri Lussier November 12th, 2010 7:33 am

      Sometimes I think this is a good reason to develop a team. Each person gets to do the thing they are most skilled at, or most love to do, avoiding all the procrastination and time-wasting that occurs when we are doing stuff we find easy, uninteresting, or scares us (maybe only speaking for myself here). But then, I love this business because the entire thing challenges me to become disciplined, overcome fears, learn new skills. Every day I either grow or have the opportunity to grow. I while I may waste many of those opportunities, sad to say and already well-documented here, I never want those opportunities to not be on the table.

    14. Valerie Crowell November 21st, 2010 8:55 am

      I’m late to the party, but that’s because I work very hard at not doing exactly what you’re talking about. It’s easy to do working from home. I worked on my website, made a few client calls and now I’m going to cut the dog’s toenails, which will be followed with brushing them all out (there’s four) and OMG have you seen the dining room floor! And now I’m sweeping the floors. Holy crap! I’m supposed to be lead generating so I run back to my computer and check facebook because I got a couple of listings via facebook so it’s work right? And I have to read the financial websites and the real estate websites so I know what’s going on out there. My clients are all doing that and I need to be able to talk to them about whatever the latest crackpot is posting on the internets. And now it’s 1pm in the afternoon.

      I’m blocking out time for that now with strict personal guidelines for when I need to be lead generating, showing property and doing research. I can’t play until I’ve spent three quality hours generating new business. Which is why I’m just now getting to your post. ;)