The high-tech, fast-paced nature of today’s business environment has many custom builders feeling overwhelmed. Here are a few simple tips for finding some balance in both business and life.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone. If you are feeling frustrated that you’re no longer in control, you can join the club. And if you said to yourself lately, “this is not the way it was supposed to be,” you can be assured that many thousands of others in the residential construction industry are feeling the same way. The challenge is how best to begin to find balance and reduce the general sense of overwhelm that has led to such feelings.
Before we can find balance, we all need to better understand the “why” behind this condition. I believe there are three dynamics that have created this sense of overwhelm, and they may just be the source for creating balance.
- Pace — Nearly everything about today’s business world is faster than just a few years ago.
- Proliferation — More building products have been developed and marketed in the last few years than during the previous 100 years combined. As a result, builders are often playing catch-up with their clients.
- Technology — While the blazing rate of technological change has created efficiencies, it also has had the unintended effect of reducing productivity. Simply put, people feel buried in this age of hyper-communication.
It’s only when we are cognizant of these changes in our lives that we can begin to control them and ultimately reduce overwhelm and find balance. The following prescriptions, if followed with some discipline, will reduce overwhelm and create more balance.
- “Plan your work today, every day, then work your plan” — This quote from Norman Vincent Peale sounds straightforward, but many fail to follow Peale’s advice. Most people write to-do lists daily, but successfully balanced people create daily plans. These plans are like blueprints that allow you to control your day, rather than having it controlled by outside forces. This methodology will substantially reduce overwhelm.
- High-tech vs. high-touch — People feed off the energy of other people. With the dramatic changes in fast-changing technologies, there is a huge temptation to communicate with email rather than hugs. While email is efficient, one needs to consider the best way to interact, not the easiest. By investing a higher percentage of time in high-touch activities, you will not only feel better but also be more effective.
- Be fair to yourself — What percentage of your time is focused on you? Are they daily activities that help you grow? Are you being fair to yourself? Most of the time, we are our own worst enemies, and we become resentful of others for our overwhelm. If you begin to ask these questions you will start to focus on the right opportunities, and, in turn, reduce some stress and overwhelm.
Creating balance in this environment will come more from your actions than the environment. Success is a verb; with action, balance can be achieved.
Mark Richardson is co-chairman of Case Design Remodeling Inc. and the Case Institute of Remodeling. He is a member of the NAHB Remodeling Hall of Fame and a Fellow at Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Richardson is the author of the best-selling book, How Fit is Your Business?, and a forthcoming book, Business Themes to Live By, to be published this fall. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.