How to Keep Your Sanity When You Are Insanely Busy
By: Sandy Saburn, CTIE

Things are so incredibly busy in the travel industry right now. Hold times are ridiculous. Requests from clients are coming in at a fast and furious past. It can be very hard to keep a balanced life. Sometimes you may feel like you are drowning in things that need to be done.

I don’t have a magic solution for these issues and what many of you are dealing with right now, but I do want to offer some suggestions on getting through it.

First, it is very easy when you get into crisis management mode that you see everything as a crisis. Even things that aren’t “on fire” get treated as if they are. It’s important to prioritize and defer things that aren’t truly a crisis that need to be handled at that moment. That’s a skill that you must develop over time.

Sometimes those pseudo-crises are caused by clients. You’ve probably had a client send an urgent message for something they absolutely had to know RIGHT NOW even though the reality is that they don’t need to know right now. It is that they just want to know. It takes tact to put off clients in those situations, but if you don’t, you end up training clients that you will respond right away to every little thing. There is a difference between having a high level of service and being at clients’ beck and call. There are advisors who feel if the client sends a message at 11 pm that isn’t urgent they should still reply. You don’t have to do that, and you are training them that you will be available any time. It’s also training them that your time isn’t valuable. And it is!

Because your time is valuable, you should be selective about the type of clients you take. You might want to turn away clients who aren’t a match for you. Even “easy” bookings can end up being a drain on time and energy – so be picky! Charging professional fees helps weed out some of the tire kickers so you are only working with people who have proven they value your service because they paid the fee.

Let’s shift gears and talk about how to cope when you are in the middle of crisis management. First, it is important to recognize that this is a short-term issue and things won’t always be this way. Prioritize what must be done based on what will make the biggest impact on solving the problem.

Next, to keep your wits about you, it is important to focus on self-care. Not sleeping or staying glued to a computer. This doesn’t help you get through the crisis, and it can make things worse. When people are extremely fatigued, they make poor decisions and don’t think rationally. So, get your sleep.

Another tactic to help is to just walk away for a bit. Take a walk. Even 10 minutes away from the situation can help improve your mood and decision-making skills. It can lower your blood pressure and help you calm down physically too.

When you’re frustrated tempers can become short and you end up taking out that frustration on those around you. That might be the rep on the phone who is trying to help you or even a family member. Remember, that doesn’t make anything better and often makes things much worse. When you are trying to resolve a problem, you will always get farther by being pleasant and persistent than angry and frustrated.

While you are amid the chaos it usually isn’t possible to identify ways to minimize chaos in the future, but it is important to do that. In some cases, it means putting systems in place to keep things from going crazy to begin with. Sometimes it means learning systems that will make life easier in the future. If you don’t put processes and procedures in place then you end up right back in the chaos again and again, with each time being more exhausting than the last.

Just like everything in life, things come in waves. Sometimes you are floating on calm waters and sometimes there are waves crashing on your head. Yelling at the waves won’t stop them from crashing but learning to stay afloat will help you make it through to the calm water again.