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The power of ‘once’

By Manos Findikakis
12 March 2024 | 12 minute read
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At some stage we’ve all felt the crippling sensation that is overwhelm. You know the one where there’s simply too much to do in too little time, and the never-ending task list feels insurmountable.

Whether you’re in property management, sales, real estate administration, or it’s happening in your personal life, when the overwhelm wave washes over you, it can feel pretty debilitating.

It’s hard to know where to start, what to prioritise, and quite frankly, it’s very stressful.

But let me ask you this: While overwhelm is a very real thing and something many of us have experienced at some point, how much of it comes down to those little things you could deal with immediately but opt to delay?

That email

How often do you receive an email requiring a simple reply, acknowledgement or action, but leave it to sit languishing in your inbox with the intention of attending to it later?

Sound familiar? Probably. And at the time it also feels harmless. But the reality is by deferring your response, you’ve likely doubled the time it will take to complete that task. In the process, you’ve also added to your “email inbox overwhelm”.

That invite


So you’ve received an invite to something. It could be a calendar invite to a meeting, a physical invite to an event, or an invite to attend a conference.

But rather than taking a minute or so that’s required to act on it by responding immediately and adding it to your calendar, you instead mentally add the RSVP to your to-do list.

Again, deferring the action required feels pretty insignificant in the short term. But consider this: now something simple has been added to a growing list of things that you are constantly telling yourself you need to attend to.

That phone call

Some days the last thing you feel like doing is taking that phone call. Perhaps you’re not in the headspace to chat, or maybe you know it’s a call that might be tough due to what needs to be discussed.

So what do you do instead? Well, you let it through to the keeper where it’s picked up by voicemail or SMS. That might be a short-term gain, but it’s one worth weighing up because now it’s taking up headspace due to the fact you need to remember to call them back.

That invoice

Whether it’s an invoice you need to create or one you need to pay, it can be all too easy to put simple paperwork aside with a mental pledge to return to it later.

Again, that deferral is costing you mental energy. If it’s simple and quick, get it done. Pay it, send it, or forward it to the appropriate person to have it dealt with.

Are you creating more work for yourself?

We often add to our workload by not attending to items and tasks in the first instance. It’s a habit we can get into in the mistaken belief it has little impact.

But as all of the above examples indicate, that habit is costing you mental energy. It’s adding to a to-do list that’s probably already quite lengthy. It’s taking up mental space which could be better utilised.

And that’s where the power of once can be truly transformative.

The power of once

The power of once isn’t rocket science. It’s not even complicated. It just sees you eliminate double handling by dealing with simple things in the first instance.

Instead of letting that email that’s easy to respond to sit in your inbox, act on it instantly.

Instead of filing that invite in your to-do list to RSVP to later, reply now and put it in your calendar.

When the call comes in, pick up the phone rather than pledging to call the person back later.

Each of these small actions helps lighten the mental load. It allows us to avoid the slippery slope to overwhelm.

The power of once is a habit we can all work towards to lighten our workload, help remove the overwhelm, and win back time.

Manos Findikakis is the CEO of Agents’Agency.

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