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Running on empty? Check yourself before you wreck yourself

December 15, 2023 | Inman

When eXp’s Troy Palmquist ran out of gas (literally), it gave him some time for reflection. Find out how to manage your energy this holiday season so that you can keep moving forward

When eXp’s Troy Palmquist ran out of gas (literally), it gave him some time for reflection. Find out how to manage your energy this holiday season so that you can keep moving forward.


Shoutout to friend, DOORA agent and Inman Contributor Ernesto Vargas for saving me while also making fun of me and taking a pic.

Early last Friday morning, I kicked off my birthday by dropping my son off at school — then running out of gas as I headed home.

For those who might have seen my Instagram Story that morning, I had just put gas in the car the day before. Really! I swear! The last time I looked, I had a solid 60 miles of gas left in the tank.

I know there are some of you who are reading this and judging me, but I know that many Realtors have been in this situation and know how it feels. We drive so much that it’s hard sometimes to keep track.

With the gracious help of a friend, I got a ride to the gas station for a can of gas, and I was soon back on the road with another 60 miles worth of gas in the tank. Thank God I don’t drive an electric car.

I share this story because, as I sat in the parking lot of the donut shop I had coasted into on fumes, I was wondering where the gas went and how I managed to end up on empty (again).

What parts of your life are running on empty?

Some of you may know just how I felt. After all, it’s not just gas tanks that we allow to run on reserves. From our daily schedule to our physical and emotional energy and even our relationships, it’s just human to try to get one more minute, one more thing, one more mile per gallon, but at what cost?

I’ve learned a lot about energy management over the past couple of years. Since my cancer diagnosis in 2020, my energy just isn’t what it used to be. Of course, I’m also over 40 now, so that could have something to do with it.
Either way, I don’t have the physical energy that I once did, so I have to be cautious of what I do throughout the day so that I still have something left in me at the end of the day to play with my son, Rhett, after work.

It’s easy to run events back-to-back, leave no breaks in between Zoom calls, and no buffers between meetings and phone calls. Time management is crucial.

It’s not just about managing your physical energy. Emotional and mental energy must also be properly cared for. Negative conversations, getting wrapped up in drama — all of these can have a negative impact on how you feel and how much energy you have for the things that really matter.

Of course, during the holiday season, it’s easier than ever to run low on all of these types of energy, but we have control over the decisions we make and the things we prioritize.

If you’re low on physical energy

Make sure you’re eating right, drinking plenty of water, doing some kind of movement and getting enough sleep. (I didn’t say it was rocket science.)

In addition, take a long, hard look at your habits. At a certain point, that glass or two of wine or whiskey at night is not your friend. Try abstaining for a few evenings, and see if you have an easier time getting going the next morning.

If you’re one of those people who pride themselves on never going to the doctor, you’re doing yourself and those who love you no favors. Make an appointment for a checkup and, while you’re at it, make one for a dental exam as well. Take care of your body, so it can take care of you.

If you’re low on mental energy

If you feel overwhelmed by all of the things you have to know and remember, look at what you can delegate, either to an assistant, another agent or to a virtual assistant.

That goes for home as well. If you’re the one who has to remember everything for everybody at your house, come up with a system or download an app where everyone can add their schedule and their to-do list, then make them responsible for it. This may require you to have a serious conversation with your spouse and children. So be it.

Here, too, the physical can have a huge impact. Bad eating habits, too little sleep, too much booze — all of these can impact your mental sharpness. Make changes as needed.

If you’re low on emotional energy

Check-in on your relationships, both at home and outside it. If you’ve been disconnected emotionally from your family, friends and colleagues, make face time with them a priority.

Take time every day for some type of mindfulness practice, whatever that looks like for you: prayer, meditation, positive affirmations, visualization. Ideally, a few minutes twice a day can help you to be less reactive and better able to regulate your emotions.

If you find that you only have time for work and personal obligations, make time for fun in your routine, and make it a priority. Develop a hobby. Listen to music. Create a standing date night with your partner. Remember, you exist beyond your earning capacity and responsibilities to others. You deserve the gift of simple enjoyment in life.

Finally, if you’re looking for a way to make yourself feel good, something that will fill you up emotionally, find a way to be of service to others. You don’t have to go and start a charity.

You can shovel the driveway of your elderly neighbor or make dinner for a friend who’s had a bad day. When you give energy to others in a positive way, without expecting anything in return, your life gets better. That’s a promise.

A lack of energy, a lack of patience and a lack of enthusiasm are all fuel indicators. They are there to let you know that you are running low on gas. Pay attention.

Likewise, when the car tells you you’re low on gas, pay attention! Stopping at the gas station takes a couple of minutes. Running out of gas? At least an hour. Take time to recharge, top off the tank, and balance your life and schedule.

Troy Palmquist is the founder of DOORA Properties in Southern California and director of growth for eXp California. Follow him on Instagram or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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