A career as a real estate professional, is by design a bit unconventional. With late nights, and weekend work, there’s no disputing that top producing REALTORS® often have a full plate. Trying to balance family life, or a personal life on top of the demands of providing exceptional service, its little wonder that most REALTORS® cite the need for balance as a goal year-after-year.
While achieving perfect equilibrium is probably a lofty goal when business is particularly busy, it is still possible to achieve a semblance of balance, or at least a feeling that your life isn’t completely lopsided. Here’s a look at ways to work towards better work/life balance, even when your real estate business is booming.
Focus on What Needs to Be Done First — No matter how disciplined you are, or how hard you try to stick to a schedule, the reality is that things come up in real estate which are time sensitive. Because every transaction is different, it’s impossible to foresee all challenges that can come up on any given day. That’s why it’s beneficial to start each day with a list of things that need to be done that day, no matter what. Start your day with those tasks, so that if something comes up later in the day, you will have at least accomplished those to-do items that were necessary.
Block Off Chunks of Time for Specific Tasks — Studies are beginning to indicate that multi-tasking can lead to decreased productivity. For this reason, it’s beneficial to focus all attention on a specific task for a set period of time. If you need to make follow-up calls, for example, schedule a block of time when you’ll focus only on that task. Likewise, if you need to work on a listing, schedule a set period of time in which you’ll dedicate yourself to working on that task only. In most cases, when you focus your whole attention on completing a task, you’ll find you’re able to do so faster than if you’re trying to work on multiple projects at once.
Assess Your Lifestyle Habits and Overall Health — If you’re not sleeping enough, chances are you’re not performing at your best, which makes everything feel unbalanced. Monitor your diet, make at least a little bit of exercise a priority, and avoid too many late nights coupled with early mornings. You’re less likely to feel frazzled, overwhelmed, or exhausted if you’re taking good care of your health.
Plan for Fun in Your Free Time — Because real estate can be consuming, it’s important to remember the adage about all work and no play, even when you love what you do. So, make certain to plan to reconnect with friends, enjoy family activities, or otherwise have fun when you have the opportunity to take some time off. It might help to buy tickets in advance to a movie, or schedule reservations at a restaurant, to keep you accountable to your personal obligations.
Put Personal Time in Your Calendar — Schedule time for yourself, or time with your family, and put it in the calendar like you would any other appointment. Even if it’s just 30 minutes of reading, relaxing, taking a bath, or walking the dog, it’s important that you honor commitments to yourself like you would commitments to your clients.
Unplug for a Bit — Technology is great in allowing real estate professionals to work from virtually anywhere, but as is the case with most things in life, there is too much of a good thing. Try shutting down your phone during lunch meetings. Silence your calls while watching your children play sports. Unplugging from your phone, computer, or tablet is a smart way to set boundaries in your pursuit of balance.
Learn to Delegate — If there are tasks that can be handled by an assistant, a colleague, a family member or a friend when you’re particularly busy; let them handle it. This will help keep you focused on priorities, and prevent you from feeling overwhelmed by tasks that need to be done, which are not necessarily the best use of your time.
No one said being a busy REALTOR® would be easy. But there’s no doubt the rewards are worth it — as long as you make it a priority to carve out time for your own personal life, in addition to the time you spend making your clients’ lives better.