Harmonizing Work and Life

Work/Life balance has long been a major buzzword in entrepreneurial circles, where the struggle is especially hard because work happens at all hours and in every place you find yourself. No one understands this better than a real estate Agent or Broker!

Unlike more traditional start-ups that still center around a “normal” workday and workplace, real estate has you juggling client meetings, showings and networking events at any given time and all over town. Making room for the rest of your life is essential and it may be time to retire the old ways of trying to separate them. Here are 7 simple ideas to get you back on track:

1) Set Realistic Goals That Work for You

While most approaches to Work/Life balance call for set times where you “shut off” or “unplug,” the reality of most entrepreneurial businesses – especially real estate – aren’t so flexible. You may have to answer the phone for an important client who doesn’t get off work until 8:00 p.m. or catch up on email in the morning before their hectic days begin.

So rather than force yourself to not work when you don’t have that luxury, instead look for – and seize! –  your opportunities for unexpected breaks, days off, and “you” time when they pop up.

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2) Let Flexibility Prioritize Your List

The blessing of the entrepreneur is flexibility, you can schedule your tasks however you like. But something we often fail to notice is that those tasks have different levels of flexibility themselves. Some are high urgency (due in next the two hours!), some might be further off but need a lot of prep work and others might not have any urgency at all.

Instead of trying to do it all at once, order your tasks by their level of necessity and then let some of the less urgent ones go so you can catch a break!

3) Merge, Don’t Balance

The idea of strictly dividing your life into “work” and “life” sections that must be balanced is an outdated holdover from the days when most people trudged to an office job they didn’t care about before heading back to “real life.” In today’s entrepreneurial world, our work is often our passion; it’s fun, fulfilling and filled with things we enjoy, like creativity, socializing and helping people.

Rather than split your time into sections, you can instead work them both into a routine that makes you smile. After dropping your kids off at practice you might swing by a café for a client meeting, then meet up with your friend for lunch down the street before touching up your social media posts on your phone. Embrace your freedom to live with the work and personal sides blended together.

4) Lean on Your Friends!

One of the best open secrets about our line of work is that while you work for yourself, you work with a team of experienced professionals who have your back in the local RE/MAX office.

Look for ways you can piggyback on the support you have around you, whether it’s taking advantage of pre-designed marketing materials, getting advice from a mentor or learning from social media tips. This will reduce your workload and your feeling of being overwhelmed, and will open the day to some much-needed rest.

5) Embrace That Schedule

Making an agenda and sticking to it can feel like the most boring “work” part of work, but it’s essential. And not just because it helps you get your work done (you surely see where this is going!) but because it helps you relax, as well. Plan out your day in the morning and slot in times for breaks, exercise, walks, snacks, downtime at home, and a date with someone you care about.

Don’t have enough time? Go back to your strategy of prioritizing by flexibility and see if anything can be moved to tomorrow. Once you get in the habit of making time for you it will start to become less planned, and just a natural, breezy part of your day!

6) Live for Self-Care

You know who the most key player is in your thriving new business? You! Without you, everything comes to a crashing halt. Taking care of your MVP (most valueable player) is essential and if you get into a mindset that self-care is as important as care for everyone else, you’ll be on the road to healthier, more productive days.

When building your unique self-care regimen, give yourself the gift of lots of rest (both nightly sleep and breaks during the day), healthy eating that energizes, your favorite pampered grooming and spiritual salves like reading, cooking, gardening, playing with pets and time spent with loved ones. This may all feel like wasting time but it’s far from it – this is what you need to stay fresh for the business that’s relying on you!

7) Center Your Purpose

An easy trap for the entrepreneur is to become a slave to the to-do list. This means you start to find self-worth in completing tasks, causing you to zero in on them more intently, causing regret when they’re not finished. Before you know it, what you do becomes the focus of your life rather than why. It’s helpful to take a step back in times of stress and let your mind wander to why you’re here.

For most of us, we’re trying to fulfill a lifelong dream or support a lifestyle we’ve long desired. When you set your sights back on your purpose in work, the feeling you have towards it becomes lighter and more satisfied, you’re no longer looking at a list of un-done things but the fruit of your labor – you’re working for yourself!

Soak in that victory and enjoy it.