Life is all about balance… or so I’m told. The stereotypical lifestyle of the “Great American Dream” is to work hard in your corner office (or cloth cubical) for 40 hours a week, attending meetings, jumping on and off conference calls, pushing paper, refilling your coffee…. Then you drive home in your top safety-rated minivan to play catch with your 2.5 kids and golden retriever surrounded by a white picket fence, nestled in a cozy subdivision. To top it off, you have two uninterrupted days to do whatever you please. Most refer to these as weekends. I’ve been there. Kinda. My dog was a random crossbreed that smiled when you talked to him, and the fence was chain link. But, I did have the 40 hours a week desk job, complete with benefits, holidays, and the periodic snack day perks. And the minivan. I did have a minivan.
Then, I transitioned into Real Estate and everything changed.
My main office chair no longer swivels, but the steering wheel in front of it does. My lunch breaks have gone from scheduled and anticipated to grabbing whatever I can on my way out the door, if I stop to eat at all. The time of day that was once spent counting down the minutes until I can leave and driving to pick up my kids has now become the busiest part of my day. I still pick up my kids, but they’ve learned to stay quiet because I’m usually on the phone. And weekends? Those became a thing of the past. The 40-hour workers get to come home, make dinner, help with homework, and eat dinner with their families. I do that, too…. between texts and emails. I’ve found myself working on marketing material, editing pictures, uploading listings, cleaning up my Dropbox… well after 10:00 pm because that’s when it’s quiet. I soon began to notice that my family was moving right along, almost living life without me. Not ok.
I decided that something had to give. I needed to find a way to give my clients the best service I possibly could without becoming a distant memory to my kids. I took to Pinterest (because really, Pinterest has ALL the answers). I found helpful suggestions utilizing dry erase boards, downloading calendar apps, detailed spreadsheets, breathing exercises, and of course- endless motivational pictures. SO MANY MOTIVATIONAL PICTURES! But, my organization wasn’t the problem. My priorities were. It took the sad, puppy dog eyes from my youngest child and not so subtle pleas from my better half for me realize what needed to be done. I had to treat my family events and commitments just as I’d treat a Real Estate obligation.
Open house on Saturday? Can’t. It’s my daughter’s birthday, but I’d be happy to host one on Sunday.
Lunch date on Thursday? Can’t. I’m showing homes to some clients, but I’d love to have lunch with you on Friday.
Now, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t times when my work and personal lives cross one another. In fact, just a few weeks ago we were headed out of town as a family to take the kids fishing when I got a text from a client. “I’m ready to place an offer.” Great! Except, there was no Wi-Fi where I was headed and cell phone service was spotty, at best. So, I pulled over on the side of the road, wrote a contract, and submitted it. Then, I got back on the road and continued to our destination, fulfilling my promise to my kids. Or, how I’m writing this blog that is required by my broker, but I’m doing so at 11:13 pm, in my sweatpants and sipping on a cold one. After all, life is all about balance, right!?!?