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Balancing Work and Family

by Chicago Agent

By Ginger Downs, RCE, CAE, IOM
Chief Executive Officer
Chicago Association of Realtors

Balancing work life and family life is always a tricky act, but the summer months can increase the struggle to please both parties. With summer being the busiest time in real estate and chock full of family outings, vacations, neighborhood barbecues, and other obligations, time is extra valuable in this season.

In the fast-paced life of a real estate professional, balancing business and family effectively is critical to avoid burnout. Here are a few tips to keep both in harmony.

Take care of yourself
You are probably used to taking care of your family and clients, but you can not continue to provide that support unless you are caring for yourself. Eat well, get exercise and sleep. Charging your batteries and living a healthy lifestyle will keep you in top shape physically and mentally, plus your clients will notice that you have energy to do the job.

Learn to say “no”
We are all taught to be polite and to go out of our way to help others, but there is a difference between being rude and being assertive. If your client decides to change when he wants to see those listings you had scheduled, do not drop everything at the last minute to rearrange your life. Remember that living like this will be stressful and take away the flexibility associated with being in the real estate business. Your schedule is just that: your own, not for your clients to control. Your client will understand that you have a life to live beyond real estate.

Put your family first
We have all heard that mantra, but do not all live by it. Making family your top priority will keep important relationships in tact and provide for a healthy home life. It will also help to reduce burnout.

Take time for teams
Forming a team within your office may be the answer to finding a work and family life balance. Though it will not create the results that cloning yourself would, teaming up with one or more practitioners in your office will give you the ability to tend to important family matters without hesitating if the work is getting done. Obviously, you will have to work more at times to ensure all parties benefit from teaming up.

Hire a personal assistant
If you can afford to, hiring a personal assistant will free up your time from doing things that you most likely do not care to do anyway: paperwork, answering phone calls, setting appointments, emailing contacts or placing ads. This will not only allow you to focus more on revenue-making activities, but also will allow you to devote more time to family.

Power off
Use your phone’s “off” button from time to time. This will prevent interruptions during an important family event and allow you to temporarily take a break from working. When that phone is on, you are on call. Check your voicemail when you become available, and return calls thereafter.

Plan ahead
Planning your day’s activities will provide a clear cut agenda for your life. Plan both work and personal times, so that you include a set-aside family time each day. Being prepared will reduce unproductive times throughout the day.

Remember what you can not regain
You do not need a reminder to know that life goes by fast. Time spent with family is valuable, and children’s childhoods cannot be regained, no matter how successful you are at work. Keep this in mind daily as you choose how to spend your time.

Balancing work and family life will become easier with practice. If you are unhappy with your current balance now, you can improve it. Make a few small changes each day until you achieve your ideal balance.

The Chicago Association of Realtors (CAR), “The Voice for Real Estate in Chicago” since 1883, represents the business interests of more than 16,500 real estate professionals in the Chicagoland area. CAR is led by a voluntary boaRd of directors, elected by the membership, who work in partnership with a professional administrative staff.

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