Juggling Act: 8 Ways to Balance Your Work and Family Life

Find it hard to juggle all the demands of work and family? Here are eight ways to bring balance to your hectic life.

May 1, 2005

Whether you’re new to real estate or you’ve been in the profession for a length of time, it doesn’t take long to find out how time can get away from you. But balancing all the demands of family and business effectively is essential if you want a long and profitable career in real estate.

Time is a valuable commodity, especially when your days are filled with property showings, listing appointments and presentations, prospecting for new business, following up on pending contracts, and contacting existing clients. Not to mention the need to pay bills, attend weekly sales meetings, field phone calls, plus much more. With this deluge of activity, sometimes our most important asset—family—gets placed on the back burner.

So how do you juggle family and work responsibilities in your fast-paced life? Here are eight ways to bring balance into your life:

  1. Put your family first. Regardless of what else comes our way on a daily basis, you need to make time for your family, the No. 1 priority.
  2. It’s your schedule—not your clients’. One of the great values of being in the real estate business is the ability to be flexible with your own hours. Don’t be afraid to tell a client or a customer that you have a commitment on this day or at that time. If it’s a school choir concert or a Little League ballgame, that is a commitment on your schedule and you should try and arrange another time to work with the customer. Believe me, this is my 27th year in the real estate business and most of my clients and customers will always work with my schedule.
  3. Plan your day in advance. Planning your day allows you to create a road map for the day’s work and helps you avoid wasting many productive minutes throughout the day. Make sure your planning includes time with your spouse and family. It’s also important that you take your planning to another level: planning your week in advance. Spending 15 to 20 minutes to plan out your week will make a big difference in setting time aside for your family and other important commitments without sacrificing the work that needs to get done.
  4. Exercise each day. Feeling good about your health will produce a new outlook on your life and provide you with more energy. Not only will the exercise provide more vigor, it will keep you in good health to enjoy your family for a long time.
  5. Take vitamins and eat right. Incorporating the right foods and taking a multivitamin on a daily basis will improve your health and give you more energy. It’s proven that a poor diet can lead to many health problems and a lack of energy. As real estate professionals, we can be guilty of eating from our cars and frequently using the local drive-thru for meals. You think that the time saved by grabbing the quick meal is helping you get ahead, but in the long term, it is robbing you of the proper nutrients and taking away important energy.
  6. Turn off your mobile phone from time to time. Don’t be afraid to turn off your mobile phone when spending time or eating a meal with your family. Society has become so “wired” with portable devices and communication aids that you often use your equipment without noticing how disruptive it can be to a family outing. Check your voicemail at your first opportunity and return calls later, and change your voice message to indicate you will be unavailable until a certain time.
  7. Team up with another practitioner in the office. Teaming up will ensure that all your calls and emergencies are covered while you’re out of the office. Be a team player in return when your team member needs some extra time away from the office to treasure his or her family. You’ll both benefit from this act of kindness.
  8. Give yourself a daily reminder. Remind yourself on a daily basis how valuable the time is that you spend with your spouse and family. In an article from Career Journal, published by The Wall Street Journal Online, writer Kevin Voigt offers this story: "Ostensibly, successful people, if they do have an Achilles heel, it's work-life balance," says Michael Jenkins, Singapore-based Asian managing director of the Center for Creative Leadership, an executive training and research company. "You can't regain your children's childhood; no amount of professional success can compensate for the loss of that family time. At the end of the day, if you aren't a success at home as well, (success at work) probably won't count for much."

If you haven’t been very effective in balancing your life and work, don’t beat yourself up. It’s never too late to make a change. What’s important is that you learn your weaknesses and make a decision to move forward in a positive new approach to balancing your work and family.

Editor’s Note: To learn more about the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS’ FamilyTime initiative, go to the following resources at REALTOR.org:

  • Field Guide to Family Time
    This collection of articles, Web sites, community resources, and more will give you tips on nurturing your family life.
  • FamilyTime DVD
    NAR offers this interactive DVD celebrating the family. FamilyTime provides support and suggestions for spending quality time with your family members.

John D. Mayfield, ABR, CRB, e-PRO, GRI, is a sales coach, author, and broker/owner of Mayfield Real Estate in Farmington, Mo. You can contact Mayfield through his Web site, www.BusinessTechGuy.com.