One of my first blogs last month was about managing time. Having just returned from an impromptu trip out of town with my wife, I’ve decided to tackle this theme again because I was reminded of why it is so important. When I first got into real estate, I envisioned copious amounts of free time and flexibility, something I sorely lacked in previous employment. Six years later, I have come closer to achieving both those goals, but not without struggle. Certainly, flexibility has been a cornerstone of my work day. I have taken command of my schedule making it possible to ferry my daughter to school and extra-curricular activities, carve out an hour at the gym, run errands, etc. while attending to ever-important client, transactional and business needs. However, real free time proves more elusive. It’s not uncommon that I go for weeks without taking a substantive break and I can tell you that the longer I do without, the more difficult it becomes to maintain a positive attitude and the discipline necessary to run day-to-day operations. It doesn’t really matter if you’re selling real estate, managing a small retail operation, consulting or contracting your services, as an entrepreneur, you must maintain your emotional and physical engine to keep it trouble free and running smoothly. You must pace yourself.
I was raised in Europe, a region of the globe whose inhabitants tend to work to live, rather than live to work. This isn’t to say Europeans lack industriousness, quite the contrary. Perhaps it’s the legacy of millennia, but my experience is that they seem to have a heightened sense of the importance of personal time, especially that spent with friends and family.
My wife and I went to a town called Leavenworth, WA. Nestled in the Cascades mountain range at the eastern base of Steven’s Pass, it is a crossroads of sorts. Alpine peaks tower above valley slopes where apple orchards and vineyards abound. Four season recreation is only miles away. The white waters of the Wenatchee River invite rafters and kayakers as sport fishermen wade in its sheltered eddies. Winter holiday revelers enjoy sleigh rides, skiing, snow-shooing and the like. It’s a picturesque setting. So much so that, a couple of decades ago, town leaders elected to fashion Leavenworth after a Bavarian resort.
Being there reminded me of one of the principal reasons I elected to transition into real estate sales. I wanted my life to reflect that work-to-live attitude and structure. Whether being industrious in the pursuit of my business or the passions of my personal life, time is everything. And yet, I am not immune to losing my way. There are weeks when I put in sixty, seventy, eighty hours only to realize I am burning candles at both ends, bordering on exhausted. And it is in those moments I realize there is nothing more important than creating the space to recharge. It’s good for me, my family and my clients certainly. Bottom line, you must take time off. Carve it out. Put it in your schedule and make the commitment. Better yet, be spontaneous. In any event, control it or it will control you.