Many businesspeople feel guilty spending time with their families or pursuing personal interests. They feel they must be available for their clients at all times—weekends and evenings, if need be. If you look at many people’s business cards, you’ll see they give out their cell phone number, home number and even their home address. Unknowingly, they are setting the expectation that they are available 24-7, rain or shine, in sickness or in health. And that’s no way to run a business.
The fact is: You cannot work 90 hours a week and be a millionaire. Sure, you may be able to pull it off for a short period of time, but fairly quickly something will start to fall apart. Maybe it’ll be your marriage or your health. Whatever it is, you can be sure it will happen.
It’s your responsibility to tell clients what your days off are—they can’t read your mind.
While you should be accessible to your clients, you must also set some boundaries. Top producers—the ones who consistently earn at high levels—always have family and personal time built into their schedules. Always! If you’re new to the business, then it’s more than likely you will have to work weekends to get yourself established. That’s fine. But you must still plan some other time off.
If you’re established in the business and you are still working every weekend, then you need to look at how efficient you are. Are you sticking to your schedule? Once your business is established, there’s no reason for you to be working seven days a week.
It’s time to get your work and personal lives back in balance. Here are some ways to get started.
1. Don’t hide your schedule.
It’s your responsibility to tell clients what your days off are—they can’t read your mind. So, if a client asks you to meet with him on a day you have scheduled to be off, you must set the expectation. Don’t meet with him anyway and then be mad he made you work on your day off. The client did not make you work on your day off; you made yourself work on your day off.
2. Schedule your personal events.
People often wonder what kind of personal things they should put in their schedule. Schedule whatever is important to you. You may want to add such activities as your kid’s sports events, dinner with your spouse, time to work on your favorite hobby, commitments to personal groups or clubs you belong to, etc. There’s no right or wrong thing to schedule.
3. Be accountable.
Putting these items in your schedule is only the first step. You also need to keep these obligations. Enlist help. Perhaps your spouse can hold you accountable for your scheduled “date nights,” and your kids can remind you of their events. Be sure to tell your family and friends what you’re scheduling in your planner. When they know you have time set aside for them, they’ll help ensure you keep your word.
4. Create work-free days.
When you’re starting out in the business, you must have at least one full day to recharge your batteries—a day when you completely unplug from the office and clients. Don’t take any phone calls, return any emails or even think about work. This is a day just for you. This may sound scary, but the office won’t fall apart without you. And your clients won’t abandon you just because you take a day off. Remember, set the expectation upfront and no one will mind.
As your business grows, or if you’re already established in the business, you should take at least two days off a week. They don’t have to be two consecutive days (although that is best), and they don’t have to be on the weekend. Because you are established, you can accomplish more in less time, so there’s no reason to work more than five days a week. Also, when you produce at higher levels, your brain and body will require more relaxation time so you can stay at peak performance.
Remember, a positive attitude, enthusiasm and a love of the business are the traits that propel people to the top, and you can’t possess those traits consistently if you’re not allowing yourself time to rest.
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Jerry Pujals is an expert on sales, training and motivation, and the author of the book Secrets to Real Estate Success. His practical tools and techniques have consistently placed him in the top 1 percent of real estate agents in the United States. Contact him at 707-226-6985 or www.jpsalessystems.com.