By Jef Conn
Early last year, I got home from a long, trying day in the real estate trenches: showing properties, prospecting, having a couple deals fall out of contract. You know, the normal days we have that HGTV doesn’t show its viewers. I spent the entire day, no, that entire week, trying to please and do everything for everyone else. So when I got home, I was running on fumes. I was fed up and said, “NO MORE!” Okay, I said other words, but we’re keeping it PC for the kids, y’all.
The problem is, if we spend all our efforts on others, switch-up our schedules, and never set limits, then we run ourselves ragged. What good is it if you can’t spend quality time with your family? What good is running yourself too thin until you’re sick?
Since that day, I’ve learned to get comfortable with being a little selfish. Here are five changes I made that have given me more control over my days—even the hectic ones.
1. Control your own schedule. I started scheduling clients on my own time. I still try to accommodate, but instead of dropping everything at once to go meet someone, I simply say something like this to set up an appointment: “I’d love to show you this property! I can meet at 11 a.m. or 3 p.m. today. Which would work better for you?” I know this seems easy, but it’s more difficult in practice.
2. Set expectations. Do you like receiving texts at 4 a.m.? Or not being able to sit through church without your phone going off 12 times? No? Neither do I. While we love being needed and having deals to work out, but it’s important to set expectations with your clients concerning time. Example: My clients know they can reach me starting at 8 a.m. every day. They won’t catch me at 7 a.m., because I’m at Crossfit. Set your schedule, set your days off, and politely let your clients know what to expect of you. This helps you control more of your communications with your clients.
3. Schedule a vacation. Yes, you. Look at your calendar now. Make sure the spouse’s work trips, the kids’ science projects, and the volleyball games are on the calendar. Find a day or a long weekend and book yourself out of the office. It may feel selfish in the moment, but everyone needs some time to focus on their family, even if it’s a shorter day trip to enjoy a car ride together. Your clients will live. Also, it’s 2020. If it’s an emergency, you can step aside for 15 minutes to fix it and go back to being with your family.
4. Be willing to walk away from a deal or client. This is so hard to do, especially if you’re new to real estate. But in case someone hasn’t told you, you don’t have to work with jerks. You don’t have to work with the person who creeps you out. You can say no. If you’re feeling weird about a client or something doesn’t seem right, refer that person over to someone else and go about your day. Trust your gut.
5. Prioritize you. Make sure you spend time on yourself each day. Maybe that’s an hour at the gym or 15 minutes reading. Maybe it’s the rare 12 minutes between your kids’ fighting, cleaning up the kitchen, and feeding the dogs. Those 12 minutes will help you be ready to walk out the door and start your day feeling (or pretending) like you have it all together. Don’t judge—we’ve all been there. Whatever that time looks like, claim it every day. Make it a point to focus on you and do what’s needed to refill your bucket so you can go back out and serve your clients.
It’s a lot of give and take—and many attempts to be a little selfish—before you start coming home feeling less defeated. But it’s your business, after all. Run it; don’t let it run you. It’s important to be a little selfish—it makes the battle of daily real estate sales a lot easier. You can do it.
Jef Conn, CCIM, SIOR, is a commercial agent specializing in industrial, office, and investment properties with Coldwell Banker Commercial in Lubbock, Texas. Jef served as the 2017 president of his local association and currently serves as Region 1 vice president and executive board member for Texas REALTORS®. Connect with Jef on LinkedIn or via email: JConn@CBCWorldwide.com.