Work & Personal Life... How Do Agents Separate The Two?

We as agents have one of the harder professions when it comes to keeping work and personal life separate. It's just how it seems to be for most agents.

For anyone disagreeing please explain to me what the SOI (sphere of influence) is and how to use it without mixing work and personal life.

I love what I do, so I don't mind mixing the two. Eventually, though, I will have to somehow wedge them apart if I'm going to get back to traveling and enjoying the other aspects of life that I'm missing out on right now.

What works for agents ranges from just turning the phone off to time blocking. Some agents need an office away from home, some need to have a separate phone for work.

Time blocking seems to be the most professional approach, as long as clients know what to expect from you through the process. Just not answering the phone seems childish to an extent.

What are you doing to separate the two? I think it is next to impossible to do this, but if you have an idea please share.
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April 21 2011 - East Colorado Springs
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Replies (16)

this is more of a blog that a discussion.  it's entertaining.  you should blog.
as for separation....I have no answers on that!

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April 21 2011
I don't think I've got the consistency necessary to blog, it's part of the problem I have with making time blocking work. Clients needs have to come first, otherwise there is no paycheck.
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April 21 2011
I love what I do and still have enough time for my family. I spend time with them on weekends and makes it a point to dine together with them whenever I could, treat them to a trip or shop together and tell them of the nature of my job,
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April 21 2011

I'm glad you still have enough time for the family Michael. When you're spending time do you tend to just shut the real estate world off? It's great that you make it a point to dine with them. Dining is the easiest thing to throw aside when I need more time.

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April 21 2011
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I would think that separating the two professional and personal would be tough. Shoot, my main job isn't real estate and I love talking about it. I would think that you would need to set aside time in a conscious way so that other aspects get your full attention sometimes too.
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April 21 2011
Sunnyview, the full attention part is what's hardest if you can get the timeblocking set. I have such a hard time not answering the phone, or worrying about making one more call to see if I can reduce the work for tomorrow while I'm spending time with family. If I do get one more thing off of the list I just add to the list of things to get done anyways once I start the day tomorrow. Spending time with family and friends, and giving them full attention, can make for such a better workday even if you already love what you do.
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April 21 2011
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I can totally see that Kevin. After all, real estate is not a 9-5 job. People need you when they need you so if you turn off your phone and miss that call , you kick yourself later.

It has to be hard. I've talked to some agents in my community and they have had good luck working in a team, but I would think that might create it's own issues.
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April 21 2011
The team thing is great, unless you and your partner are also in a relationship (Jessica is really great, and understanding that scheduling isn't always set in stone). Teams can be tough regardless, but as long as each member is simply respectful getting personal time is much easier. It's just like being on call, and if things get overwhelming the other members are just a call away to help.
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April 21 2011
One word,    impossible
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April 22 2011
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It sounds like you have a good partnership Kevin. Everyone should be so lucky :)
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April 22 2011

Like most of you, we are always "on" at some level as real estate professionals. If you see your work as a lifestyle as I do, then time blocking or something reasonable like that makes sense. I don't choose a "day off" as some do. We are opportunity based and if there is a good business reason to work on that day off, then I'd take it .. unless the day off conflicts with highly sensitive and important anniversaries, family events, etc. One good practice may be to just turn your phone off after a certain hour. Perhaps 9pm is a good cut off. You can always come back to the texts and calls when you recharge next morning .. unless you just never sleep :-)

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April 22 2011

@sunnyview: I am blessed, and appreciate it every day.

@Will: Our work certainly can be a lifestyle, and no matter how much business each of us is doing we are opportunity based, you hit the nail on the head.

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April 22 2011
Jessica and Kevin, I like this question.  When I started in this profession I was glued to my phone.  When I look back I can not believe how I would jump up away from the table to take a call when out on a date with my husband and even on our anniversary!!!  I have been through so much schooling and seminars, coaching, etc. since those days and what I have learned (the hard way) is that even doctors have time off.  I no longer wish to entertain a client who does not value my time and would expect me to be available 24/7.

What I do now is use (yes paper can you believe it) the Franklin Covey system.  I schedule my days and block time off for not only appointments but for all I need to get done in a day.  That can mean a family event, date with husband, working out, etc.  Who says we need to be held hostage to this job?  I wouldn't keep doing it if I hadn't changed the way I conduct my business.  All clients really want from us is honesty, hard work and to always have their best interest at heart.  I don't think they ever want us to be unhappy in our profession because we allowed it to take over our life.

Family should always come first regardless of what anyone does for a living.  Our jobs are only to earn a living so we have a means to get by.  Hope this helps!
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April 22 2011
Thanks for the insight Jackie. I think we've made things hard for ourselves by trying to be always available. The clients that expect the 24/7 (there aren't many) are often the harder ones to please. It's a job, not a lifestyle, and we need to start treating it as such.
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April 22 2011
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"All clients really want from us is honesty, hard work and to always have their best interest at heart.  I don't think they ever want us to be unhappy in our profession because we allowed it to take over our life."

That is so well said Jackie. Speaking from a client's perspective, I couldn't agree with what you said more.
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April 22 2011
I sincerely wish all clients had that perspective, usually the ones that do are enjoyable to work with.
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April 23 2011
 
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