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Pity those poor, schleppers-to-the-broker’s office drone bees; their work-from-home counterparts are living the dream, right? Most of the time, that’s true. But working in your jammies does have its drawbacks. Chief among them? The common time sucks we face when we’re feeling less-than self-disciplined.
Thankfully, there are ways to deal with them.
Have you ever noticed how the TV beckons, even when it’s turned off? There’s that Netflix movie you fell asleep during and you’re dying to know how it ends.
Come on, there’s only about 15 minutes left – surely that’s not too long
If that sounds familiar, you’re not alone. From an overstuffed laundry basket, screaming about stuff to be washed, to the numerous shiny objects on the internet (try Cold Turkey) that you can distract yourself with, common time sucks lurk around every corner of the home.
There’s an easy fix to common time sucks
Treat your home as if it were an off-site office during work hours.
A common work-from-home myth is that it’s easy to slip away to do some chores around the house. Just as you’d never take a break from work to paint the baseboards at the office, you shouldn’t even consider it during working hours at home (guilty!).
Create a dedicated space for your home office to help remind yourself that you’re working. If you’re easily distracted (guilty again), position your desk to face the wall, instead of the window.
Imagine sitting in an off-site office and getting a phone call from a friend who needs you to pick her kids up from school. It’s hard to imagine because, unless it’s an extreme emergency, friends wouldn’t dream of imposing on your work day.
Yet, work from home and your time is up for grabs. From running an errand to feeding their pets while they take a vacation, friends and family don’t get that, while we may be home, we are working.
What’s even more amazing is how easy it is to give in to these requests. If you set clear boundaries, however, it becomes far easier to protect your time.
Practice saying “no”
Come on, it won’t hurt and it will be far easier when you calculate how long it will take to grant the request and how much that time means in money. When you know the exact value of your time, it’s far easier to say “I’m sorry, I’ll be working” to your sister when she begs you to pick her up from the airport.
If the family is home during working hours it’s even more challenging to avoid their requests. First, make your boundaries crystal clear.
One work-from-home agent told his family that a closed door means “keep out,” unless someone is hurt, dying or there’s a fire in the house. A door half-open means that, although he’d rather not be disturbed, they can enter if it’s important. An open door means “Come on in!”
Put a sign on the door if you must or, as another agent suggests, put headphones on. Even if there’s no music streaming through them, they will definitely give off the “not-now-I’m-busy” vibe.
It’s up to you to let everyone know that running a real estate business from home is just as valid as those agents who show up to their brokers’ offices every day.
If you ever find yourself working when you used to be relaxing in front of the TV, spending time with the family or catching up with friends, you are overworking. That, in itself, falls into the category of common time sucks. Be careful, as this can be an easy mistake to make.
It’s easy to fall into the trap when you work from home because the lines between work and leisure become blurred.
In real estate, the work never ends. From trying to drum up leads to following up with them to servicing your existing clients to keeping up with your sphere, there is always something to do.
Again, treat your home office as if it were your broker’s office. At the end of the day, close the door and don’t go back in until tomorrow morning. Just walk away – no matter how it tries to suck you back in.
You aren’t doing anyone – most especially your clients – any good by not finding relief from stress by engaging in activities you enjoy and taking care of your needs and the needs of your family.
Close the laptop, turn off the lights and shut the office door
Channel Scarlett O’Hara – after all, tomorrow is another day.
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