With more than 1,000 Inman posts, Bernice Ross is a long-time contributor whose weekly column on real estate trends, luxury, marketing and other best practices publishes every Monday.
The first half of 2019 is already behind us. As you look back over the last six months, ask yourself the following question: What are my most special memories from the first half of 2019?
Chances are your most special memories are those outside your business.
In general, the richness of our lives comes not from how much business we do, but from the times spent with friends and loved ones.
If you’re spending too much time working on your business, rather than creating memories with those you care about, try the 10-step process below. It makes no difference which step you take first. The point is to begin the process and build from there.
1. Schedule days off
In terms of scheduling time off, it’s important you do this first before scheduling your work activities. It’s way too easy to let the “busy-ness” of your business encroach on your personal time. Treat these appointments at the same level you would a doctor’s or dental appointment — don’t miss them unless there is no other option.
If you do miss taking time off, reschedule the appointment. If you’re having challenges with this, begin by scheduling at least one weekend day off from your business at least twice a month. This day is for you to enjoy either alone or with loved ones.
Fill the day with activities you love — not with errands or activities that needlessly drain your energy. It’s the best way to avoid having your time off filled with doctor appointments rather than fun.
2. Turn off at night
End your day by 7 p.m. at least two weekdays per week. This means no phone calls, no emails — no work of any kind. This is your time to recharge with a relaxing meal and with activities that make you feel good.
3. Dump what is non-essential
One of the best ways to create more time in each day is by dumping non-essential activities. Whether it’s office gossip, a friend who always laments about all the problems in his or her life or any other potential energy-waster, a simple “no” or “I have another appointment” (even if it’s with yourself) is your best strategy to create more time for you.
4. Schedule relaxation time
Each day, schedule at least two activities you find to be relaxing and/or enjoyable. Whether it’s reading, meditating, exercising, taking a long bath, having lunch with a friend, these times are critical to creating a better quality of life.
They are also the times where your creativity and problem-solving may be at their height. Take advantage of them.
5. Connect with friends
How long has it been since you’ve contacted your three closest friends? When you’re laughing with those you care about most, you are lowering your stress.
Get in the habit of either meeting in person, calling or Skyping with at least one close friend every week just for the sheer joy of having the pleasure of enjoying each other’s company.
6. Reduce your risk for cancer and heart disease
Have dinner with your family or with someone you care about at least five times per week. Dr. Paul Pearsall’s research with heart transplant patients has shown that those who regularly have dinner five times per week with friends or loved ones have 50 percent fewer heart attacks than those who eat alone.
7. Avoid multitasking
When you’re at work, concentrate on work. When you leave the office, “close the door” on your work activities. Letting your work become all-consuming can eat you alive if you end up becoming ill with cancer.
Also, failure to concentrate on your work while you are at work, makes you less productive. Failure to enjoy that precious time off means you become even more stressed out. This leads to increases in adrenaline and specifically, cortisol, which in turn can contribute to heart disease and cancer.
8. Have a problem? Deal with it now
No matter how uncomfortable or ill-timed it is, deal with problems immediately. If there’s a sticky problem you’re having trouble resolving, write down all the potential solutions, select the best approach, and then let it go.
Needlessly rehashing the problem only reduces the joy from the other areas in your life.
9. Discover something new
At least once a month try something you’ve never tried before. It can be as exotic as traveling to a foreign land to something as simple as trying a new recipe. The more creative, the better — and if it flops, think about the great time you’ll have telling the story.
10. Keep a ‘great life’ journal
Each day, no matter how difficult the day was, write down at least three things you noticed that were perfect in their own way.
Whether it’s a huge win or something as simple as noticing a bird’s song or a butterfly flitting through the air, noticing the simple joys can make a major contribution to having a great life outside work.
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Bernice Ross, president and CEO of BrokerageUp and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.