Ask Denise: Establishing Boundaries, Setting Hours | The Zebra Blog

Ask Denise: Establishing Boundaries, Setting Hours

Q: “Denise, it has happened once again! My kids have been out of school for a week and they are already driving me up the wall. I thought as they got older this would become easier but now instead of my needing to entertain them, they need a ride to this friend’s house or to the pool, or they want to have someone over for a sleepover. My office is at home. Any great suggestions? At this rate, my real estate business will be toast come fall.”

A: I do have some great suggestions for you and for anyone else who struggles with establishing a boundary between work and home when you have a home office, especially when it isn’t just about disciplining you, it is about disciplining the ones around you:

  1. Establish your working hours – This provides the structure in which you can approach your day. As your kids get older, they will probably be more-inclined to sleep in, so I suggest beating them at their own game and start your day early. This way you probably have a few hours in before they even wake up. If you worked every weekday, or even four days a week, from 7:00 am – 12:00 noon, you would be in great shape.
  2. Establish your client hours – In addition to having that office time to do your marketing, seller updates, and CMAs, you will also need client meeting time. That might be a Monday, Thursday and Friday evening, one weekend day, etc. Try to consolidate as much as possible so you aren’t subjecting your family to real estate business time sprawl. If you assigned two late afternoons/evenings a weekday and one weekend day (or whatever works best for you and your market), see how that works with your family structure.

The key is to set expectations with your family and make sure when you are off, you are off. Let them know your schedule and what they should do if they need something while you are working (hint – unless it is an emergency, if they can fend for themselves, let them).  If they don’t respect your boundaries and come in to ask you for a ride, the answer is automatically no because they interrupted your time.

Remember, if you allow your work time to sprawl, you will actually be less productive than if you limited yourself. Have a family meeting, let your family know your schedule, what you expect of them during that time, what they can expect of you during that time, and how you expect them to handle their requests during that time. Then let them know what they can expect of you once that work time is over. And have a great summer!

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