Boulders in the Stream – Time Block Your Time Off
“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”– Ann LaMott
In early winter, Gary Keller often shares his calendar for the following year. This is how we sync our writing days. A writing day for us means blocking 10 am to 4 pm. A big block of time to do deep work. So it makes sense to coordinate long before mundane meetings can encroach on our time. Busy people tend to have busy schedules. So we get ahead of it.
The pages arrive in 11 x 17 photocopies of his Month-at-a-Glance™. My job is to hunt for all the days that have a “W” with a circle around it on them and add them to my calendar. It has also been highly instructive. I mean, how cool is it to see how someone so successful plans their work? I noted his monthly “state of the company” (SOC) days with key business owners. Our events and event prep. And also his vacation time. Every other month he would block one to two weeks as “vacation time.”
I remember once pointing to a vacation block and asking, “Where are y’all going for two weeks?”
Gary replied, “I don’t know. But I’m sure I’ll need it.”
You may be a bit lost if you haven’t read The ONE Thing. Time blocking is making appointments with yourself to get your most important work done. It’s scheduling that prioritizes what you do and when you do it. In our book, we advocate that the first three things you time block are your time off, your one thing, and planning time.
Why time block vacation first? Well, if you plan to be successful, you will need regular time away to relax, restore, and refresh. Shark Tank’s Lori Greiner was right when she declared, “Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours to avoid working 40 hours a week.” The challenge with that level of commitment is burnout. Thus our prescription for prioritizing time away from work.
I cannot emphasize how important this is for real estate professionals. We work hard. Maybe never harder than the last few years. The good news is that our busiest times are relatively predictable. A huge percentage of transactions close in June, July, August, and December. Sellers like to sell and, more importantly, move when their kids aren’t in school.
When I teach this I refer to it as “placing boulders in the stream.” When you plot your vacation time months in advance, work tends to flow around it. And you never get caught in the trap of having made so many commitments to others that you can’t take care of yourself. It’s also a great way to avoid having your laptop on the beach while your kids are playing in the surf.
Instead of allowing work to seep into vacation, demand that work flow around your time off.
For 16 years now, Wendy and I have made time off our first priority at our annual goal-setting retreat. (Free resource here. Join us here!) Besides needing regular breaks, travel is in our blood. It’s one of the reasons we fell in love. And starting with vacation planning on our retreat is like eating dessert first!
One question to ponder in your thinking time: When can I book my next vacation?
Make an Impact!
Co-author of The One Thing & The Millionaire Real Estate Agent
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