Three Tips For Making The Most Of Downtime

Dave Panozzo is the co-founding owner of The Panozzo Team-HomeSmart, a real estate team in Phoenix, Arizona.

As a real estate agent, investor, and entrepreneur, you are often engaging with the suggestions of grinding 60 hours out of the week, all in an attempt to challenge yourself to get outside of your comfort zone and push further. Although hard work and dedication can get you far, you have to be careful to avoid burnout. Let’s shift the focus to scheduling your time off and getting the most out of it. To put it simply, setting time aside for goofing off, spending time with family and creating memories outside of work will make getting back to business so much sweeter. As a business CEO, team leader, and full-time real estate agent, I realized that goof-off time plays an important role in my life, mainly in maintaining success long-term. Here are three simple ways you can also develop a system to achieve the infamous work-life balance. 

Mark Your Calendar

When I first got involved in real estate, I felt like I had no control of my time because I neglected to utilize my calendar to its maximum potential. When you decide it’s time to take a break from work, treat it no differently than how you would treat the time when working. Input everything into your schedule and time-block everything, even the short daily intermittent breaks, and even schedule that once-in-a-while long vacation. By scheduling your business and personal time wisely, you will find yourself optimizing what you do when you do it. Not only will you be more present at the office or relaxing on the beach, but you mentally give yourself something to look forward to, prepare for and put more thought into as you plan the activities during your time off. Overall, having a set calendar with a starting and stopping point for your time off will also make your experiences more meaningful since you will value your free time more and be made conscious of the fact that eventually, everything comes to an end.

Next time you realize you have upcoming downtime, get the calendar out, look for what days are available, and treat it as a business project that has a deadline to it. You will be surprised how scheduling downtime will make a world of a difference, whether you are traveling to another state or simply traveling to and from your local shopping centers.

Tap Out Of Technology

It’s simple enough to time block downtime. The hard part is staying present during that time. So often, many people are glued to their phones 24/7 and find themselves in a subconscious habit. They are unable to leave technology alone because they feel they need to be endlessly tapped into multiple streams of information at once. If you are looking to excel in business, try eliminating technology, and be in the moment when taking time for yourself so that you always come back to work full of energy and enthusiasm. If you are going on a hike, try leaving the phone in the car. If you are going to the pool, try leaving your work tools in the hotel suite. Take a mindfulness moment to take in your surroundings, Mother Nature and your interactions with friends and loved ones to truly appreciate the moment and soak every second up. Luckily, by scheduling your downtime in advance, you can put in place automated out-of-office reply systems for voicemail, email and social media direct messages. These let business associates or clients know you are out of the office and will be back to them as soon as you get back.

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Automate your time off further by assigning someone else tasks beforehand who will be responsible for completing time-sensitive projects, deliverables and be the direct contact for anyone looking to get into contact with you. Last but not least, if on you’re getaway, but you absolutely have to make sure your business duties happen, schedule time blocks for work, and make sure all parties involved know in advance when your availability is for work-related tasks during your vacation. As agents and business owners, finding the balance for where you spend your time and energy is going to determine the longevity of your success.

Budget For Yourself

Maximizing your goof-off time is the goal, but that doesn’t mean you have to max out the credit card! Now that you are in control of how you manage your time and energy spent with your downtime, it’s time to control your spending. This is something I learned as a young man after my first trip to Las Vegas, Nevada. If it weren’t for the old saying “what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” you would be shocked to know how much I regrettably spent in one night at the casinos. It was after that experience I realized the importance of creating a separate savings account just for spending money, or what I like to call it, the goofing off-budget. By setting up a special account for getaways or leisure spending, you can spend money guilt-free because you have already accounted for that by setting aside a small amount of your paycheck/sales commission for the goof off-budget. So many people get stressed about spending money when on vacation and have a hard time fully enjoying each expense while others end up spending unnecessarily — and don’t even realize it until they return home and begin reviewing the total incurred charges. Prepare a budget to use for any fun activities or shopping sprees by placing anywhere between 2%-10% of your income into a goof-off budget of your own. This means the next time you’re ready to break away from the routine, you’re actually saving money, time and energy. 

Finding a balance between working hard and playing hard is the most difficult part of the journey in life and business. Although it may not always be a perfect balance, following the three tips above can get you closer to creating a harmonious relationship between downtime and work time.


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