It's a Balancing Act, Never True Balance, That Sets You Free!

Real Estate Agent with Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 CA BRE# 01261476

I'm well trained on this topic by Buffini & Company and much of what I preach here is from that 17 years of training.

You will actually defeat the purpose of the peace of mind you seek, if you seek "balance" in your life. Balance is a myth. What you seek is always in flux, therefore it's balancing you seek; those precious moments where you achieve the escape from your business and truly focus on your life, family and goals.

I have posted so often on this topic, I feel I've already entered Jeff Dowler's wonderful contest 100 times. So here's the best of what I can offer you, keeping Jeff's contest format in mind.




Buffini & Company teaches us about the 5 Circles of Life that we balance:


2. Family

3.Personal Health-both mental & physical: that what keeps your mind and body in shape.

4. Work

5. Finances


Jeff asks us to describe:


balancing career

1. "The struggle itself. What specifically is important to me that I'm are trying to balance?" 

The 5 circles of life sums it up. I'm trying for harmony in my mind, since I know the 5 will never be in perfect balance, that's just life, but they can be optimal. I can guilt free work hard, knowing I'll get to guilt free play hard, while focusing on the priorities in my spirituality, family, finances, work and health.

One will always be in the driver seat, the passenger seat, the back seats and the trunk; but they get to rotate seating order in my plan. This way I can fully engage as the driver, whichever driver I am that day, knowing the other 4 are coming along for the ride and each week, each circle of life takes a turn driving the car. The car of course is my focused time.

It's never perfect, but that's perfectly OK with me as I at least have a plan and a purpose for my 5 circles.


 Setting Boundaries and...


Honoring the Boundaries you set; if you don't they won't!


2.  "The issues in your business that interfere with balancing your work and personal life."

#1 is client care. Not all clients will be on-board with my 5 Circles of Life Plan. But funny enough, I may lose a client once per year over my boundaries, but I actually hear about more from other agents than I ever do from clients. 99% of my clients respect it and applaud me for taking time off to be with God, Family & Fun. Other agents bitch about it and challenge it; I get some funny rants on my voice-mail or email Monday mornings. I really don't care, because AI know they wish they could take the time off too. I know they are upset because they are fried for never putting down the tools. For never being present with their spouse, kids, life in general.

I interview a lot of top producing agents on my Podcast and many confess to burnout, bankruptcy and relationship issues for all their awards and #1 recognitions. I'd rather be #1 with my bride and son that at the office. I'm fine with Top 5% in SoCal and happy vs. The #1 Agent in all of SoCal and no life.


Rome Guinness

2 weeks in Italy 2009, No checking! 2 weeks in Ireland 2013, no checking in! I have many, many examples of how boundaries work! I returned to a well run business with no issues for being gone. The next few months my energy and enthusiasm were on #11...recharged and taking charge.


3. "My particular strategies you use to balance your personal life with work."

So, I set boundaries for my business and my personal life, I honor them and I layout my services and availability day 1 with every new and repeat client; I always remind folks of my simple hours of availability. I have back up agents to cover my days off and holidays/vacations and I'm OK with the rare client that walks away from this plan. I'd rather work with those that do not steal my joy for real estate than cater to the ones that try to prioritize themselves over my family and goals.

I take one legitimate day off per week. Sundays are easiest. I put an auto-responder on my email Saturday night and I shut off my phone. Closed Sundays: Recharging with family one day per week so I can take charge with my clients the rest of the week! Recharge Sunday-Take Charge Monday. I give people the best of me, not what's left of me.

You have to ask for help in this industry, you can't achieve balancing work & home without it. You have to be OK with paying for your time off i.e. hiring an assistant and compensating agents to cover your workload while you enjoy time off. This may need to be more of a barter exchange for each others time with a fellow agent in your office in the beginning, until you have a budget to hire help.

Honor and uphold your boundaries and your clients will respect them too. They aren't necessarily black & white, but they should be less gray if you want them respected. Shut off your phone on your time off. I give out my bride's cell number so my team can reach me in an emergency, but now it truly must be one because they are calling my bride on our vacation or Sunday off. It makes people re-think what is urgent vs. an emergency.

I have traveled through Ireland, Italy and Polynesia for two weeks each trip, no phone, no check ins. I properly prepare my team and agents covering my buyers and sellers. I always include my sales manager or broker on the overall plan, in case they need to step in for my team or handle a call from one of my clients. I properly introduce my coverage team to my clients and set everyone up for successful substitutions while I'm away. It runs like clockwork and I don't have to worry, so I can go off the grid. What if something goes wrong? The people covering me are quite capable and I've empowered them to make executive decisions I'm prepared to live with upon my return. 



Boundaries Create FREEDOM!


When I know I'm successful balancing my off time:

  • No business calls, texts, emails or work of any kind. I simply am off the grid as far as Real Estate is concerned. Blogging is not work to me, I'm a writer, I exercise that muscle daily.
  • That first cup of coffee as I let my day off wash over me; man it feels good to wake up with nothing to do once per week; that's every Sunday for me.
  • I'm on hike with Peroni (our pooch) and it feels like we're the only two on the whole trail, very little human interaction and lots of nature-no phone.
  • I'm flopped on the couch or bed with my bride, she's reading the Sunday paper, I'm diving into my latest book.
  • I'm leisurely gardening or a stroll through some nurseries picking out new plants for our garden.
  • Walking on the beach with my Bride and ending up at Happy Hour at one of the restaurants that front our coastline.
  • My son calls and we chat for an hour about what he's up to (he lives in Sacramento now).
  • I'm at church with my friends and we go for coffee afterward.
  • My bride and I play tourist in our beautiful San Diego playground and go explore more of why we moved here.
  • A lazy day out at the pool. No phone, just a book.
  • Enjoying a family or friends celebration, just being present and engaged.
  • If you work 7 days per week and try to go up against me for a gig, I'll out perform and kick your ass all day long with my recharged energy!


Check Out My Series on:  Il Dolce Far Niente Di Domenica: the sweetness of doing nothing on Sunday! I've done so many posts over the years about balancing your life, your career, your goals and more. Please visit my achieves for posts like the ones I highlighted below..

IL Dolce Far Niente Di Domenica UCSD-La Jolla Style-2

Divorced, Stressed, Broke, Poor Health, but... #1 in Sales!

A Winning Equation: Run - Rest + Recharge x Recover = Success!



Image one courtesy of Buffini & Company

​Image two courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Image three courtesy of artur84 at

Posted by

Thomas J. Nelson
REALTOR®, CRS, RCS-D, CDPE, e-Pro, Certified Military Home Specialist, Luxury Home Specialist, Author, Keynote Speaker and  Podcast Host 

Serving Coastal San Diego from Carlsbad to Coronado, Downtown, Balboa Park Area,
La Jolla/UCSD & Mission Bay Park Areas
I Offer Rebates to Veterans
& Active Duty

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RCS-Divorce     Southern California Chapter of Certified Residential Specialists (CRS)

Disclaimer:  Nothing in this blog article is to be construed as legal advice, tax advice, medical advice or financial advice.  For legal advice see an attorney.   For tax advice, health or financial advice see a tax attorney, certified public accountant, or other qualified professional.

Comments (5)

Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


I REALLY like this post and what you have to say, plus the balancing you do. You clearly have YOUR priorities in place, which is the way it should be. Lots of good learning in this ppost for others who may be struggling.

Have a great weekend - I KNOW you will enjoy your Sunday off!


May 27, 2017 12:21 PM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets

Thanks Jeff Dowler and back at'cha!

May 27, 2017 12:30 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


What a detailed post you shared with us, I enjoyed it.  Enjoy your Sunday off.  A

May 27, 2017 01:14 PM
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

This is it Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor, CRS.  I love your plan and your boundries. -Kasey

I have back up agents to cover my days off and holidays/vacations and I'm OK with the rare client that walks away from this plan. I'd rather work with those that do not steal my joy for real estate than cater to the ones that try to prioritize themselves over my family and goals.

Jun 01, 2017 02:41 PM