Balancing My Work and Personal Life

Real Estate Broker/Owner with American West Realty and Management 12599

Balancing My Work and Personal Life

Jeff Dowler challenged us to describe the balance between work and life. I read his challenge as soon as it was posted but I'm just now posting my day before the deadline. Why? Because I have balance!

What's the big deal?

Many of us fail to balance work with our personal life. This is particularly true for those of us with young children at home. My problem is that I actually enjoy working! In fact, I plan on working until I'm no longer able. The last time I checked, God's retirement plan involves six feet of dirt and a tombstone, not reaching a particular age or net worth.

balancing rocksThere is such a thing as "over-working" and we should be careful to not neglect other areas of life like family, friends, hobbies, fitness, mental wellness, or spiritual health. I'm a slow learner so it took about 18 years in the military before I figured this out. Before I realized it, I had spent most of my career going to work early, working through lunch, leaving late, volunteering for additional work or deployments, and more. 

I finally got control of it for my final few years. I continued working hard, but I scaled back and had more time for family and personal things.

Self employed

When I started in real estate, my old nature took over again and things got out of control with early mornings, late nights, working weekends and holidays. It made sense because I was a one-man Property Management office and had noone to back me up. It wasn't long before I realized I had to get things under!

The Solution

The first problem to solve was getting rid of all my "busy" work. I hired an office manager that could handle the routine, mundane tasks eating up a large portion of my time. She screened calls, kept me on schedule, filed, accepted rent payments, prepared documents, and more. It literally freed up 1/3 of my day and took a lot of the pressure off.


I put policies in place and "trained" my owners and tenants that we worked regular office hours and then I stuck to it. If they called or emailed me on nights or weekends, I wouldn't respond until the next business day. If they complained, I reminded them that I am available 45 hours of the week but need the remaining time for family and myself.

Continuing Refinement

Unfortunately, one assistant wasn't enough. I needed someone that was licensed and could essentially replace me for longer periods of time. I built my office manager up over a period of time, got her licensed and then promoted her to Property Management and hired a new person to handle office duties. It worked!

With a licensed, experienced Property Manager in place, I can comfortably disappear for a couple weeks at a time, knowing everything is in good hands at the office.

There's still more to do. Ideally, I want two licensed Property Managers and an office manager. With three of us working on management, our workloads are reduced and we can really excel. If one of us becomes ill or takes vacation, the other two can handle everything until they return.

Why does it matter?

Now that my work is balanced out, I'm free to focus on my personal life. Specifically:

  • I wake up early in the morning, usually two hoursCamping site before everyone else, to enjoy the quiet. I read the Bible, pray, and usually have time to hang out on Activerain before my day gets busy.
  • My wife and I are able to eat lunch together away from the office.
  • I'm able to attend ALL of the activities for my kids, even during the work day.
  • Camping trips and vacations are never out of the question!
  • I have security in knowing things will be handled if I ever have an emergency.

I feel like we've hit a real balance at work, which bleeds over into my personal life. It's a good place to be and I continue seeking ways to refine things and maintain the balance. It's difficult at first, but worth every bit of effort!


Comments (16)

Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Nathan - Finding balance is a constant challenge, but it sounds like you're on the right track and experienced enough to maintain it.

May 29, 2017 01:55 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


I enjoyed reading your post.  Good for you for having the smarts to delegate what took up 1/3 of your day.  A

May 29, 2017 02:22 PM
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

Good job.  It's important to have a team in place so that you are not the only one that can get things done.  Sounds like you are doing that.  Our kids grow up fast - there's no need to spend so much time working that we miss out on them and participating in their activities.  Kids actually taught me and John how to prioritize better.  While we are on the topic, John and I are officially doing a road trip and coming through Cody.  I'll email sometime to see if we can meet in person. -Kasey

May 29, 2017 03:11 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Nathan- you were wise to get someone to help you so that you can enjoy your family.  You have achieved what many often fail to. 

May 29, 2017 06:11 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Nathan finding balance is the hardest challenge for me and from reading your post you are the master of it, Endre

May 29, 2017 09:48 PM
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

Organization and delegation as you illustrate are great tools for creating balance !

May 30, 2017 04:42 AM
Nathan Gesner
American West Realty and Management - Cody, WY
Broker / Property Manager

Thank you, Dick Greenberg . It's an on-going process.

May 30, 2017 04:54 AM
Nathan Gesner
American West Realty and Management - Cody, WY
Broker / Property Manager

Ron and Alexandra Seigel I've learned over the years to look for what is the best use of my time and then to "slough off" everything else. By getting rid of the tasks that can be done by anyone, I'm able to focus on the high-dollar activities that grow the bottom line.

May 30, 2017 04:56 AM
Nathan Gesner
American West Realty and Management - Cody, WY
Broker / Property Manager

Kasey & John Boles having children definitely changed my perspective! Before my son, it didn't matter how much I worked or was away from home. I think my wife actually enjoyed the break! Now I need time to help get them ready for school, do homework, play, go fishing, camp. It's actually made me focus more on my own personal life.

We look forward to meeting you this summer!

May 30, 2017 04:58 AM
Nathan Gesner
American West Realty and Management - Cody, WY
Broker / Property Manager

Kathy Streib when I first made the decision to hire help, my wife was concerned about the impact to our income. The truth is, I've got two full-time assistants and one part-time assistant but our income has actually grown during that time because we were able to handle far more work. 

May 30, 2017 05:00 AM
Nathan Gesner
American West Realty and Management - Cody, WY
Broker / Property Manager

I didn't see your story, Endre Barath, Jr. Did you write a blog for the contest?

May 30, 2017 05:02 AM
Endre Barath, Jr.

not yet Nathan still trying to balance:)) Work & Life:))

May 30, 2017 07:34 AM
Nathan Gesner
American West Realty and Management - Cody, WY
Broker / Property Manager

It's all about balance. Thank you for the comment, Sally K. & David L. Hanson 

May 30, 2017 05:02 AM
Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

This is something i am working on and challenges like this help me to move forward for less work and more other things Nathan Gesner  . My life tilted way too far to the always working side 

May 30, 2017 05:38 AM
Nathan Gesner
American West Realty and Management - Cody, WY
Broker / Property Manager

I think a lot of us go through that cycle, Scott. Thanks for commenting and I hope things are improving for you.

May 30, 2017 05:45 AM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Good morning Nathan.  It sure looks like you've got a great system that works well for you.

May 31, 2017 04:56 AM
Nathan Gesner
American West Realty and Management - Cody, WY
Broker / Property Manager

Thank you, Gabe. It has certainly made a positive impact on the rest of my life.

May 31, 2017 05:13 AM