Can I Play With Madness? Staying Positive While Working From Home

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

 "I have no choice but to go through this. But, I can choose how I  go through this and how I'll feel about myself when ZI look back on it." Thomas J. Nelson

Barry Habib is an mortgage industry executive, and Founder and CEO of MBS Highway. Barry, a well known professional speaker and TV commentator on the Mortgage and Real Estate markets offered some fantastic health, financial, mortgage and real estate advice in an emergency Facebook Live yesterday (March 19,2020).   Watch Video Here

I have worked from home on and off for 35 years across 5 careers including the last 1.3 years in real estate. Self discipline is tough when home because of so many distractions.

  • Your normal work morning routine is important to maintain. Wake up at the same time, eat breakfast, shower, get dressed! My head space remains productive when I’m wearing clothes vs PJs. I'm still conducting video meetings so I have to look professional. thomas j nelson realtor real estate covid-19
  • It doesn't have to be perfect, but try to set up a “professional work space”. Which means not laying in bed or on the couch and with physical boundaries (closed door) or rules in place - creating boundaries from the kids, spouse & "chores of distraction". Your environment sets your head space in a certain place. A dining room table, desk, card table, etc. can be your designated work area for the next couple of weeks.
  • Interruptions are OK -when your dog barks, kids screams or the doorbell rings -- don't sweat it. We're all in the same boat and others will understand. We're all humans going through the same "new normal", let’s enjoy to best we can.
  • Eat lunch (maybe with your spouse or kids). Step away from your desk and computer for 30 minutes shut off technology while you eat so that you do not snack all day vs. eating one good healthy meal. This is a great opportunity in general to get to know your spouse and kids ;) 
  • Get really familiar with Skype, Zoom, Facetime and other video platforms. Learn how to use them so you can help others join calls the right way, and make sure you can hear, see and share. I've met with my therapist, my Toastmasters Group, my Networking Group and several individuals over all three of these platforms in the last week from the comfort of my home with great success. Life goes on.
  • A great way to connect to people without being in the same room is video. Family, clients, friends and networking can remain connected in this way and your days can remain productive and busy.
  • Social distancing does not mean stay locked up in your home. Take breaks to stretch and walk. If you can safely take a walk around the block and maintain your distance from others, please do so. I still walk my dog 3 times per day. If you’re feeling isolated, get outside for fresh air if you can or use the aforementioned video options to "visit" others.
  • If you can’t safely go outside or if you would just rather stay inside… Perhaps stretch and walk into another room every hour or so. Take 1x1 calls (when you don’t need your computer) while standing, pacing or walking if you are comfortable with that – kind of like walking 1x1s that some of us have. In other words, take your breaks, step away when needed, and go do something a little different. You’re not a total slave to your computer at work, don’t be one at home. There are many FREE exercise APPs on your phone and classes on YouTube for yoga, stretching, abs, etc.
  • Make good memories during these times. Look back on this time in history and be proud of how you capitalized on thomas j nelson realtor real estate covid-19reinvesting in you, your family, your community and your character. 


 HOME CHEF My bride & I cook together with Home Chef, it's a fun activity and a delicious, healthy result we can share.

Info provided by: (I am not a licensed CPA nor am I offering any tax advice, just sharing news:
Both the State of California and the IRS have announced the following:

IRS announces 90-day payment extension (03-17-20)

At a press conference held today, U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin announced the following extensions for federal income tax payments:

  • Individuals and businesses with an April 15 filing deadline will be given an additional 90 days to pay taxes;
  • Individuals will be able to defer up to $1 million of tax liability; and
  • Corporations get an extension for up to $10 million.

Mnuchin was not specific about late-filing penalties for either the March 15 or April 15 deadlines, but it appears interest and penalties will be waived automatically. He stated, "All you have to do is file your taxes. You will automatically not get charged interest and penalties."

California grants extension to file and pay (03-13-20)

On March 13, 2020, the FTB announced special tax relief for California taxpayers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Affected business and individual taxpayers are granted an extension to file 2019 California tax returns, and make certain payments, until June 15, 2020. This relief is in line with the Executive Order issued by the Governor on March 12, 2020.


Please take care of yourselves, we’ll need each other’s support to get through this with our sanity intact!



1. Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

2. Image courtesy of 89studio at

3. Image courtesy of KEKO64 at


Comments (35)

Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Hi Thomas- I worked from home for many years after working in an office 5 days a week. What kept me "in line" was keeping the schedule I always kept. I got up early and hit my desk in my office at a set time. I also took breaks and made sure that I had lunch out with friends (well can't do that now) at least once a week. 

Mar 20, 2020 06:31 PM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I''ve been working from home for years now, and I like it that way. I go outdoors at 5:00 to feed the horse, then stop by my husband's shop, where neighbors often congregate to visit about that time. Sometimes I don't go in to town for 2 weeks at a time.

Meawhile, I connect with the world here and via phone and email. It works for me, and this new isolation is no hardship.

Mar 20, 2020 07:47 PM
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Thomas, I have worked from home now for over 10-15 years, I have lost count and I have been in Real Estate for over 25 years... let's be real buyers have been looking virtually since the advent of Z & T and last few years more so than ever... Right now I am negotiating on two lots and I am in escrow on a third one. Never met the buyers or their agents... life goes on, Endre

Mar 20, 2020 09:23 PM
Anne Corbin
Long and Foster - Lake Anna - Spotsylvania, VA
Serving Lake Anna & Central Virginia

Thanks for the reminder. I saw a few bad habits I took advantage of this week and you are absolutely on point.

Mar 20, 2020 09:45 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

I've been working from home for 16 years and did make a couple of attempts at working in the office. They were epic fails! I pay attention to everyone talking around me and get wrapped up in their lives - instead of my business! 

For someone who hasn't been doing it for all that long, you've hit the nail on the head with your recommendations! Excellent tips, Thomas!

Mar 20, 2020 11:24 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Thomas. We are being inconvenienced not put out of business. Let the creative mind flow! Enjoy your day!

Mar 21, 2020 04:17 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets

Well said Wayne! Other than showings and inspections, we have lots to do in our businesses that never involve travel or in person meetings. Much we can plan for too, when the shelter in place lifts. Wishing you & yours health and a great day too.

Mar 21, 2020 06:20 AM
Derrick Guevremont
Counselor Realty of Rochester - Rochester, MN
Rochester MN Homes for Sale

Great song. My showing today was canceled last night. Everything is too bizarre.

Mar 21, 2020 04:25 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets

LOL only a fellow metal-head would have caught that .

Mar 21, 2020 06:26 AM
Derrick Guevremont
It’s probably what made me read the post, Thomas. Caught my attention big time!
Mar 21, 2020 07:17 PM
M.C. Dwyer
Century 21 Showcase REALTORs - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Great advice - congrats on a timely feature.    Yes - keep our normal rhythms, GET DRESSED LOL!, use video chats and face time.    My clients are happy I'm calling them - it's a great time to check in and see how they're doing - how they've been affected, how they feel.     I'm finding most people want to ride this out, but a few need to sell. 

Funny you mentioned it-my dog definitly barks while I'm on the phone, but I don't expect the doorbell to ring .

Mar 21, 2020 05:20 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets

Yep, I'm a dog owner too. Dorrbell, well other than maybe Amazon, you're right it's not likely going to ring. 

Mar 21, 2020 06:22 AM
Dana Basiliere
Rossi & Riina Real Estate - Williston, VT
Making deals "Happen"

Years ago early in my real estate career when I needed to work from home I would prepare myself for the day in the same fashion as if I were going to the office. I would even put on a nice shirt and tie.  It put my head in the game. I then went to my home office. I allow the cats because they don't bark...much.

Mar 21, 2020 05:34 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Yes, those are all great recommendations. I spent 2 hours outside in the sun yesterday working on my wood piles (we have a ton of old branches all over the property and are in the process of piling them up so we can eliminate some fire risk). That gave some balance to my day.

Mar 21, 2020 05:51 AM
Michael J. Perry
KW Elite - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist

My Father( my original Broker ) would be rolling in his grave if he knew how little that I go into the office 

Mar 21, 2020 05:53 AM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor e-Pro, CRS, RCS-D, Vets - Congrats on the gold star. Many of us do a lot of work from home. Probably the biggest change are closed restaurants and virtual or canceled meetings. It gives me more time for marketing and catching up with clients. 

Mar 21, 2020 07:12 AM
Christine Wade
Christine Wade - Townsend, MT
Operations Strategist / Online Business Manager

Nice - I personally think getting dressed is a little over the top, but if you insist... ;-) Kidding! Yes, keep professional boundaries around your working place and schedule, but take those breaks to connect with family and loved present for them as well

Mar 21, 2020 08:04 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Really, we have to get dressed? Lol. Just kidding too.  Yes, routine and discipline is actually a good prescription right now for these unprecedented times in our country.  Glad this one has the star. D 

Mar 21, 2020 08:14 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets

Well I'll share a secret, most of my Zoom meetings have been dress shirt, Bermuda shorts, bare feet

Mar 21, 2020 09:20 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD

Oh thank God, you're normal. 

Mar 21, 2020 10:48 AM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

I have been working from home most of my life -- and I know the pitfalls that come with that.  Discipline is a top priority.  Your points are all well taken and timely.  I also have two doggies and they are a great break in my day throughout ... 

Mar 21, 2020 10:48 AM
Greg Mona
eXp Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Professional Real Estate Representation for YOU!

 Hi Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor e-Pro, CRS, RCS-D, Vets. I have mostly worked from home over the past 12 years or so, with some exceptions. It does take discipline to stay focused on the task at hand. I found if there was something nagging me around the house that I needed to tend to or an errand I needed to run, to just do it. It puts your mind at ease and allows you to re-focus on your work. Heck, we all get distracted at the brokerage office, too, so the best thing to do is cut yourself a little slack, re-focus, and do what you've always done. We'll all get through this! 

Mar 21, 2020 11:58 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets

" so the best thing to do is cut yourself a little slack, re-focus, and do what you've always done."; great advice Greg!

...and why don't we do that more?

Mar 21, 2020 04:42 PM
Elyse Berman, PA
Best Connections Realty, Inc. - Boca Raton, FL
Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824 CRS, ABR, GRI,ePR

 All great reminders and tips Thomas J. Nelson, Realtor e-Pro, CRS, RCS-D, Vets .  I tried working in the office but it became too much of a social thing with no work getting done.  I like working from home because, like you, I can stop and walk my dogs.  


Congrats on the feature and stay safe!

Mar 21, 2020 12:33 PM
Linda Metallo DiBenardo
RE/MAX Impact, Lockport, Illinois - Lockport, IL

I listened  to Dr. Mike Roizen on the above  video. Thanks for including it on this post.   I like the Dr.'s calm  perspective on the virus.    

Mar 22, 2020 09:35 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets

Oh good Linda, I was hoping others would benefit from that FB Live. 

Mar 22, 2020 10:39 PM
Debbie Gartner
The Flooring Girl - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers

Great advice.  I used last week for my momentum group.  You can have up to 1000 people at once.

Mar 22, 2020 11:13 AM
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Great post!  It's also good for your health to "step" away from your desk as much as possible.  I've considered a standing desk, except my back wouldn't agree with that purchase!

Mar 23, 2020 01:19 PM

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