Most appraisers (and business owners in general, for that matter) work 6-7 days per week and try to squeeze in a little R&R when they can. I spent far too many years with this schedule. I thought it was necessary to keep my head above water. Thankfully, I have found a better way.
Before I get into the details of my three-day workweek, allow me to start with a foundation. As already mentioned, I have been on both sides of the fence. I know what it means to work a 60-80 hour week, and I know what it is like to work a 30 hour week. Needless to say, I prefer the latter. Furthermore, I get as much (if not more) done now than I did when I was ‘working’ twice as hard. Using an office staff, putting my priorities in order, and working smarter has allowed me to enjoy the lifestyle that most of us went into this industry for in the first place.
I am not going to go into the science here, but there are many studies pointing to the fact that a balanced life is a more productive life. A person who can plan, work, and yes, even play hard, will get more work accomplished (and better work) than one trying to live on coffee to keep them up in the morning and Red Bull to keep them going all night. I personally have found that a good planning day, three days of intense production, and a long weekend completely away from the office will help me produce more work in a higher quality than stretching that same work over 5 or 6 days. For more information, Google “The Parkinson Principle.”
May I present to you ‘The Triple-P W Workweek?’ The three ‘P’s’ stand for Plan, Produce, and Play. The ‘W’ represents Worship. Though there are minor exceptions, here is how a typical week for me plays out:
I do no appraisal work on Monday. Monday is the day that I work ON my business rather than IN my business. This is the day that I am ‘working’ (if you want to call it that), but I am planning to make money rather than actually doing the labor to bring it in. I am setting goals, looking at the overall vision of the company, scheduling, meeting with my team, delegating tasks, clearing my inbox, returning phone calls, etc. No appointments. No write-ups.
Tuesday through Thursday are intense working days. I am traveling to appointments, inspecting houses, completing write-ups, working on revision requests, etc. This is the day that I are an appraiser [sic]. My workday on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are upwards of 10 hours, and I am running every second of that time. Lots of drive-thru lunches on those days (though salads are typically the staple – in case you are wondering how my health is).
Fridays and Saturdays are my rest and relaxation days. Don’t get me wrong, I am not golfing and skiing every weekend. Much of the time you will find me working on ‘honey-do’s,’ maintaining our 3-acre ‘spread,’ or running errands. However, I make sure I work in plenty of time to wrestle with the kids, go on a date with my bride of 17 years and even get some time for myself. One of my favorite things to do is go to movies. Since my wife does not typically enjoy the same genre as me, I go to a fair number on my own. Yes, I admit it. I am kind of an introvert that way. The point on these days is to turn off the phone and email , disconnect from the office (they have a procedure to find me in an emergency), and just live life. Trust me, coming back on Monday after a good, long weekend of play does more for the soul (and the amount of work that gets done) than you can imagine.
Speaking of souls, Sunday is my day of worship. It is about a higher law. I turn off the social media, the television, and online shopping. I attend church services with my family, read, study, and generally dedicate the day back to The Lord who gave me the other six days. Of course, you do not need to be a religious person to participate in the Triple-P W Workweek, but find some way to get in touch with your spiritual side. Some do yoga, others might meditate, and some read good books.
Now, it should be clear that this kind of schedule would be impossible without help. If you do not have someone answering your phones and email while you are away from the office, you are probably upsetting your current clients and shutting your doors to future ones as well. Delegating what I do not like to do or do not do very well must be a cornerstone of this kind of schedule. Surround yourself with good people who make you better.
You may not be able to begin this type of regimen next week. It took me several months to finally work it all out (and I already had a staff when I began). Start small. Take off at 2 PM this coming Friday. Turn off your phone and go to a movie. See how you feel when you return to work on Monday. I have a feeling you will do whatever it takes to allow yourself that luxury again soon.
Now, go create some value!
Dustin Harris is a multi-business owner and residential real estate appraiser. He has been appraising for nearly two decades. He is the owner and President of Appraisal Precision and Consulting Group, Inc. He owns and operates The Appraiser Coach where he personally advises and mentors other appraisers. He is also the Founder and President of Your Appraisal Office which implements some of the systems he has developed to help lower costs and free up ime. His principles and methodologies are also taught in an online, Mastermind group. He and his wife reside in Idaho with their four children.