Do you need some time off? This past year has been a time like none other. As we dealt with all of the unknowns, worries, and concerns of the pandemic, appraisers were busy. Busier than ever. The recent article from Freddie Mac reporting on appraiser capacity during the pandemic reflects what we have been experiencing. “How can we take time off when it is so busy? I can’t get caught up? It’s too crazy to take a break! ” These are all comments perhaps many of us have felt or said. I’ve seen them in appraiser groups and forums. Should we take a break? What about our clients? What about our business? Will I lose money? Will I lose clients?
Reasons for a Break
With all of the stresses that appraisers have been under, perhaps a break may be in order. With mortgage rates at record lows and high demand for housing, the need for our services has been great. We have been working hard to provide these services and many of us have very long turn times due to the workload. Doing this much work at this rate for an extended time can begin to wear on you. We can begin to feel like these hamsters.
Seeing these cute guys reminds me of my pet hamsters I had in college years ago. I loved my little fellas. They would do this very thing for hours. They would even take turns. One would hang on while the other ran on the wheel. Then they would switch. I thought it was the greatest thing until one day, it wasn’t. I came home from my classes, only to find one hamster wedged between the frame and wheel. He was no longer with us. His brother was crouched down in the corner facing away from him. Clearly traumatized from whatever went wrong, he refused to eat or drink and I lost him about a week later. I will never forget those hamsters. It was such a sad moment as a college student to lose my hamsters this way.
Perhaps we can learn from these hamsters. When we get going too fast or are frenzied, we will eventually crash. We won’t be able to provide our best work for our clients and our health can suffer from the stress. We can burn out. Before we reach this point, it is good to slow down take a break.
How much of a break?
Perhaps, you just need to take a few days off. Some of us may need more. Now that many travel restrictions have been lifted, it may be a good time to get away. See some places you’ve never seen. Take time to unwind.
We just recently took a week off to visit the states of Oregon and Washington. It was a great family vacation. Some of the time, we had little to no cell signal. It was so nice just to be unplugged. We enjoyed our time together and we saw some beautiful sites. From Crater Lake to the Pacific Ocean to Portland to Seattle and to Mount Ranier, it was wonderful!
It is good for our physical and mental health to take breaks. We do ourselves and our clients a favor when we are able to work at our best, both mentally and physically. Working long and crazy hours can wear on us and our minds begin to lose the sharpness we need to do good work.
Just as the markets get unbalanced and out of kilter, so does our work-life balance. It is essential to take breaks. We will not be at our best when we are not physically and mentally up to speed.
Sometimes we get on that wheel and we just keep going faster and faster and don’t know how to slow down. But we must. It is important to run your business and not let your business run you.
“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.”
– Stephen Covey, Author
How can I take time off when there’s so much work?
As hard as it may seem, it can be done. For us, we made sure that we scheduled all of our work around the planned time off. We were able to complete all of the scheduled work before we left and we had assignments waiting for us when we returned. We took the laptop with us just in case there was an urgent matter to deal with but thankfully we never had to use it. All was well. We had work and our clients still there when we returned.
Yes, there is an expense involved when taking a vacation. The expenses incurred traveling as well as the business lost while not working. We took this into consideration. It was worth it!
If you don’t feel that you can do this, I highly suggest consulting a business coach to assist you. I recommend Dustin Harris, The Appraiser Coach and Blaine Feyen, with The Real Value Coaching Academy. Both of these real estate appraisers help others with their business and time management.
I can honestly say, that our vacation was the best thing for us. After a year of quarantines and pandemic, it was time. We came back refreshed and able to provide good quality appraisal services for our clients.
What about you? Are you ready for a vacation? Have you recently taken some time off? How was your experience? Any advise you have?
Shannon is a Certified Residential Real Estate Appraiser and serves as the Vice President of the DW Slater Company. She joined David at the DW Slater Company in 2006. Shannon graduated Cum Laude from the University of North Texas with a BA degree. Prior to joining the DW Slater Company, she was an Elementary School Teacher for the Pilot Point Independent School District. Shannon is an FHA Certified Appraiser. Shannon is a designated member of the National Association of Appraisers and a member of the Association of Texas Appraisers. In her free time, Shannon enjoys spending time with her family, singing in a local church choir, and tandem cycling with her husband.