Tag Archives: Business

Bad Days and Deadlines

What to do on a bad daySome days are better than others. Some days turn into weeks, and I’m going to be real with you – some weeks suck. This week is one of those weeks for me. I knew within an hour of waking up on Monday that everything was turning south quickly. By the time I made it to my office, I was ready to drop kick everyone that crossed my path. Lunch with Matthew wasn’t pleasant because my bad mood took hold of the room like a permeating stench, and nothing he could say or do was turning that negativity around. For the record, I did apologize for being in such a foul mood and just asked for some grace until I could get ahold of myself.

So what do you do on days or weeks like this?? Tuesday didn’t seem to start off any better and the rest of the week wasn’t looking so hot either. I’ve wrote before on what to do when you’re having a crappy day, and realistically, I needed to go into hiding and avoid everyone until this dark cloud of a mood could pass. However, what do you do when you have made a commitment with a deadline and you can’t simply withdraw from society for a bit? Unfortunately, when I needed to employ my usual tactics the most, I simply couldn’t.

Here’s what I did. I avoided as many people as possible. There was simply no need in infecting the masses with my mood. Because don’t forget, a bad mood and a bad attitude is just as contagious as a good mood and a positive attitude. If you’re not careful, you’ll have instilled the funk in everyone around you and that’s just not fair. Then, I put my head down and PUSHED through my tasks. I had a specific goal to reach and I buckled down and pushed hard for it so that I could get the hell out of there…for everyone’s sake, not just my own. And then I bought myself prizes

Thankfully, the commitment I made before knowing my mood was going to fail me had a specific deadline. Since I couldn’t set it to the side until I felt more positive and productive, I simply powered through. It’s like seeing the finish line at the end of a long race. You can see the end point and you can push yourself to reach it, even though you’d like to collapse on the ground. (I’m assuming. I don’t run races.) Either way, I can see the endpoint. I seriously buckled down and pushed hard for the goal, knowing that very soon, I’d be able to stop and retreat. As soon as I completed these last few (22 to be exact) tasks, I could give myself a break and do something to help pull myself from the funk.

Not all bad days are accompanied by pressing deadlines. If not, try to employ any of the tactics I mentioned in this post. If you simply do not have the ability to run away at that time, like my situation this week, my next suggestion is to buckle down and get your job done ASAP. Then retreat. Treat it like that last day of work before vacation. We accomplish more on that final day before leaving than we do all year! Don’t drag it out. Just get it done and then move on to something that will hopefully make you feel better. Dragging out your responsibilities will only make it worse, and at a minimum, it sure as hell won’t make it better.

In conclusion, understand that you’re going to have those days and sometimes those weeks. It’s ok. (If you find that you have more of these days than positive ones though, reevaluate your surroundings and make changes to remove the negative stimulus. Or speak to your health care professional.) I’ve been known to beat myself up when I have these bad days, because usually they make me pretty unproductive. And if you saw Monday’s post, you know that productivity and achievement are my vices, which I’m actively working on.

For now, if you’re having the sort of week that I am, get your work done and then go get you a cupcake. Do your best to feel better and if it’s just not happening right now, know that this too shall pass and it’s ok to have a crappy day every now and then.    

Firecracker – The Store

Firecracker - The Store logohandmade candleholders at Firecracker - The StoreI spent last night in the arms of a girl in Louisiana. Not really. Once I started that line, I just couldn’t stop. (See Garth Brooks’ Callin’ Baton Rouge, if you don’t get that one.) In reality, I spent last night setting up a booth of curated finds in the wonderful Southern Style Antiques. Matthew, Ashlee, and I worked hard and late and it reminded me of some of my fondest memories from the old Salt & Pepper.

It’s time to tell some secrets. For over a year now, I’ve been cooking up ideas for an online store. A part of me deeply misses the hunt for beautiful things and I needed an outlet for that. This love-child online store of mine was to be called Firecracker – The Store and would offer curated goodness (both new and old) that I sourced from all over the world. We’ve worked on this idea and nurtured it for over a year and planned to launch late last year, then early spring, then possibly in this fall. Needless to say, life happened and that sweet little idea kept getting pushed to the side.

vintage belts at Firecracker - The StoreThen, a booth came available in one of my favorite antique stores on The Alley and I knew this was the right way to launch this idea for the time being. It’d be tough to pull a booth together with my schedule at the time but I needed to do this. So, on a Friday night, April 29, my dream team and I ordered Johnny’s pizza and worked our fingers to the bone getting what we had ready.

The truth is, I’d been collecting pieces for almost a year, a good bit of which was ruined in the flood. Of course that’s when a booth would become available – after the great flood of 2016! We searched high and low and fast to pull together enough fun stuff to open and prepped to be ready by the Spring Open House. Let me be clear though – if you make a visit right now, I want you to be warned that it’s not my best work. If you’re familiar with my previous retail escapades, you won’t see displays of that same grandeur. Yet. This is what we’re calling a “soft open.” A time where we “make it work” for just a bit until things level out some. It’s a period of getting back into the grove and buying myself some time until I can replace all that was lost recently. Nonetheless, I am THRILLED to be back in the game.

antique mirrors at Firecracker - The StoreIf you’d like to go by and check on Phase One of the Firecracker story, feel free to. The booth is located in Southern Style Antiques at 215 Trenton Street, West Monroe, La. You can also follow @firecrackerthestore on Instagram. There is one thing I know for certain, even as we’re just dipping our toes into the water, it feels like home. Having this project to think about and dream about gives me an outlet for my creative energy and a break from what has been my crazy reality. It feels like we’ve awakened a sleeping bear…and I’m back!

I’m looking at you, 2016.

2016 at pamelapetrus.com2016 is going to be one of those years that stand out. I just know it. I’m making some major changes in both my personal life and my business and it’s going to either be one of those situations where you look back and say, “what in the hell was I thinking?!” Or I’ll look back and know that the changes were worth the risk. No matter which outcome becomes a reality, I know that I’m practicing my skills as a business owner and living boldly, and I’m thankful that I still have the courage and confidence to do so.

In 2015, I took a leap of faith and hired a full-time assistant. In 2016, I’m transforming that position a bit and hiring another very important member to the team. Both of these plans for the very near future are scary. The reality of them is nothing less than daunting. However, in life and in business, you sometimes have to take leaps of faith. (I talked about how I do that here.) Because of the immediate changes on the horizon, I fully expect for 2016 to look very different than today.

As I think about what’s ahead for my business, I have to remind myself that change is good and that sometimes growth is painful. I remind myself that I want to do big, bold things with my life and to do so, I’m going to have to put myself out there. I have to make myself uncomfortable for a bit in order to truly experience the next level in my career. It makes sense that I’m nervous, scared even, because they always say, “if your dreams don’t scare you, then they’re not big enough.”

Well, I’m going to dream big this year. I’m going to think big this year and imagine all the possibilities. I’m going to learn hard lessons. I’m going to experiences ups and downs, although I hope there are significantly more ups! I’ll either sink or swim. I’m putting in all the chips and my fingers are crossed under the table in hopes that I win big. I’m going to be courageous.

As I set out to accomplish so much this year, I must prepare myself. I must prepare myself to focus and to be determined. I must prepare myself for a new way of thinking. I need to get ready for my life to look much differently, and even possibly be a bit chaotic for a while. How does one fully prepare themselves for so much? I’m not even sure I know. I know that I’ll be setting big and small goals like a boss. I know that I’ll have to hold my team accountable, and expect them to hold me accountable too. I know that I can’t accomplish this alone and that I want success through others to be what in turn makes me successful. Buckle your seat belts, folks. It’s going to be an exciting year!

Most of this post centers around hopes of taking my real estate business to the next level. This is what funds my perfect life and supports my family. If you’re interested in a career in real estate, please reach out. I’d be happy to talk shop. Also, and even more importantly, if you know of someone hoping to buy or sell a home in 2016, please let me know! This is how I keep the doors of my business open. And don’t forget, I can help with someone’s real estate transaction ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD! Don’t be shy…email me at pamela at pamelapetrus dot com!

My Favorite Tech Products…from a Non-Techy

Mt Favorite Tech Products - from a Non-Techy // pamelapetrus.comThere’s no doubt that this is a digital age and in my line of business, technology makes a world of difference. With the exception of actually showing homes, the rest of my job can be done from practically anywhere with cell service and an Internet connection. I’m not going to talk about the actual real estate related technology that I use in this post. However, I thought it would be fun to share some of the more universal products and systems that I use. These items can be translated into almost any industry or lifestyle, and I thought it might be fun to show a bit of how I work/get things done.

The first thing that I absolutely couldn’t live without is my cell phone. I often joke that I wouldn’t have been able to sell real estate in the “old days.” Seriously…having to actually be at the office to take a phone call or driving across town to pick up a house key??! No way. In all seriousness, having the opportunity to communicate remotely makes a world of difference. I am able to take care of business from wherever I am and it saves me a ton of time. (Thinking about buying or selling a house? Text me!) I currently have an iPhone 5, and I could definitely use an update. I’ve been waiting not-so-patiently for the new release and preordered my new one this week. The struggle has been real. There are a few reasons why I love my iPhone for business. It syncs well with my devices and has apps aplenty for the various services I need. Undoubtedly, you could use a different type of phone. For now though, I’m still an Apple girl.

My next favorite item is my Surface Pro 3.  (I purchased the i3 processor.) This is my only home computer and it works great for carrying along on trips or to client appointments. The main reason that I love this device is because it’s super thin and lightweight. It’s likely not going to have the capacity to operate larger, more complex systems. However, it works perfectly for a large amount of web work and navigating various files. It can be used in tablet or desktop mode and I love the flexibility it offers. I also added the Surface Pro keyboard which makes it operate much like a desktop computer. If you carry a computer with you frequently, I highly recommend the Surface Pro over a traditional laptop. (Also, I love this new case!) (Link)

This fantastic little mouse. Matthew really wanted this little guy when we were mouse shopping. (That’s a real thing, didn’t you know??) It is most definitely the most expensive mouse I’ve ever purchased. However, it’s also the coolest. My favorite thing about the Flex mouse is that it completely flattens for traveling purposes. How great!

My iPad. I entered iPad land with the original, full-sized iPad. Sometime last year I purchased an iPad mini and I’ve loved it ever since. I like the size of the mini much better for traveling and for leisure use. It also weighs a lot less which is great for sticking in my purse. I use this iPad both in a personal nature (Hello, Pinterest.), as well as for pulling up houses and handling contracts on the go.

At home, I have an Epson Workforce WF-3620 printer. The reason I chose this option for home was because it was the smaller of the versions that offered the features I needed. Primarily, I needed to be able to print on legal paper, and I wanted the option to scan items straight to my email. (I’m looking at you, real estate contracts.) Having this feature makes it much easier for me to handle business from both home and my office. I save tons of time this way.

My office computer is a Dell All-in-One and I also love it.  (Although, I don’t remember exactly which one it is.) It moves quickly and I love the lack of space it requires. My office isn’t the largest room of them all, so I’m thankful that this computer takes up less space. I haven’t noticed any difference in its capabilities from a regular desktop, so I’m satisfied. Again though, most of my work is done in basic software programs and online. I can’t guarantee that either the all-in-one or the Surface Pro would work as well for larger programs. You might want to do some more research if that’s what you need it for.

The most important machine of them all is the coffee maker. Actually, it probably makes me the most productive! It doesn’t matter which kind you use, just be sure you have coffee available. Lots and lots of coffee.

These are the basic items that I use on a daily basis. They are what keep things moving along as efficiently as possible. If you’ve been researching new products, these might be a good place to start. I’ve thoroughly been pleased with all of the above.

What items do you use to be most productive? Is there something you couldn’t live without? I’d love to hear details!

Learning to Wait

Using my Get To Work BookThere have been a few situations in the past where I’ve waited what would seem like “too late” to start something. There have been deadlines approaching that I’ve been aware of and rather than marching full speed towards them, I’ve waited. On the outside, it looks somewhat like procrastination. However, I’ve recently decided that it’s more like patience.

With practically everything I do in life, I need for it to feel right. Over 90% of the time I operate on my gut feeling. It’s how I opened my first business at 23. In a depression. It didn’t make any sense on paper, yet it felt right. My gut feeling is the same thing I used when getting married in 12 days, selling that first business, and opening another. To the outside world, none of those made much sense. However, my gut said go for it, and I did. I’ve used the same approach for many big and small decisions over the years and it’s working for me. That’s not to say that I have always made the right decisions…that’s a different post entirely.

At first, I myself thought it was procrastination, followed by a bit of luck when things worked out. It seemed like I’d put things off until the last minute and then somehow it would magically come together. I’d feel lucky or that I squeezed right by the doors of doom. Recently though, I started seeing this tendency of mine in a new light. I realized that things did usually come together, even if it happened on a different timeline than I originally deemed appropriate. I learned that I shouldn’t force things to happen, just to make progress early on. Instead, if I’d practice a bit of patience, things would likely still come together in the end. Rather than force myself to do something, I should just have a little bit of faith and wait until it felt right.

I have two recent examples for you. First, I’ve been toying around with the idea of a new business. If I were going to run with this idea as originally planned, I would need to travel out of town during the month of August. I was forcing myself to make a decision and get things in order, so that I would meet this self-imposed deadline. It just didn’t feel quite right though, so I hadn’t bought that plane ticket. It seemed like I needed to, yet something was holding me back. As I waited just a bit longer, things started coming together, although they’re shaping up a bit differently than I originally thought. I didn’t need to “get it together and make a decision” as I had been telling myself. I just needed to wait.

Similarly, I’ve known that I’d need to hire a new assistant since June. My current assistant would be moving in August, and I had a few months to find someone new. I had plans to attend a few trainings, etc. before I started the interviewing process and those didn’t work out like I had planned. I was also considering revamping the position a bit and morphing it into something that would enable my real estate business to grow. Weeks started passing. I went to Alaska. My trainings didn’t work out as planned, and I hadn’t made those decisions on what the position would look like in the future. More weeks passed. I’d sit down to write an email or Facebook post about the fact that I was hiring, and the words just wouldn’t come. No words?? I never have a problem with words! Somehow though, I couldn’t draft a “now hiring” post or a job description to save my life.

Now it’s August, just a few short weeks before I’d be left assistant-less. I felt like I had procrastinated again. I’d waited too long to start looking. Finally though, I started thinking of it differently. I realized that in the past I’ve thought I was procrastinating, and then things fall together at the right time. I realized that I had much more success with waiting until things felt “right” than I did with forcing things along. I even had that conversation with my husband. I said that I didn’t know what this position would look like and that I didn’t have any strong leads. Even though time was seemingly running out, I just needed to wait.

On August 6, just 14 days before my current assistant would be leaving, I received a call that there was a young lady interested in the job. I knew this girl from previous encounters and had always been very impressed with her. As soon as I learned that she was interested, I was immediately excited. We breezed through the interview/hiring process over the next couple of days and by August 10 I had hired a new almost-full-time assistant. I’m thrilled with my decision and I can’t wait to see how my business grows. I’m also looking forward to the opportunity to build and new relationship and I have a distinct feeling that I’m going to learn a lot from her loving, positive attitude.

I’ll spare you the rest of the details for now, as they’re not the true reason for this post. My ultimate point here is that sometimes you just have to wait. If something isn’t feeling right, it might not be the right timing. Rather that force a new idea or plan into action, sometimes you must practice a little patience. I certainly do not mean make a habit of procrastination. (If you find yourself procrastinating often, I talk about that here.) Instead, I’m talking about those times where things feel forced…those times when the right move or decision isn’t clearly obvious. If you’re a person who operates primarily on instinct as I do, you may need to just step back and wait for a bit. To the naked eye, it likely seemed that I was avoiding the search for a new assistant. On the contrary, I finally identified that I shouldn’t force it and the right person for the job was just around the corner. If anything, I’m learning to be patient and to follow my intuition.

I feel like I’ve learned another important detail about myself this month. Identifying these tendencies has taught me how to give myself a bit a grace. I’m learning more about how my own mind and body operates every single day. With this new quality identified, I feel even more in charge of my life. Learning this, coupled with the promise of a very large and very positive change in my business, has given me a new dose of inspiration. I’m feeling recharged and motivated, and I’m more than excited to see what the next several months hold. Here’s to big discoveries and bright futures!

Knowing What You’re Good At

Know Your Strengths to be Your Beautiful SelfI think there’s a certain level of maturity and self-awareness that must be present to really know what you’re good at. I’ve nailed down a few of my own skills lately, and I’ve realized just how valuable that can be. By getting a grasp on what you’re really good at, you can suddenly open up doors for yourself that you might have otherwise missed. Here’s how I’ve been able to make some progress in those areas myself.

First, I think you must identify things you’re NOT good at. Sometimes it’s hard for us to admit that certain things aren’t our strong points. We may have to come to terms with the fact that we’re not good at everything. (The horror!) We may also have to realize that we need to delegate some items or ask for help. However, the fact of the matter is, we’re not all good at everything. Being bad at some things gives us room to be great at others. If you can put your finger on things that you’re not the best at, you will start to identify things you are good at. (It might help to think about things that you find yourself procrastinating.)

Secondly, think about things that you always get compliments on. If you pay close attention, you might find that people tend to repetitively compliment you on the same or related things. For me, I always hear things like, “you have great taste.” Or, “you’re great at marketing.” Without realizing it, people were identifying some of my skills that I may not have really paid attention to otherwise. If you listen to things that the people around you point out, you might identify some underlying skills that you weren’t really noticing. You can also possibly identify things you aren’t as good at through this same method. However, be very, very careful to not let someone’s seemingly negative comments bring you down or discourage you. Pay attention, yet don’t let someone else have the final say.

Finally, I always encourage people to pay attention to your senses. If you’re genuinely excited about something and can’t stop thinking about it, maybe that’s your thing. If you regularly feel anxious or dread something, it might not be your thing. Most of the time, your gut will guide you towards what’s a right fit. You just have to listen and pay attention to what you’re feeling.

Furthermore, you may be good at some aspects of things, and not as good at others. This is certainly the case for me. For example, I’m a great business owner. I have a natural business mindset that allows me to make good marketing and growth decisions. I’m usually very good at sensing what my customers/clients might want and then delivering just that. On the other hand, I’m not as good at some of the behind the scenes aspects. If I had to file my own taxes, I’d probably quit. Many of the more tedious aspects of running a business are not my forte. I learned this about myself by following the guidelines above. I also learned that I can still be a great business owner, even if I’m not good at all areas of running a business. Rather than trying to do all and be all, I can get help with the things that I’m not good at, and in turn, that’ll open up time for me to do the things I am best at. It’s a win, win.

I’ve found that by being truly honest with ourselves, we can excel in the areas we’re meant to be known for. We can also alleviate a lot of unnecessary stress by not forcing ourselves to do the stuff that doesn’t fill us up. Of course, sometimes our jobs do require us to do things that aren’t ideal. For example, it may be your job to clean the bathroom. That’s not a glamorous position, yet someone has to do it. I wouldn’t suggest refusing to clean the bathroom because it doesn’t fill you up. However, if you focus on what you’re good at and really excel at that, you might be opening yourself up for a promotion where bathroom duty is no longer on your list. Sometimes we have to pay our dues. In the end though, it’s by accentuating our talents that we’ll get ahead.

Is there something that you seem to dread on a daily basis? Spend some time today thinking about what you naturally feel drawn to and what you want to run away from. This exercise might give you the ammunition you need to craft a more ideal and more beautiful life for yourself.

Have any thoughts on the topic? Please share!

The planner in the photo above is from A Beautiful Mess.

Being a Business Owner

Business Owner (4)

If there’s one thing I could talk about all day long besides goal-setting, it’s business. It doesn’t even matter what type of business really. I just love the concept. Looking back, I can see signs that I was destined to be a business owner from day one.

I’ve opened two business so far in my short lifetime. At 23, I opened Salt & Pepper Accessory Boutique with my sister. At this point in my life, I had very little experience in knowing what all was out there in the world. I did have experience in the fashion industry, and this business came from the idea of providing affordable, out-of-the-ordinary fashion accessories to the average woman. The premise was that a shopper would get the service of a boutique store at affordable prices and that absolutely everyone would be welcomed there. Our staff was rigorously trained to make every shopper feel special, important, and wanted. I loved how we were subtlety empowering our shoppers.

After opening in 2009, we added clothing, shoes, vintage furniture/home decor, and various household goods. We also expanded and moved to a newer, larger building. Looking back, my sister and I opened a business that thrived primarily on disposable income right in the middle of a recession. Realistically, that doesn’t seem like a smart business move. However, I’ve always operated on my gut feeling and something said go for it.

Business Owner (1)

Four years after opening Salt & Pepper, I made the oh-so-tough decision to sell the business and move on to new ventures. To this day, I miss searching out the coolest, non-mainstream items for the store. Nonetheless, I love business number two and haven’t looked back.

I became a licensed realtor in June of 2013. At that time, I really had no idea where this career would take me. All I knew was that I’d always had a strong interest in the real estate industry. Shortly after becoming licensed, I created Pamela Petrus, LLC. On the surface, it looks like I show houses for a living. Sometimes my short answer to people when they ask the ever-popular what-do-you-do question is, “I sell real estate.” That’s just the short answer though. In fact, I run a business.

At this time, Pamela Petrus, LLC is a business that focuses primarily on aiding third parties in the sell and purchase of residential properties. I don’t show houses all day, and I’m not a salaried employee of Keller Williams Realty. lnstead, I am an independent contractor (self-employed) and Keller Williams is my broker.

In all honesty, I’m likely selling myself short by saying, “I sell houses.” In reality, I am a business owner. I am a professional marketer and negotiator. I study pages and pages of contracts daily. I manage communication between a host of parties involved in a single real estate transaction…bankers, lawyers, buyers, sellers, contractors, insurance agents…the list goes on and on. I possess a wealth of information, not known by the general public. I protect my clients’ investments and help them make the best decisions during what’s often the largest purchase of their lives. Frequently, I’m a counselor and I help manage emotions.

Business Owner (2)

I don’t just show houses. I do all of the tasks done by the average business owner. I advertise. I pay payroll. I research my market. I study trends and manage finances. I pay lots and lots of taxes. Undoubtedly, my paycheck comes from commission paid on the sale of a home. That’s ultimately how I pay my bills. However, it’s so much more elaborate than selling real estate as a hobby. I didn’t get into this industry to look at pretty houses everyday. I’m a professional, not a hobbyist.

In thinking about what it really means to be a business owner, sometimes I’m taken back. Sometimes, I myself, forget to treat Pamela Petrus, LLC as a business, not a job. Sometimes I’m simply amazed/proud/humbled by the fact that I’ve opened two businesses already, and I’m not even 30 years old. Most of all, I’m thankful for this business mindset that I possess and for the opportunity to do what I do.

Business Owner (3) This post came to be after a pretty humbling realization I had. I read all of the blog posts on business. Seriously, if one of my favorite bloggers writes anything about their businesses, I’m all ears (or eyes, rather). I’m always a tad jealous of how much control they have and how unapologetic they are for crafting things to be how they want. Then, it dawned on me. I, too, am a business owner with the ability to run my business how I choose. I don’t have to work with mean people. I can manage my schedule so that it provides the best life possible for my husband and I. I get to decide what I  will and won’t do and what’s next. The scary truth is, all of the decisions begin and end with me, and I get to decide how this business of mine is ran. That fact is both invigorating and immensely frightening.

What’s next? Something big. Only time will tell. I do have big plans, for sure. I have dreams of investing (rentals and remodels), coaching, and consulting. I’m not sure what each of these items will look like, yet I know they’re on the horizon. Will I open other businesses? Most likely. Will I continue to run a real estate business? Most likely. Will I constantly be looking for the next big thing for me and my family? Definitely. I truly believe that the best lives are lived by always seeking new adventures and by always looking for more. Some ventures may succeed and others may fail. However, you’ll never know which is which without making that first step.

P.S. A post on how I manage a full to-do list.
P.S.S. Click here if you’re interested in becoming a professional realtor.

Family Reunion 2015!

KW Family Reunion 2015KW Family Reunion 2015KW Family Reunion 2015I spent most of last week in Orlando, FL at Family Reunion. Family Reunion is one of the largest real estate conferences in the world, if not THE largest. Keller Williams agents from around the world converge once a year to discuss results from the previous year and insight for the current year.  We spend most of the days in classes, learning new strategies for growing our businesses, and this year was no exception….I learned A LOT and left with a TON of ideas!

KW Family Reunion 2015The biggest announcement for 2015 is that Keller Williams is now the #1 real estate company in the world!! In 2014, we were pleased to announce that we were the largest company in the US, but this year’s announcement was even larger! It is honestly so humbling to sit back and think of what a magnificent company it is that I work with. The Keller Williams company was started in 1983 in Austin, TX. In just 32 short years, it has grown to #1 in the world. Such substantial and sustainable growth in such a short period of time is a large testament to the culture and vision of this company. I am very proud to get to work with such a fantastic, progressive-thinking group of people.

KW Family Reunion 2015KW Family Reunion 2015We also announced that we’ll be welcoming our peers to our neck of the woods next year. Family Reunion 2016 will be in New Orleans!!

Over 11,000 agents attended this annual conference. If you ever need perspective on how small your corner of the world is, sit in a room of 11,000-12,000 like-minded people who do the same exact thing you do all across the world. It’s an invigorating experience and offers an ample dose of perspective.

KW Family Reunion 2015KW Family Reunion 2015Now that I’m home from the 2015 conference, I’m ready to take this year by storm! It’s so easy to return home and get caught up in the daily hustle and bustle and never implement any new ideas. However, I’m committed to taking steps to implement the things I’ve learned and ideas I’ve had. I plan to set aside time for dreaming big and planning for my business. After all, these are the things that will set me apart and guarantee my success.

Whether they’re personal or professional, I hope that you’re setting big goals for this year, and I hope that you’re committed to making them a reality. Don’t forget…you and you alone are in charge of what your life looks like and where you go. Don’t let the routine of daily life cloud your focus. Here’s to a happy and successful 2015!

KW Family Reunion 2015Want more information about becoming a realtor? Click here! You can also email me at pamelapetrus at gmail dot com!

Related: Family Reunion 2014 – Pheonix, AZ

How ‘Do Not Disturb’ Changed My Life

Do Not DisturbThis fun fact is really only for my iPhone readers, although I’m sure there’s a similar function on most smart phones. It probably sounds a little dramatic, but I seriously can’t describe how big of a difference this new discovery has made for me.

As a realtor,  my phone rings literally all the time. If I’m not chatting with a client or lender, an attorney’s office is calling. If I’m not scheduling an inspection or appraisal, someone is texting me about a new listing. (Let’s not even mention emails.) I blow through a full battery in the blink of an eye, but I’m practically always on my phone. This isn’t a complaint…it’s just part of the business that I’m in. (It’s also part of the reason I don’t really get a “day off.”)

What does this really mean though? It means that my phone is still going off when I’m home for the night. It means that during family functions, I can feel my phone vibrating in my pocket. It means that during a meeting with a client, they see my phone going off nonstop, and they feel rushed. None of these things are conducive to a well-balanced, happy life or a successful business. I got 11 texts back to back at 3:00 am once! I do work a lot, but I’m likely sleeping at 3:00 am. My phone has literally rang at all hours of the night. Then, I’m awake with work on the brain, and I can’t go back to sleep. This I how I come to explore the world of do not disturb.

At first, I was hesitant to use this iPhone feature because I was afraid that my mom would need me in the middle of the night or someone would call with an emergency. However, I learned that a call from anyone in your favorites list would come on through. How perfect!

For several months now, I’ve been putting my phone on do not disturb when I get into bed at night. Calls and texts still come through, but I’m not notified. This way, I’m able to sleep peacefully through the night (most of the time) and yet still be able to receive messages that I need to handle the next day.

On a usual day, I switch my phone back to its active mode once I’m done getting ready in the morning. I’ve talked about things that I’ve learned, and one of those is that if I get a call or text early in the morning with something that needs to be handled right away, I immediately start rushing through getting ready and my day starts spiraling out of control. I’ve also learned that being able to get ready in a slow, easy pace is like heaven to me. There’s just something so refreshing to me about being able to take my time getting dressed in the mornings. Almost all of my best days start with this. Therefore, I quickly learned that leaving my phone on do not disturb until I was done getting dressed made a world of difference for how my day developed and my mood. After all, I think it’s best to try to keep work to “work hours” as much as possible. (That means I’m probably not going to text you back at 6:00 am. Honestly, I’m not much of a morning person, so you really don’t want to hear from me that early. You’re welcome!)

I say all of this, not to discourage anyone for reaching out to me at any time. (I don’t get phone notifications for emails, so feel free to send those at any hour!) Instead, this post is about learning what works for you and makes you most productive. I knock out such a tremendous amount of work in the daytime hours, that I know I can limit the late evening and early morning hours for my personal time. I know that my entire day (which in turn means my mood and my ability to help my clients) becomes so much better when I give myself some disconnected time.

I shared the foundation of my productivity method last week, and I’d have to say using do not disturb would be my next big thing. If you struggle to disconnect or carve out time for yourself, you’ll want to give this a try. No one will know that you’re using the feature (calls don’t go straight to voicemail), and you can be in better control of your time. I honestly feel like I’ve been a ton happier and way more productive by using this tool.

What about you? Ever used the do not disturb feature? Have any other tips for ways of limiting your connectivity? I’m all ears!

*Again, of you’re a client or friend of mine, don’t hesitate to reach out to me if needed. I’m nearly always available and if you don’t get me right away, I’ll respond as soon as possible. I’ll just be sleeping (hopefully) during the night time hours. 🙂

To-Do Notebook

Tennessee5Anyone who knows me knows that I’m pretty much always going 90 miles an hour. I seldom slow down, and I always have a million irons in the fire. As I get older, I’m trying to really get a grasp on my daily life in order to take it a little easier on myself and eliminate as much stress from my life as possible. I hope that you’ll do the same because stress is really, really bad for you.

One thing that I’ve spent the last year or so working on is mastering my to-do list. One of the major productivity methods suggests that you write down every little thing that you need to do instead of just trying to remember things. It maintains that by not writing these things down, you force yourself to try to remember them wasting valuable brain space and increasing your stress levels. Once upon a time I was the person who never used a calendar or wrote out a grocery list…I did it all from memory. I shiver at that thought now!

Throughout this process, I’ve tried several different ways of organizing my life. I’ve used list software like Wunderlist. I’ve read pages and pages on processes like the Getting Things Done method. For a while, I used a combination of methods along with Wunderlist, and it actually worked pretty well for me. However, I soon fell off the wagon and quit using my newly developed system. I no longer had a grip on my days, and I didn’t have the desire to pick my old method back up. Then, I started using a little notepad to track my daily activities, and I felt in control again. Using this little notebook to keep track of what I need to do each day has made a profound difference in my productivity and stress level. Today, I’m going to tell you a little about my current productivity system and my beloved to-do notebook.

Tennessee5First, let’s talk about my requirements for a notebook of this type.

  1. Spiral Binding: I like my notebooks to be spiral bound so they stay open easily by themselves. I can’t stand when a book closes when I don’t want it to!
  2. Size & Weight: I carry this notebook with me at all times, so it needs to be lightweight and not too large. Most of the times I prefer something around a 5×7 size…it’s not too big and not too small and can easily slip in my purse.
  3. Paper: I do not like recycled paper. (I know, shame on me.) In theory I’d love recycled paper, but in most cases certain pens and highlighters will bleed through the paper and that can make a mess quickly! The pages must also be lined…it just makes sense!
  4. Cover: The book itself needs to be very durable since I’ll be using it daily for months at a time. Furthermore, I need it to be fun and cheery. This book is what motivates me to accomplish my daily tasks every day. A boring, plain book is simply not going to do that for me.

Tennessee5-3I’m pretty sure that you don’t know many other people who are so peculiar about a notebook. You should discuss daily planners with my friend, Amanda, if you think I’m crazy! Honestly, I’ve learned a ton about productivity and organization from her, so don’t judge!

So now that we’ve thoroughly discussed my qualifications for a to-do notebook, let’s talk about how I use it. I have a few different to-do list pages. I have daily to-dos and overall to-dos. (While I’m referring to them as to-dos all throughout this post, I don’t actually use that term in my notebook. That term is known to cause some anxiety itself. I haven’t settled on another name for them yet, but “to-do” is never written in my notebook.)

The overall to-dos are things that I need/want to do eventually but aren’t time sensitive. For example, cleaning out the pantry and selecting a new rug would be on this list. These items don’t have to be done today or tomorrow, but I do want to get around to them soon. It’s important to write these sorts of things down because otherwise they’re clogging up your brain space and can cause anxiety when you suddenly remember that you needed to do something like pick up the dry cleaning. Ideally, you would transfer items from this list on to the daily lists as time permitted. You should reference this list often to be sure you’re working towards the things you want to accomplish. Be sure to understand that this isn’t the place where miscellaneous tasks go to die…it’s more like the waiting room.

Daily tasksThe meat of my to-do notebook is my daily to-do items. Each day I have a page where I write the day and date as a header. It’ll say, “Thursday, February 7th” on the top and that page will include everything that I need to accomplish on that day. One of the important things that I learned during my productivity research is to not write down big goals. Instead, your list should be full of smaller items that can be accomplished quickly. For example, your list wouldn’t include painting the bedroom. Instead, it would include taping the edges, picking a paint color, buying paint and supplies, covering furniture, etc. Nothing should go on your list that isn’t a specific action itself. Therefore, my daily lists contain items like sending a contract to a client, returning a phone call, etc. I put any and everything on there that I need to remember with the goal being to not retain any of that in my head. I even include calendar items there like “lunch with Sheila,” but that’s mainly for the satisfaction of marking it off after lunch.

Lists, lists, listsThe goal of this notebook is to keep me from forgetting important things, but it has so much more value than just that. It frees up my brain to focus on more important things than trying to remember what 17 things I had to do today. It also helps me to stay focused and productive. More importantly, it reminds me of just how hard I worked that day. I’m quite the workaholic and I struggle with guilt issues on a daily basis. When I wrap up a day with a full page of items crossed off, I can remind myself that I worked hard today and I deserve to take the evening off. I can remind myself that even though the day may have been chaotic, I still knocked it out of the park and got a lot accomplished. The value of this little notebook has surpassed what I ever thought possible, and while I may switch to another system eventually, this method knocks my socks off right now.

What system do you use to organize your to-do lists and stay productive? As you know, I’m very goal driven, so talking about productivity methods gets me excited! I’d love to hear about how you handle daily tasks…please share!