Tag Archives: real estate

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!

Monthly Goals – May

May FlowersWell, it’s May already. Are you as shocked by that as I am?? I sat down to write my usual monthly goals post and then realized that I just couldn’t do it. I’m not ready to set monthly goals again yet. At first I was all like, “Geez, Pamela. You skipped last month too. You really need to get it together.”

Then I realized something important. I don’t have to set monthly goals. I don’t actually have to set any goals at all. (Although, that would drastically affect my success and productivity.) If you clink on my goal tag you’ll quickly and easily see that setting goals is my jam. It’s likely one of those things that I’ll be known for. It’s how I operate and what I’m good at.

However, sometimes you just gotta take a break from things. Sometimes you have to hit pause on your regular activities and come back to them later when it feels right. That’s what I’m doing here. My work schedule isn’t really conducive to a ton of personal development or house projects right now. Plus, I’m in the middle of BOLD (a very intense real estate class) and working diligently on #the100dayproject. So, rather than feeling guilty for “getting off track,” I’m going to cut myself some slack and not worry too much about ditching the monthly goals for a bit.

Have you ever hit pause on something and came back to it later? If so, I’d love to hear how that worked for you. I’m sure that I’ll pick these monthly goals back up soon. For now, I’ll be selling all of the houses, calling all of the people, and making all of the crafty projects.

Related: focusing on just one goal.

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.

#the100dayproject

100 Days of Making

(photo via The Great Discontent)

When I saw details for #the100dayproject  (via EliseJoy),  I knew I had to participate! I’m always the first to get behind any sort of daily challenge. (I’m also probably the first to fall behind half way through…no judging!)

The premise behind this project is that you make something daily for 100 days. Can you just imagine what all you could get done by making something every day for 100 days?? I wasn’t sure if I wanted to make something or do something…I just knew I wanted to participate somehow.

#100DayProjectI actually had quite a bit of trouble deciding which project I wanted to tackle. I made a rather lengthy list and then deliberated for hours on what to do. By deliberated, I mean practically stressed over it and sent waaay too many text messages to Amanda for her opinion.

Nonetheless, I finally made a decision! I decided to go with 100 days of crafty things! I wanted something that had a bit of flexibility, so I left my topic a bit open ended. (I didn’t want to have to work on the same type of project every day.) As of right now, I envision my daily tasks being a variety of things. Some days I’ll paint. Some days I might finish decorating an area of my home, make something new, or learn a new, crafty skill.

Regardless of what actual task I complete each day, my focus is to actually do something fulfilling each day. Most days I am completely exhausted by the time I get home from work, and I tend to put off all of the fun projects I’d like to do. By participating in the 100 days project, I’m hoping to reserve a bit of time each day for creating/doing something fun.

gift wrappinghandmade braceletCinderella quoteWhat have I done so far?
Day 1: wrapped a wedding present and made a gift tag for it
Day 2: made a bracelet
Day 3: doodled a quote from Cinderella for my mirror
Day 4: I’m planning to work on some crafty Lovely Lady Letters!

Think you might like to participate? It’s not too late! Go to the site and register. The project continues until July 14, 2015. You can play catch up if you’d like, skip a few of the first days, or continue on past July 14….whatever your heart desires! If you do decide to participate, let me know! I’d love to follow along.

If you’d like to keep up with what I’ll be doing through this project, you can follow #100daysofcraftythings on IG (@pamelapetrus). Happy crafting!

MAP Does Dallas

MAP Dallas (13)One of my goals for the month was to make a weekend trip over to Dallas and spend a bit of time with the husband. Done! What started as a trip to IKEA, ended up being an excuse to get away and celebrate Matthew’s graduation.

Most of our trips revolve around food. Picking a cool restaurant is of utmost importance. Here’s where we ate on this trip:

MAP Dallas (14)MAP Dallas (15)The Dairy Palace (Canton, Tx):
This is one of my favorite burger joints of all time. We stopped here on the way to Dallas and on the way back. The burgers are some of the best I’ve ever had. They’re world famous and open 24 hours. If you’re passing through Texas on I-20, make a plan to stop here.

MAP Dallas (3)MAP Dallas (2)MAP Dallas (16)MAP Dallas (1)Cane Rosso (Deep Ellum):
This was our first stop when we made it to Dallas, and it did not disappoint. The selection of brick oven pizzas is mouth-watering. No need to order an appetizer here because it only takes 75 seconds to cook a pizza! My favorite thing here was the decor. The restaurant was in an old building that had been very tastefully and eclectically redone. My favorite part was the fringe lights. You better believe that I’ll be purchasing one of these if I ever come across one!

Fluellen CupcakesSol Ilandes (Downtown):
This place was in walking distance from our hotel, which is half of the appeal. What started as just picking a convenient place to eat turned into a fantastic meal! They played old country music and the place was filled to the brim with happy folks and high energy. There was a patio with roll up windows on the side that would be a great place to enjoy in warmer weather. The food was pretty great too. The menu was diverse, and the food was flavorful…something that you don’t always find outside of Louisiana. It’s definitely a place I’d recommend to anyone in Downtown Dallas. After dinner, we walked around the corner to Fluellen Cupcakes. The carrot cake cupcake was amazing and my favorite thing about this place was that they’re open late!

MAP Dallas (9)MAP Dallas (11)MAP Dallas (10)Buzz Brews (Deep Ellum):
This might have been one of my favorite stops on the trip. It was across the street from Cane Rosso and had a very artsy vibe. It featured a self-serve coffee bar. (The peanut butter coffee was a crowd favorite…we even order a 1/2 pound to bring home!) We were also incredibly impressed by the food. My banana nut pancakes were off the charts! I was in love with the old faucets in the bathroom…so cool! The  bathroom itself is something to talk about. I heard a girl say, “It’s two doors, but don’t let that confuse you…its one bathroom.” I thought that meant you had to go through two doors to get in. Nope. It’s two doors (one for men and one for women), but they lead into the SAME bathroom. There were individual stalls/rooms on each side with the cool sinks in the middle of the room. I’d never seen anything quite like it!

MAP Dallas (12)MAP Dallas (6)MAP Dallas (7)MAP Dallas (5)One of the highlights of this trip was that I got to go ice skating for the first time! Matthew has quite a bit of experience, but I had never been on skates. I’m happy to report that I didn’t fall, not even once! They say that ice skating is a lot like rollerblading, which I can agree with…if you’re roller blading on baby oil!

MAP Dallas (4)Another highlight was our visit to the Look Cinemas. This is one of those movie theaters that have recliners, serve food, etc. Actually, they offer four different experiences to chose from. (Check out their website…it’s pretty cool.) Matthew and I chose the Look & Dine experience. My favorite part of this theater was the chairs…they were grouped in sets of two, were incredibly comfortable, and reclined! That only thing missing from this experience was a cozy blanket!

The day we headed home, we spent 7+ hours at IKEA. My birthday present from Matthew was to finish out my closet room, so we ultimately went to get some storage solutions for that. We also bought shelves for my office, a new rug, and several other goodies that you’ll likely see around my house soon. As always, it was a fun (but exhausting) day of shopping. Never ben to IKEA? Go! There’s nothing else like it.

All in all, we had a fun trip. We met up with Amanda and her sister Rachel here and there and enjoyed lots of quality time together. I also got two houses under contract while on the road, which is seriously one of my favorite things about this career.

Want to read more about our travels? Check here! Where shall we go next??

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

Keller Williams Family Reunion – Phoenix, AZ

In front of the Keller Williams sign

I wrote this post after returning home from Family Reunion in Phoenix, AZ last year, but I never got around to sharing it here on the blog. In honor of being in Orlando for Family Reunion 2015 this week, I thought I’d finally share the post. Enjoy!

I spent five days in Phoenix for the Keller Williams Family Reunion last month, and I’m totally fired up about what 2014 will hold for my career. (For the record, Family Reunion is an annual conference where our agents get together and discuss trends, ideas, the past year, and what’s new for our company.) There were over 10,000 agents flooding downtown Phoenix for this event!

There were 16 of us from Monroe/West Monroe, and I loved getting to know our team a little better. Even though we work together on transactions and see each other around the office every day, you don’t really get to know someone until you spend a solid 5 days with them!

Unfortunately, my brain was on real estate overload most of the time so I didn’t even snap many photos. We were in back-to-back sessions every day and any free time we had was primarily spent eating. If you’re ever in Phoenix, you must try the key lime pie at Fuego. It was simply delicious. It wasn’t like your regular key lime, and if I ever make it back to Phoenix, I will definitely be stopping by for a slice.

Old Spaghetti Factory

The atmosphere at The Old Spaghetti Factory was fascinating. After making our reservations, we found out that it’s known to be haunted! One of the A&E shows came and agreed that their were indeed spirits present there. The decor was very cool but also a tad creepy considering the place is supposedly haunted. I have several photos from this place, so I may make a separate post soon. Believe in spirits or not, I didn’t go to the restroom alone!

Touhy Family

My other favorite, non-real estate experience was hearing from the Touhy’s, the real-life family from The Blindside. I’ve always found that movie to be so inspiring, and it was great to hear from the real family. The mom, Leigh Anne Tuohy, talked about how she keeps some cash in the console of all of their family’s vehicles so that they can easily give a couple of dollars to someone on a street corner. (For those who say they’ll just buy drugs or alcohol, she says that you’ll be judged on the kindness in your own heart. Let them be judged for what they do with the money.) The biggest take-away from their presentation for me was that you don’t have to adopt a neglected, homeless kid to make a difference in the world. (However, that would help.) I’ve talked about this several times, but even the smallest gestures can make the biggest difference. I’m sure you can think of instances where someone has said or done something to completely turn your day around. It was such a powerful experience.

While I am more than happy to be home to my fantastic husband and my normal work schedule, I am thankful that I had a chance to attend this event. I found some much needed motivation and came home full of ideas for better serving my clients. I am thankful for the chance to be “in the business of making friends,” and I look forward to knocking it out of the park in 2014!

Have you ever thought about a career in real estate or do you have any general questions? I’m willing to help in any way that I can, so feel free to leave a comment or shoot me an email or text!

My Tweet: Are you using your time to make a mark or are you just marking time? #kwfr

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. 🙂

It’s My Birthday!

Bread PuddingLast week (January 9), I turned a whopping 29 years old. This post is somewhat of a recap of my birthday festivities. I’m a huuuuge birthday person. I proudly celebrate birthday weeks (sometimes months), and I take them very seriously.

Funny story: Once upon a time, my best friend gave an ex boyfriend a copy of The Breakup for Christmas. Attached was a note that read, “This is Pamela’s favorite movie. Also, here’s a tip…her birthday is a huge deal. Don’t forget that or you’ll most certainly ‘break up.'” I thought it was so clever and simply hilarious. He didn’t….which is probably why we broke up.

Birthday Eve Ice CreamThis year, however, was different. I wasn’t as excited as usual about my birthday, and it took quite a bit to get me in the mood. I attribute some of this to not feeling well and being incredibly tired. I also think that I’m so pumped about my 30th birthday, that this one feels a little blah. (I’m totally expecting my 30s to rock…not dreading that birthday at all!) Nonetheless, I finally got excited as the day rolled around. On Thursday, Matthew and I finished up work a little early, so we got ice cream, ran a few errands, and did a bit of shopping. I counted this as my birthday eve celebration, and it definitely helped me get in the mood.

It's My Birthday!

Social Bites CupcakeOn Friday, I woke up to tons of messages and facebook posts and that made me so excited! (Seriously, if you took time to message me, I totally appreciate it!) I headed over to Ruston and had lunch at one of my favorites, Beau Vines. That lemon cake is amazing! Amanda surprised me with my first Social Bites cupcake! After lunch I went for a quick massage, and then met a few folks for dinner at Cascio’s Tavern.  (The parmesan chicken and blackened chicken pasta are my favs there.)

Possibly the highlight of my birthday weekend is that my long term best friend, Naomi, got to come for a visit. I most definitely don’t get to see her enough and was thrilled that she got to come spend a few days with me for my birthday. Saturday, I had to work for a bit and then Naomi and I did some shopping. (I bought some Minnetokas from Salt & Pepper that I’m soooo excited about.)

Birthday CakePajama Party CrewBirthday Cake Saturday night, a few friends came over for a pajama party at my house. I had a million plans for this pajama party but didn’t really get to implement many. Instead, I decided that my birthday reward to myself would be to invite people over to a less-than-perfectly-clean home that still has Christmas decor up and not stress over that. I didn’t get to do many of the cutesy things I had planned, but I did get to take a breather and spend some time catching up with friends and watching girly movies. For the record, adult pajama parties are the way to go. We’ll be doing this again soon!

I’ll tell the next portion of my birthday story, solelyto make you feel good about yourself. Seriously, if you’re feeling a little down today, you should read on. It’s bound to lift your spirits. I’d like to say that we wrapped up my birthday weekend by arriving on time and perfectly dressed to my family birthday dinner on Sunday. Not quite. Instead, we arrived to family birthday dinner (hosted for me by Matthew’s parents) 40 minutes late with me rocking greasy hair and no makeup. Why is that, you ask? I put it on my calendar for the following Sunday. If I were being completely honest, I’d tell you that Matthew and I considered wrecking our car on the way over, just so the family might feel sorry for us and forget about the fact that we totally screwed up. I tell this story in a joking manner, but I felt absolutely horrible. I guess if there’s any party that it’s ok to show up late to, it would be your own birthday party. Lesson learned. I’ll be keeping a closer eye on my schedule from now on.

The celebrating even stretched into Monday, as I had lunch with my real estate team at Waterfront Grill (and ate that amazing bread pudding shown above). Speaking of my real estate team, I stopped by the office to find 20+ of these “Happy Birthday Pam” signs spread throughout the office. On the front door…the coke machine…strategically placed on the top of the trash can…you name it.  However, my name isn’t Pam. It’s Pamela – all day, every day. I enjoyed searching for the signs, but if anyone starts calling me Pam from these signs, I might have to murder a coworker. (Thanks for thinking of me, Shane.)

All in all, I had a good weekend. I enjoyed time with friends and family and felt so thankful to have so many show that they cared. I didn’t do this birthday in my usual birthday style, but it’ll still go down on the books as a success. Thanks to everyone who contributed!