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The Quest for Balance

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‘Balance is an illusion.’

A coach said that to me once when I was complaining about how much I had worked that week.  I was feeling badly about time away from my kids, the things I hadn’t gotten around to completing, and how much I had on my plate.

I remember slightly resenting him when he said it.  We all strive to have a balance between work and our personal lives.  We want time to complete our work successfully.  We want to be good parents, good spouses, and good friends.   Surely there is a way to create a sense of balance, right?

Yet real estate is a business not always limited by 9 to 5, Monday thru Friday.   I’m good at creating schedules.  I color code my schedule using Google Calendar (which I LOVE).  Yet even with the best of intentions, sometimes I find myself thinking things are way out of balance.

Sunday night I looked at my calendar from the preceding week and understood my exhaustion.  Lots of green (client time), some red (business support), and very little blue (personal time).  Clearly out of balance.

The Pendulum Swings Back

The real gift from the coach that day was something that has helped me everyday since.   Balance in the short term may be an illusion but the desire for it, the desire for a sense equilibrium, is what allows you to take stock and allow the pendulum to swing back the other direction.  It’s the very consciousness of it that allows one to accomplish it over the long run.

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This week, you may find that I will be slightly hard to reach on Thursday and Friday.  If you see me at the beach, with a good looking guy and 3 kids, come say hi.  Let’s just not talk about biz – it will be a Blue Day.

Written By

Linsey Planeta is the Broker Owner of Belterra Fine Homes in Orange County, California. Linsey rants regularly on her blog, OC Real Estate Voice. She also provides sellers with tips on how to get their home sold on Why Didn't My Home Sell? She has been an active Real Estate Coach and Instructor and loves working with agents so that they may look at their business with fresh eyes, renewed purpose, and defined systems. Linsey can be found in her office or you can also find her on Twitter@Linsey.



  1. Brandie Young

    July 14, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    Linsey – nice post. It’s so easy to neglect personal time … a reminder is good!

  2. BawldGuy

    July 14, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    I’ve always believed balance is a mindset not always congruent with reality, but just as real. Balance is always subject to priorities imposed upon us by Von’s, Chevron, the power comany, etc.

    It’s always amazed me how much a coupla days at the beach w/family can ‘balance’ the last 15 days of wall to wall work — but it seems to do just that, doesn’t it?

  3. Lani Rosales

    July 14, 2009 at 7:29 pm

    Lindsay, this is hard for most of us who are immersed in social media but to further the balancing issues, there is still a mindset that it is a male/female balancing problem. Just yesterday, an article was published on Reuters called “Jack Welch: Child-Raising is For Chicks”… what do you think of all that business? Are you incapable of balancing because you’re a chick? Makes me wonder if the balancing act is as complicated as some make it or if it’s simply (as you’ve stated) a choice one makes, independent of lifestyle, age, sex, religion?

  4. Linsey

    July 14, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Wow Lani – that is a major hot button for me. Welch’s idea that it’s an either or choice for women is dangerous. For me it’s critical that my daughter sees that having an ability to care for oneself (regardless of kids and marriage) is very important. Life throws curve balls and well, I think it’s important for a young woman to know that she is capable.

    And I do think you are right. Balancing can be tougher in some ways on a woman. And ultimately, you make choices. Sometimes I’m SuperRealtor, sometimes I’m SuperMom, maybe just not always simultaneously. 🙂

  5. tomferry

    July 14, 2009 at 9:18 pm

    How do you define balance?

    I think that’s an important distinction. Some say true inspiration is when you find the joy in work and play and they both feel the same.

    One thing I have learned that the RE biz has no boundaries unless you create them and the team or structure to support what you want.

    We both have small kids enjoy the time at the beach! And if you need a schedule or check list, start with suntan lotion, a boogie board, a great book and build some castles!

    Have fun!

  6. Joe Loomer

    July 15, 2009 at 8:36 am


    I think you ought to clear it with my wife before trying to abduct me and take me to the beach. I’m a married man for chrissakes!

    Seriously though. One of the blessings in my life has been the fact that both my wife and I are Realtors. Folks I run in to these days say “wow, you must be really struggling.” To which I reply – “Nope, had to shift somewhat to accomodate a different market, but we’re doing fine.”

    The balance the “Spouses Selling Houses” model has provided us has meant that over the last seven years:

    – My kids never spent a second in daycare.
    – I have never missed a sporting event they’re in.
    – We have dinner together more nights than not.

    Perhaps this is coming across as a gloat – I hope it doesn’t – I just meant to state that we did not see these rewards when I first joined my wife in the trade – I’d given myself six months to succeed in real estate or I’d go find a “real job.” We didn’t seek the balance, it found us. Maybe there’s more balance in our own lives than we realize? What if you look at IM or phone (text even) conversations with family while working as a little sliver of blue in the middle of all the green and red?

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  7. Louise Scoggins

    July 15, 2009 at 11:49 am

    As a working Realtor mom and wife, it’s definitely hard to find balance! You just have to figure out what works best for you. For me, it means working a few more hours after my son goes to bed so I can spend the afternoon with him after school. During the summer, I try to take Friday’s off for pool days. This is what works for me / us, so that’s what we do. My dad always says, you can’t make lemonade without squeezing lemons. So I have to squeeze a few extra lemons sometimes to get that sweet time with my family. It’s a constant struggle though. So if anything, I take comfort in your post knowing I’m not alone! Have a GREAT time at the beach!!

  8. Missy Caulk

    July 17, 2009 at 9:30 am

    ahhh…the illusion of balance.

    It is a mindset and something we strive for all the time. Like Joe I never missed one event of my 5 children over real estate. They were my priority and I have no regrets. Seeing it on video is not good enough.

    Unplugging is critical to staying sane. Once a week, no phone, no internet. Balance…

    When you get that busy you can’t unplug…time for an assistant.

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