Have you been away?

It’s been one heck of a busy spring/summer schedule for most of us…both for association staff and volunteer leaders.  We’ve either been in the office, travelling in our car or attending meetings. Just recently, we tried to get five people to attend a meeting and over a two-month period, they only had one day when all were available.

Please let me relate a personal (and true) story that relates to work/life balance.

Several years ago I had a particularly busy winter/spring schedule that included the normal events like OREA and CREA conferences, PAC Days, AEC Seminar….all the usual must-go-to-events, including many overnight stays. On top of that, I facilitated at many real estate associations. In one stretch I was away from home 30 days out of 6o. I was waiting for my Road-Warrior badge in the mail.

After a particularly long absence from my family I arrived at my home, plunked down my suitcase and briefcase on the entrance floor with a thud, just as my daughter came around the corner from the kitchen. She glanced over at me, paused… and with a dead-pan expression said: “Have you been away?”

Just let that sink in for a moment.

What kind of schedule are you keeping?

I’ve been told most Executive Officers, besides having a hectic travel and meeting schedule, are taking work home evenings and weekends; emailing at all hours and not taking all their holidays. Some senior volunteer leaders have spent up to 160 days a year on the road. A few years ago, at the OREA Leadership conference, our keynote speaker was the author of “Crazy Busy” and he described how our schedules and hurry-sickness is affecting our lives. Top of the list was relationships and health.

Is it time to take a pause and rethink all the things we feel we must go to? Can those of us scheduling these events do it differently, like e-workshops or webinars? Can we combine events that cuts travel in half or more? Do associations need more backup staff so the beleaguered Executive Officer can have a break? Must volunteer leaders attend everything?

Look at your schedule.  Have you been away?

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Have you been away?