An Inside Look at all things 3D Travel
A Day In the Life of an Agency Owner Specializing in Disney Destinations and Cruises
I opened 3D Travel summer of 2005 and with each new chapter, my schedule has changed and adjusted with the growth of our success, outside projects and even the changing ages of my children. This is my life today, as I'm on the verge of celebrating 14 years in the travel industry with over 40 team members, 3 (nearly) grown and flown children, a LARGE Mastiff and a little Yorkie all coloring the pages of my life here in Texas. What's it like?
7:00 am My co-owner & husband David is a firefighter, which means every morning is different for us. I wake up to him praying with me on the days he's headed out before dawn on shift day, half the morning is gone on the day he gets home from working his 24 hour shift or on days like today, he is sound asleep next to me as I wake up & quietly slide my way out of the bed and try not to disturb his much-needed rest. Before I attempt this, I check all my inboxes on my phone - I have 8 email accounts I check multiple times daily. I check Workplace and do a quick round of social media. I'm looking for fires that need to be put out in my agency and also any drastic issues in the travel industry - announcements, crises, etc. There are none, so quietly I slide…...
7:15 am I'm in our master bathroom, attempting to deal with my eyes which seem suddenly so much older in my 40's. What's that about? I try one of the many samples recently gifted me by the sweet lady behind the Walgreen's makeup counter when she checked me out last week, but I don't stick around to see if a miracle happened. Who has the time? I turn on something to listen to while I finish getting ready for my day - today I pop on a favorite West Wing. Idealistic television shows are my happy place & this one puts me in a "What's Next?" state of mind. #TeamBartlett
7:45 am I'm stumbling around downstairs. Due to some childhood injuries, I'm without cartilage in the lower part of my spine & until my muscles warm up for the day and compensate, I'm a little bit like the Tin Man in Wizard of Oz. This morning I'm feeding the dogs and instead of the Tin Man, I'm now thinking of the bobbing bird on corporate desks in the 80's, thankful no one can see me in my morning glory. I hear my middle child Noah singing and rehearsing his piano for his classes today. He's a music major. He's also LOUD. I'm pretty sure both his siblings are griping at him from their rooms right now.
8:45 am Taking stock of what I've accomplished in the last hour - um, not much! I ate my way through the morning as I planned real food for the day. Passive calories are the worst! I opened some blinds, let dogs in and out, made a partial list and I seem to remember standing for longer than I should have, scrolling through Facebook. Back on track, I post a reminder in both our agency's Workplace 12-Week-Year accountability group & on Facebook for myself and fellow agency owner's Workplace 12-Week-Year accountability group, to get conversation and encouragement going.
9:15 am Both sons have left for their classes & both husband and (homeschooled) daughter are still asleep. I get in my devotions and prayers before I hit the ground running. It's email clearing house day & I have a TON to answer. I'm settled into my downstairs office, and it's blissfully quiet.
10:00 am I'm starting to get on a roll, when a scheduled appointment interrupts - my agents can schedule appointments with me throughout the week & my google pixel earbuds tell me this one is started. Today, we go over a bulk email I sent recently on her behalf - open rates, conversion possibilities, targeting, etc. We use zoom so I can screen share. We're both pleased - she's well above the curve.
11:00 am Back to the email box, following another quick round of social media. I spy an infraction from one of our newer agents who doesn't understand all the vendors' social media policies and shoot a quick message to her mentor. It's too scary to have "The Owner" contact you about something like this, and it's really not a big deal. We should all have grace for learning curves! But until you know me personally and especially if I'm in work mode, I come off harsh. I say a prayer of thanks for the mentor, who I know can impart the information without making our newbies feel badly.
1:00 pm I lift my head from the slowly depleting inbox and realize both hubby and daughter must be working upstairs. It's payday, so I know David hit the ground running. He's our company CFO when he's not fighting fire & saving lives, so I won't see much of him today. Hannah better be working, I think….. She's a homeschool kid & perfectly capable of running her own day well, but she is 16…… I head upstairs. Good news. She was! I also realize I'm still not hungry - how many calories did I graze this morning, anyway? UGH!
2:00 pm Conference call with a vendor who is excited about our recent business growth. Some vendors I see in person - having coffee with one tomorrow, as a matter of fact - but many of them meet me via phone call. We're growing over 50% & they're thrilled. In the last 4 years, we've gone from being nearly 100% Disney Destinations and cruise sales to fully ⅓ of what we book NOT being Disney. It's a huge accomplishment and I'm proud as I watch my team plan trips all over the world. Oh crud! I missed our Monday installment of #3DTV Facebook Live. As quickly as I've congratulated myself, I'm mad at myself.
3:00 pm By this time, I've sent encouragement to struggling agents, acknowledged appointments made for the next day & prepped for them, worked on a few flashes of inspiration for the upcoming Walt Disney World FAMiliarization trip I'm hosting next month for our and our National Meeting held on the Symphony of the Seas in September, plus turned down a few offerings for low priced trips and other opportunities for myself. That's one of the hardest parts of my job - missing opportunities - and I have to do it constantly. I know I'm "adulting" when I do it, but it still bothers me to no end. I also realize I'm finally hungry.
3:15 pm Standing in the door of the fridge eating leftover salads out of the containers - that's My Jam. I'm happy and fed. Of course now, I won't have any motivation to make a really good dinner, since I won't be hungry. Sadly, that's also my jam.
4:00 pm I go back to my task list for today - a task list so incredibly boring I think I'd actually go to sleep typing it out - and I finally buckle down and do one that's been haunting me. I should have Eaten My Frog early in the day, but instead I did the things I wanted to do first. Backwards. Misplaced priorities. I want to attack myself with a serious case of the "shoulds" but work to be nice to myself instead.
5:00 pm I'll have a loud house within the next half hour. Both boys will arrive home, David & Hannah will finish enough to want to take a break and eat & since I didn't delegate it, people will expect me to make dinner. I go into hyperdrive but as usual, it won't be enough. I transition to emailing people with when I'll be accomplishing something later in the week, instead of finishing it now and replying. By the time next Monday rolls around, I'll be back in the weeds.
5:30 pm I was right! Everyone has walked in & takes turns talking to me rapid-fire, even though I try not to look and listen until 6:00. I've already come to terms with delivery for dinner. I have at least 3 more hours of work left to do tonight, and I will get it done because the kids will be busy doing school, working and David will continue with his monthly payday task list. I give up & focus on my family, like I know I need to do. I immediately feel better.
8:00 pm The house is quiet again. No one cared it was takeout instead of mommy food. They're used to payday & Mondays happening around here - it's really inevitable, since they both combined this time. After dinner, I delegated in a round robin. You do the dishes. You do trash and dogs. You do the floors, etc. By the time I was at my desk, the dishwasher was running, house was cleaned up and the dogs had been cared for. I'm mad I didn't find time to exercise today and didn't eat as well as I should have. I wonder for the millionth time how I can manage to be healthy + be a wife, mother, business owner and sane person?
9:00 pm I've made some headway on long-term projects, like planning the flow for our upcoming podcast launch and spent time off and on in 3 conversations via Facebook Messenger - one owner, one agent going through a crisis and one personal friend. I laugh as I think how this is really my life. If we just threw in a family member, it would all be covered. No one in my family spends any real time on social media - unlike me - so that wouldn't happen.
10:00 pm In my final round robin of the day, I enter items on my task list kept in my Moleskine Organizer, which automatically populates to my google calendar. I have my google calendar pulled up on my small monitor & see two agents have made appointments for tomorrow - they're both brainstorming appointments for future marketing. I make post-it notes for both and stick them on my larger monitor, so I'll see them first thing tomorrow, when my creative juices begin to flow again. I tell myself I'll just finish a few last items, before I head to bed.
12:34 am The pain in my back makes me look at the clock. Uh oh! I'm still here. I stop and listen for the sounds of everyone. Two are asleep. I hear the Ukulele in one room and an episode of Big Bang Theory in another. My heart starts to ache for time with my family, while my body cries out for sleep. I check everyone's calendar and see I can spend time with all 3 kids tomorrow until 2:00 pm - they do Mon/Wed/Fri school, so I grab mornings on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I can. I make a plan to NOT work & focus only on them tomorrow until 2:00 and text them all to let them know. I know I won't get time with David until after his shift tomorrow, so I put a dinner date for us on the calendar later in the week and text it to him, so he'll see it when he wakes up in very few hours.
1:30 am I'm finally in bed, having done a few things around the house, taken a quick bath & prepped for tomorrow. I pray and read the Bible a bit more, thankful for a day to get things done. I walk down my list of 3D Team members in my head, praying for them one by one. I still feel that ache of missing my family - one dinner wasn't enough for me. I miss them! I comfort myself by looking at the times I have with them this week on the calendar & finally, turn on a book to listen to in my earbuds as I fall asleep. The house is completely quiet. The agents are paid. The email box is mostly clear. My company is thriving. I am definitely blessed more than I deserve.