The life of a real estate agent can feel like a 24/7 gig—being your own boss seems great until you find that you are a terrible task master.
Striking a balance between nurturing your personal life and tending your work life can be challenging, but the alternative is stress, burnout, and ruined relationships with the people you love.
A few changes to your habits and your mindset will pay dividends on your sanity…and even your productivity at work.
Tip #1: Cement Your Time Off
Your job will overrun your entire life if you let it, and the nature of real estate makes it nearly impossible to set a firm schedule in advance. That makes it even more crucial to set impervious boundaries around your time off.
Sit down and assess your work schedule against the times best suited for quality time with your family, friends, and hobbies. Pin down a few chunks of time where your personal life will benefit the most and your job will suffer the least, and then lock down those parts of your calendar.
You should also black out time in advance for vacation and special events like your kid’s school play. Make a point of creating distraction-free time for the things that are important to the people in your life.
Once those times are established, make a pledge to yourself that you won’t preempt them for work—not just sneaking away for a showing, but taking work communications, as well. Set up a virtual firewall between work and personal on your smartphone and disable work entirely when it’s time to pay attention to your life.
Tip #2: Create Routine
Routines are really useful tools—they lower the burden for memory, planning, and decision-making on the tasks you have to do regularly. And that frees up your mind for other things.
Certain parts of your job are unpredictable because they’re based on everyone’s schedule but your own. Even so, there are plenty of “office” tasks you have to do on a recurring basis, and you’ll feel less stressed if you create routines for those.
Take a close look at the maintenance that support your success, like marketing, lead generation, and lead nurturing. Assess how often those tasks need to get done and how much time you need to devote, then schedule blocks of time for that work…preferably, when you’re less likely to be interrupted. Practice knocking them out in the same time and place in the same way for several weeks and soon they’ll become automatic.
You can also lighten your mental burden by creating a routine around self-care. Make breakfast, lunch and dinner more predictable, as well as exercise and time outdoors, when the weather allows. Make a habit of doing something enjoyable during a work break, whether it’s a brief call with a loved one or working through a good book.
Tip #3: Make Learning Mobile
Speaking of recurring tasks, license renewal requirements introduce an extra complication in your life from time to time: continuing education hours. Spending precious time trekking to a physical classroom for CE can be frustrating since it takes time away from work and personal.
Online real estate CE allows you to complete required coursework at your own pace, where and when it’s convenient for you. 360training.com has state-specific coursework covering all the topics you need for renewal.
Moving your CE online also means there’s no reason to scramble for hours at the last minute. Build CE into your routine well ahead of your renewal deadline and chip away at them a little at a time.
Tip #4: Check Your Expectations
Sometimes new agents expect to make a generous living on a very breezy schedule, and that’s just not reality. That can lead to some bitter feelings about how much time you spend at work. The fact is, it’s a 40 hour a week job like any other. If you find yourself resenting that, you need to adjust the way you think about your job.
At the opposite end of the scale, research shows that people become less productive after 50 hours a week or if they don’t take at least one full day off. If you live by the workaholic mantra and expect it to work wonders, you may be surprised to find you’re better off, personally and professionally, after cutting your hours.
Keep in mind that your personal relationships require planning, too. If you expect your relationships to remain strong with zero effort, you’ll experience a rude awakening. Build things into your routine that show your loved ones you think about them and prioritize their happiness, whether it’s a weekend away or text messages during a busy day.
Tip #5: Don’t Do It All
Get help where you can—for the personal and the professional. Especially target tasks that drain your energy and feel like a chore.
On the personal side, make sure life-maintenance chores and childcare are split fairly with your significant other. Look into convenience services like grocery delivery that can lighten the load for everyone. Hate cleaning? Look into monthly or bi-weekly housekeeping service.
Professionally, leverage your CRM to its fullest ability, especially for automation. Consider getting a virtual PA to cover communications during your personal time or handle tasks that don’t require your personal touch. Look into chatbot tools. If you’re on a team, make sure you’re all getting the most of individuals’ strengths and weaknesses—are their labor trades you could make that would benefit everyone?
Tip #6: Think Big Picture
Balance doesn’t look the same every week.
Sometimes leads are hot and your hours might be longer. Other times, work is slow, and you have time to focus on other parts of your life. It’s important not to feel guilty or off-track because you perceive an imbalance on any particular week—look at the big picture and consider longer-term trends.
But that cuts both ways. If you discover that your “busy week” at work has turned into a busy quarter, maybe it’s time to consciously scale back. If your leads drop off for too long, make a point to dedicate extra time to lead generation and nurturing.
The bottom line is, you should feel good about your life overall. If you put a little forethought into how you juggle the pieces, you CAN be both productive and happy.