If real estate agents’ Facebook or Instagram pages are anything to go by, agents lead blessed lives earning hefty commissions from multi-million dollar listings, eating meals in hatted restaurants, and taking holidays by the aqua waters in the Caribbean or some other to-die-for location. From the outside, it all looks very glamorous and definitely a sought-after lifestyle.
However, for those of us in the know, nothing could be further from the truth. The very nature of the business means that agents start off with a distinct disadvantage to achieving work-life balance and many, are actually on the point of severe burnout. On call 24/7, hosting open houses after hours during the week, on Saturdays and now, even on Sundays as well, plus holding listing presentation meetings and other client meetings at any time to fit in with clients’ busy schedules! Finding work-life balance is a feat not for the faint hearted.
In real estate, striving to get that next listing and income takes concerted effort, which nowadays means not just letterbox dropping and having some ads in the local paper, but having expertise in various platforms of social media, video marketing, email marketing and search engine optimisation. A day off is usually during the week when everyone else is at work and the kids are at school, and some agents may take a day or a part day on the weekend. It doesn’t leave a lot of time for socialising or me-time. Tim Ferriss your 4-Hour Work Week has to be a beautiful fantasy!
So can agents to achieve work-life balance? That will depend on the individual and their priorities, but here are 5 great tips you can factor in so that you are on your way to achieving this:
- Stay fit and healthy
If you’re in real estate for the long haul, then to operate at your peak, you need to be fit and healthy. Eating healthily and keeping fit reduces stress and anxiety, gives you more energy and confidence and keeps you looking good. You have to factor in regular exercise and that could be a brisk walk, a grueling gym session, or anything else in between, and it will make a huge difference to how your day runs. Just make sure it’s something you enjoy and look forward to so that you keep it up. Read our blog 5 Reasons for Real Estate Agents to Stay Fit & Healthy.
- Time management
You need to be organised. Make sure you use some kind of diary or to-do list. Keep your database up to date with notes so there is no need for back tracking. Apps like Open House ID make this easy and all achievable from your phone as it has a Mobile CRM. Because most agents are working round the clock, factor in time out if you need it – hairdresser, school concert, etc. Obviously, there will be some days that this just doesn’t work but if you can, grab that time out when you can as it will make the long hours and unsociable days off all worthwhile. Part of good time management is having a structure. If making your call-backs work better first up in the morning, don’t book meetings at this time. Organise your day so that it suits what works best for you and your results.
- Turn off your devices
I know it’s not easy. We are all addicted to our phones let’s face it. Checking messages, checking emails, checking social media, looking something up on the web. Once you are home in the evening, try to leave emails etc until the next day. No one expects you to be available 24/7. If you’re with clients, it’s rude to respond to text messages unless a total emergency has happened. It’s actually liberating not to be online occasionally. Try it.
- Book a break or holiday
If you do book a weekend away or a holiday, make sure you are 100% on your break, not 25%. This me-time is so important to revive and come back refreshed and full of vigour and new ideas. Head down, bum up all the time leads to burn out and doesn’t make you the best agent you can possibly be.
- Delegate or ask for help
If you manage a team of real estate agents or own an agency, demands for your time will be high. Not only will you have clients expecting great customer service, but your staff will also require your input and assistance. It’s even more important for you to manage your time and learn to hone your delegation skills. Equally, if you’re a rookie agent just starting out, make sure you find a mentor or someone to assist you so that you’re not spending double the time on tasks and wasting time.
So, can real estate agents achieve work-life balance? The answer is yes but only if you are committed and start implementing some of our points above. It’s ok to work hard and it’s ok to work hours outside 9 to 5 – many industries do.
For us at Open House ID, being in IT and online, not to mention different time zones, it means that we all work some very unfriendly hours. But once you have learnt to justify it in your head and realise that is ok, plus make sure you have some fun in between, it’s actually not that bad. Factoring in the exercise when you can fit it in really helps a lot to keep your head space sane.
Remember, you have to take some time to smell the roses, feel the grass or sand between your bare toes, and remember there’s a whole world out there to keep everything in perspective.
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