Many real estate professionals join the industry on the promise that their time will be their own. The idea is that if you put in enough effort, you can reap higher rewards than the average corporate salary. However, it is all too easy to end up working longer hours than ever before.
With the summer break upon us, it’s challenging to pin down clients while juggling parental responsibilities. This holiday period, hit the reset button and put some of the following work-life balance strategies into action:
Mind your mindset
The real estate industry has a natural ebb and flow, with busy times and quiet periods throughout the year and even the week. It is important to embrace the peaks and troughs without fighting them or panicking.
How do some agents achieve work-life balance, while others find themselves feeling exhausted and overwhelmed?
During the quiet periods, take some time off to relax and unwind. If you can’t help it and have to work, use these moments to prepare for things to pick up. Look to create templates and procedures which make it easier to stay in control once the floodgates open.
It can be tempting when it is quiet to rush around trying to secure new clients. Be aware of taking on sellers who have unrealistic expectations and will add to your workload. It could be smarter to rest and rejuvenate – focus instead on checking in with your existing clients.
Something else to accept is that as a real estate business owner you will never have everything completely ‘done’. There needs to be periods of time where you ‘down-tools’ and take a break so you can have time for yourself each week.
Control your calendar
Generally, you are at your busiest on Mondays, following up from open homes and on Thursday and Friday when you are helping clients prepare to show or auction their property. Stay on top of your calendar by limiting appointments when you know your clients will need greater access to you.
During the day, achieve work-life balance by setting aside time to catch up with a friend or get your shopping done. It may sound like overkill but scheduling these into your diary will ensure you don’t finish the week flustered and with a mounting personal to-do list.
You may also find it helpful to set up a home office. Put aside time when the children are in bed to catch up on emails and admin tasks without distractions. This way, you can start each day feeling better prepared.
Many real estate agents, even when they have a team behind them, can be tempted to do everything themselves. They get stuck with the thought that “nobody can do things as well as I can”. So, delegate out as much as possible.
You may be determined to be the sole point of contact for your clients and this doesn’t have to change. However, outsourcing areas like admin, marketing and even diary management to your team can make a huge difference to your work-life balance. Train your team and they could become better at the task than you! Don’t train your team and everything not delegated falls back on you.
In these digitally connected times, the gig economy means you don’t have to hire someone full-time, you can often arrange help on a casual basis. Reach out to freelancers and virtual assistants to ease the pressure on you and your employees.
Even the busiest real estate agents should schedule time to work out. Exercise will increase your energy and sharpen your mind.
The bonus of a real estate career is you can generally find time to go to the gym or take a walk in the middle of the day when your clients are at work. Some gyms even offer discount membership for those who drop by between 10 am and 4 pm. Making time for your fitness during the day frees up other times of the day, i.e. those early morning and evening appointments with clients.
Hooray for holidays
Your real estate business is a passion and helping people is something you were born to do. Even so, this doesn’t mean you don’t need a regular break. Looking after yourself is essential too. On an aeroplane, if oxygen is required, you’re asked to fit your mask before a child, for this very reason. This may feel selfish at first but by looking after your own wellbeing ensures you can successfully help others.
Dreaming about taking leave? Pull out your calendar, chose a date and book it in. One idea for is to take advantage of the Easter break and school holidays when there’s a natural slow down as many people are away. Lock it in now, so that there’s no backing out later on!
When you’re on holiday, it can be a struggle to switch off completely. Being a business owner does come with added responsibility so you shouldn’t feel guilty for checking emails. However, limit yourself to an hour a day and only answer the most urgent queries. Everything else can wait till you get back.
Factor in family time
Working in the real estate industry means you’re needed on weekends. Unfortunately, you will find yourself missing out on soccer practice, dance lessons and other Saturday activities with your kids.
On the flip side, real estate agents who have a flexible schedule can make it to week time activities such as sports carnivals, school concerts, assemblies and reading groups. Prioritise some of these to balance out the weekend absenteeism.
Finally, to achieve a better work-life balance, block out a couple of nights a week to be home and fully present for dinner. Turn off your phone and focus on the people who are most important. You deserve to enjoy time with your family in return for all the hard work of supporting your clients through their major life transitions.