Walking the Work/Life Tightrope in Real Estate

Having a flexible schedule is one of the great things about having a career in real estate – but it can also be one of its biggest pitfalls. Because your schedule is flexible, people – clients or other agents – often assume that you’re available to work at any time day or night. And because of that flexibility, newer agents especially tend to work all hours. After all, if you’re not closing, you’re not earning a living. At times, it can feel like you’re the ringmaster of your own three ring circus.

It’s important not to burn out from overwork. You’ve put a lot of effort to establish your real estate career and working yourself to death isn’t in the best interest of you or your clients in the long run. It’s also not great for your relationships with your family and friends.

So let’s all start the new year out right be resolving to have fewer acts in the circus; let’s have less juggling and more balancing acts. Here are some a few tips to get you pointed in the right direction.

First off, recognize the role of work. Your career pays the bills, lets you plan for the future and helps you achieve your personal goals – like travel, spending vacations with family, or achieving bucket list goals. It’s not who you are. It helps you get where you want to go, and if you’re really lucky, it helps others get where they’re going, too. Keep that in perspective and prioritize work that way. If work is getting in the way of achieving your goals because you’re too busy, then it’s time to step back and reorganize so that your career is filling its proper place and nothing more. You should enjoy your successes, not dread the day to day grind.

Time blocking is one of the best – and most challenging ways – to achieve this goal. You’ve probably heard of this strategy before. You set out your calendar for the week or month and block out time in each day for tasks. Thirty minutes for writing personal notes on Tuesdays. Three hours for showing buyers around in the afternoons – that sort of thing. The toughest part is sticking to the time block. Be strict with it for a month. If someone has to book an appointment with you and you have that time slotted for another activity, try to reschedule the appointment to your allotted appointment time. It’s hard to say no sometimes. And it won’t always work. But the better you are at sticking to the time block, the better people will understand your schedule and respecting it. The key is very open communication. If you say on your voicemail that you return calls daily at one o’clock and then again at four o’clock, then be certain that you do so. In time, you will find that your days become much more efficient and predictable and your team members, clients and family will all appreciate it.

And speaking of communication, make effective communication a top priority. Be honest when you’ve got a conflict and suggest resolutions. Schedule regular updates on progress to your active pipeline and, if they are under contract, with the agents, title companies, and lenders on all sides of the transaction. Keep everyone informed of where your side is in the transaction, where you believe they are (and ask for verification) and what the next steps will be. If you’re waiting for someone, remind them. Make this routine and you will have far fewer surprises at the closing table and will spend a lot less time trying to fix problems. Great communication will increase your efficiency and help you stick to that time blocking, without question.

Throughout the spring, we’ll be sharing articles that offer great tips for maintaining a healthy work/life balance. Watch for them. And take good care of yourself! We want you happy, healthy, and around for a long time.