Q4 has arrived. You’ve made it! The year’s end is in sight, including holiday parties, family time and maybe even a vacation!?
One question though.
How are you feeling? How are you really feeling?
Exhausted? Unmotivated? Disinterested?
If so, you might be experiencing realtor burnout.
It can strike anytime but it’s all too common during Q4, with its end-of-year financial pressures and a holiday season packed with both work and personal events.
And the effects of burnout are real.
Beyond making you feel tired, burnout can wipe out your drive to maintain and grow your business. For your physical, mental, emotional and business health, it’s a hazard you want to avoid.
Avoiding realtor burnout means combating it before it hits. Here’s how to do it.
Know the signs of burnout
Burnout is a specific kind of stress caused by a job or responsibility. It can take an emotional, mental and physical toll.
In addition to excessive stress and exhaustion, the Mayo Clinic says that burnout that goes unaddressed can have the following consequences:
- A negative spillover into personal relationships or home life
- Alcohol or substance abuse
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Type 2 diabetes, especially in women
- Vulnerability to illnesses
If you’re not sure whether you’re suffering from burnout or a normal level of work-related stress, the Mayo Clinic has a list of questions you can ask yourself:
- Have you become cynical or critical at work?
- Do you drag yourself to your desk, and have trouble getting started once you arrive?
- Have you become irritable or impatient with team members or clients?
- Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
- Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
- Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
- Are you using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel?
- Have your sleep habits or appetite changed?
- Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, backaches or other physical complaints?
Knowing what burnout looks like is key to helping beat it when it comes knocking.
Schedule time for yourself
Realtor burnout can strike when the line between your work life and your personal life becomes a little too blurry.
Answering emails at all hours, jamming your calendar with back-to-back-to-back meetings and events, and repeatedly turning down personal invites from friends and family may seem like what’s needed to grow your biz, but they’re actually burnout triggers.
To arm yourself against burnout, clarify that line between work time and personal time. Create hard limits for yourself, such as not checking emails after 8pm, no work on Mondays, and no evening work engagements on more than two nights per week.
In addition to imposing limits, try scheduling time for yourself like you would any business meeting. Block times in your calendar for a 15-minute walk in the neighbourhood, a massage, a lunch date with a friend, or a gym visit. If it’s in your calendar, you’re more likely to make it happen.
If necessary, you may also want to consider delegating some of your daily tasks to an assistant so you can make time for yourself.
Let clients know your schedule
You can’t fault clients for emailing or calling after dinner, especially if you’ve previously contacted or replied to them after-hours. It’s up to you to let clients know when you’ll be available and when you won’t be.
The trick is to do this early in your working relationship — like, almost immediately after you’ve won their business. This is because you need to set expectations, both for them and for yourself, about what your process is going to look like.
Some real estate agents worry about being perceived as rude or lazy if they do this. Believe us, you’ll only seem rude if you tell your clients not to expect late-night replies after they’ve already been emailing you at 11pm and getting a reply back.
Letting your clients know in the very beginning about where, when and how you can be reached helps them just as much as it helps you. Everyone likes to know what to expect.
Reconnect with real estate
When you feel burnout, it’s hard to imagine truly liking your job ever again. That can be difficult to come back from.
The trick is to maintain your connection with your chosen profession, and remember the elements of the industry and of your job that you enjoy.
This is an ongoing process; if you actively find reasons to like your job, you’ve got a good defense against the perils of burnout.
When you need to remember why it’s good to be a real estate agent, try the following:
- Dig up thank-you letters and testimonials from past clients
- Upgrade certain skills with a course or workshop
- Give back to your community by volunteering, hosting an event, or giving away free services
- Take on a creative work project, like redesigning your website, redecorating your office, or throwing a party for clients and colleagues
- Make a new business plan, with a revised direction or strategy that reflects your current stage of life, goals, and interests
Have you felt burnout by real estate before? How did you defeat it?