Are you a real estate agent experiencing burnout? Find out how to quickly and permanently minimize stress from overworking.
Burnout sneaks up on us when we least expect it. Little by little, extra task by extra task, our stress levels increase past the point of comfort. Before we know it, we’re in over our head and dreaming of a break.
For real estate professionals, it can feel impossible to escape overwhelm when commission is your bread and butter. On one hand, there’s no financial limit to how much you can earn. On the other hand, a steady income isn’t guaranteed unless you consistently close deals.
You may slump into the cycle of demotivated mornings followed by disappointing days. You could even be arguing, “I have no problem working 18 hours a day! This is how I am”. It’s common for workaholics to normalize unnatural work hours and the habit of slacking off in other areas of their lives. The good news is that it’s easy to avoid burnout and rebuild after a low period, as long as you have the right tips.
What is Burnout?
Signs of burnout can appear differently in everyone. However, the World Health Organization has noted some broad signs that signify someone is at risk of burnout:
- Exhaustion or energy depletion
Following the first signs of success, it’s tempting and even encouraged to bury your head in work and ‘strike while the iron is hot’. If you plan on having a long and successful career, striking while the iron is hot can be contradictory. As important as it is to build your network at the beginning, it’s equally important to introduce and maintain your work boundaries.
- Reduced efficacy and attention to detail
A change in quality of work is a typical sign of disengaging from one’s work, often a sign of realtor burnout. At this stage, you may start to lose the creative, problem solving spark that makes you an outstanding agent.
What Causes Real Estate Burnout?
There are a million and one things that can lead to burnout across every profession and the specific experience is different for everyone. In regards to real estate, it’s easy to overwork and stretch your work days. There are no strict working times and clients will try to contact you at any time of day if you don’t clearly lay out your limits.
Team work makes the dream work, but it also makes more work. As your brokerage grows, you may find yourself taking on a heavier workload. Juniors may provide more assistance than usual to senior agents and senior agents may struggle to stay in touch with active leads.
Then there’s the stressor everyone fears – not having a high-enough income to live comfortably. Generating and maintaining leads can require consistent effort without the right lead generation system in place.
When your work and home life are out of balance, everything is out of whack. There’s a high chance that you won’t excel in either area and stress will continue to pile up. Some can work 12 hours a day, while others max out at 8. Most people need a few weeks off during the year, few can work continuously without a substantial break.
Be honest with yourself about your limits. Sure, it can take extra time to get back into the work groove after a holiday or if you’re just starting out. But if you’ve been on the job for a while and feel your energy slumping, it may be time to consider a break.
Effects of Burnout
Imagine all of the things that would go wrong if you sleep walked through your day…that’s a taste of what it’s like when we try to push through burnout and complete our work.
You could end up missing contract details, double booking meetings, not following up with clients…Too many small mistakes back to back can impact your credibility and client trust.
Not to mention how burnout feels for you physically and emotionally. The slightest noise is beyond irritating and can spark a headache. You feel as if you are in an endless cycle of getting beat down and fighting your way back up. The days and weeks never seem to end; even during your downtime, you feel panicked about work.
How to Beat Burnout
To beat the risk of burnout, we have to understand the different types of required rest:
The first is physical rest. There are two types of physical rest: passive physical rest, which includes sleeping and napping, and active physical rest. This includes activities like yoga, pilates, massage therapy, stretching, or even leisurely walks. Active rest is meant to improve circulation and relieve tension.
The second type of rest is social rest. Any introvert knows social exhaustion much too well. Too much socialization can be as distressing as minimal interaction. It’s all about becoming more intentional about who you surround yourself with, when, and how much.
Last is spiritual rest. Spiritual restlessness stems from a lack of connectedness and fulfillment in our work. If you’ve lost focus on why you started in real estate or the power of your influence, it can feel like you’re simply running through the motions everyday – robot style. Self-care comes in many forms and lack of self-care in one are of our lives can unexpectedly affect others.
Here’s how to fill up on every type of necessary rest without losing business and before burnout hits:
It can be as simple as a few extra hands on deck. As your real estate business grows, your team size will have to follow in order to keep up with the momentum. You’ll have to learn how to divide up your work and lead a team without micromanaging, but the learning curve will pay off in the long run.
Time off is time-off. Working from a beach lounger is still work. Take your chill time as seriously and intensely as you would your work time. Your body needs true rest in order to perform its best at work. You’re not fooling your nervous system by bringing your laptop to the villa. You won’t reap the rewards of rest and will end up heading back to work already feeling wiped out.
Here’s some helpful advice: find someone who can give good advice. A great mentor can prepare you for the occasional low points of the job, including dealing with being overwhelmed.
If you’re feeling stressed, there’s a high chance you’re not the only one. Even if you’re not feeling the pressure, you never know how other team members are feeling. Weekly meetings are great opportunities to gather with your coworkers and discuss common struggles you are all dealing with and how you can help each other.
There’s more real estate technology on the market than ever before. From addons to CRMs, cloud-based AI, online planners, virtual staging and tours, there is a mountain of software developed to make real estate agents’ tasks faster and more manageable. Where possible, invest in tech that takes care of your most loathed, timely, or redundant tasks.
For example, when our AgentFire clients don’t have time to write their blog and build their newsletter, they sign up for our top integration, Blog Assist. Professional blogs are sent right to their dashboard to be quickly customized and automatically sent out by MailChimp.
“Enough” sleep looks different for everybody. The amount of sleep you need will depend on your age, the quality of the sleep itself, hormone levels, and how well you slept during the nights before. If you’re always tired, it may be time to change up your sleep hygiene. It’s a western myth that to be successful you have to hustle non-stop. In reality, the opposite may be true. Not taking enough time to recharge could lead to more prolonged periods of burnout.
Basic tips for having a good sleep are:
- Go to bed at the same time every night
- Avoid heavy meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bed
- Make sure your bedroom is cool, quiet, and dark
- Keep a notepad next to your bed. If you wake up with racing thoughts, jot down what’s on your mind to put yourself at ease.
7. Get a Workout In:
We know that exercise is essential to strengthening our muscles and cardiovascular health. But working out has loads of mental, problem-solving benefits that also make you sharper while at work. Physical activity will increase the production of your brain’s feel-good transmitters. When your body’s been active throughout the day, it’s easier to focus on a single task without getting jittery. High productivity leads to optimism and motivation for you.
Every activity requires different functions from your brain and body. Switching quickly from one task to the next doesn’t give your body the chance to adjust to a new state or task. Stopping and taking a breath before jumping into something new can drastically improve your stress level and concentration. Plus, you’ll clear any challenges from previous tasks and mentally start fresh.
Setting clear boundaries and expectations are crucial to managing your time with yourself and your clients. How much time will you dedicate to your me-time? What would you do? Are there specific activities or hobbies you’d like to start or prioritize more?
Having a “why” will motivate you throughout your real estate career. Losing sight of your “why” can easily steer you off the tracks. There’s a reason why you stuck to it and went through the process of getting your license, growing your network, and jumping into tons of new responsibilities. Being a real estate agent isn’t easy – in fact 80% of newly licensed agents don’t make it past the first year in business. You must have a strong and secure reason why you love real estate if you’re going to have a long and successful career in the field.
If your source of stress is mental exhaustion, you may be overthinking throughout the day. Low confidence in your real estate career abilities can make every task feel like a huge undertaking. Taking the time to build your self esteem and remember all of your accomplishments makes it easier to push through when things get tight. When you trust in yourself and your skills, you can look to the future with optimism.
Rest isn’t just about just stopping work or even going on a vacation. Daily rest, like taking the time to read a book or a nap, need to be of good quality in order to help you recharge. Minor stressors like your buzzing phone or ringing email alerts pull you out of a relaxed state and back into work mode.
As scary as it can feel, it’s safe to put your work devices aside for an hour or two. Alert clients and family that you’ll be unavailable for a chunk of time and that you’ll catch up to them when you’re back on, unless it’s an emergency. This way, you can be sure that no one will call you with questions or complaints.
Taking a moment to yourself is not just a nice suggestion – it’s crucial for long-term success. Even with a billion things on our to-do lists, we’re human and our bodies aren’t made to work at a machine’s pace for months or years at a time.
Burnout is not just about feeling tired or overthinking once in a while. It can seriously affect your work performance and the relationships you’ve taken the time to build.
The best cure for anything is always prevention. With these tips, you can get ahead of burnout before it gets ahead of you.
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