3 tips for dealing with burnout

By Ashley Harwood

It’s only February, yet many agents are already struggling with burnout. Without consistent rest and recovery time, of course these agents are exhausted. Who wouldn’t be? We’re humans, not real estate-selling robots. So, why is there so much guilt around taking a day off? As small-business owners, we experience a very common “hustle and grind” mentality in this industry. “Work hard, and you’ll be successful.” “If you’re not meeting your goals, put in more hours.”

Yes, hard work is important, but what’s even more important is strategically doing the right activities (lead gen) and balancing those activities with plenty of rest. Now, rest doesn’t necessarily mean taking a nap, although it absolutely could mean that. The definition of rest is allowing your brain to unplug and your energy to recharge.

It will look different for each of us. It could be taking a walk, reading fiction, binging a Netflix show, going on a little road trip to explore a new area or having a long lunch with a close friend. You choose your own adventure. The point is to do whatever it takes to step away from the details and stress of real estate and allow the brain to focus on something else for a day.

Consistent rest has several benefits: It allows the brain to tap into creative problem-solving and better handle stressful situations in a rational manner, it helps us be more patient, it’s vital for our physical health and building a healthy immune system (yes, getting enough sleep at night is a big part of this, too), and it simply makes us nicer people and better agents. When we are well rested, we are able to keep our clients and co-broker agents calm.

Taking days off is easier said than done, yet it’s critically important to building a sustainable career and avoiding burnout. Extreme burnout can lead to getting physically sick, which will force you to take time off anyway, and you’ll lose valuable momentum. And wouldn’t it be more fun to take a planned day off than a sick day?

So, here are three tips for taking days off consistently:

1. Use the buddy system.

Taking days off is easier for agents on a team — there’s always someone to cover. For solo agents, it can be challenging, and for solo agents without the budget for an admin or a virtual assistant/transaction coordinator, it can be extra difficult. So, partner up. Find another agent in your office who’s in a similar situation and cover for each other. Make sure you include their contact info in your email auto-responder and change your voicemail message.

2. Pick a day of the week strategically, and plan it in advance.

For most agents, weekends are busier with showings and open houses than weekdays. Look back over the past few weeks and decide which day of the week is typically slower for you. That’s a good day to choose as your day off. Of course, the day can change, and it doesn’t have to be the same day every week. But choosing your day off in advance, getting it on the calendar and protecting that time is key.

3. Realize there are very few real estate emergencies.

Most things can wait a day. They really can. When you have a solid, trusting relationship with your clients, they won’t fire you because you didn’t answer them for 24 hours. For anything that really is time-sensitive (like an offer), well, your colleague in the office is covering for you. No problem. There’s no science behind this, but most agents find that whenever they go on vacation or step away from their business, that’s when referrals tend magically to pour in.

If you’re currently feeling exhausted or burned out, I’d highly recommend scheduling a few days off ASAP. Find someone to cover for you. Tell your clients you’ll be unavailable but that they’ll be in your colleague’s extremely capable hands. Then, when you come back to work, you’ll have fresh eyes and a renewed spirit, and your productivity will skyrocket. Try it and let me know how it works for you.

Ashley Harwood is the founder & CEO of Move Over Extroverts, a coaching/training company for introverted agents. You can reach her at Ashley@MoveOverExtroverts.com and check out her website at www.moveoverextroverts.com.