By Stephen Ferguson
STOP! PUT DOWN YOUR MOBILE DEVICE AND LISTEN UP!
Have you been up until midnight writing an offer? Skipped an event or child’s baseball game for a client or a deal? Went on a “vacation” and spent the entire time glued to your phone or tablet? Worked your way through a “day off,” texted clients all through a family dinner?
If you’re a hard-working real estate professional, the answer to one (or most) of these questions is probably yes.
Trust me, I’m not picking on you. I’ve been there. We all have. But I’ll also be the first to tell you it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s a long-standing myth that for real estate professionals, we must be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and must answer every single call, text or email with lightning-fast immediacy.
Here’s a secret: We don’t. And I’m living proof.
I’ve been in real estate more than 15 years and at the start of 2016 made a vow to take my life back and start enjoying the benefits of the solid business I’ve built. How? Here are eight simple ways:
- Put yourself first. Remember, you and your well-being should always be your first priorities!
- Schedule one hour every day to do something for you. Whether it’s a cycle class, practicing the violin, reading a book, catching up on your favorite show … schedule “me” time in your calendar just like you would schedule a property tour or meeting with a prospective client.
- Decide on the hours of your business. My hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. I set an auto responder that goes on at 8 p.m. to inform anyone who contacts me that they have missed me but I look forward to talking to them in the morning when “I am bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!”
- Set expectations with your clients. Before you even begin doing business with them, let all your clients know that you will not answer texts, emails or calls after your scheduled end of business. Of course there are special exceptions that can be accommodated, if needed. But let them know that the majority of the time, once you’re done for the day, you’re done.
- Pick one day a week and take time OFF! No excuses. You can take a day off. In fact, you need one to stay sane.
- Go on VACATION! The rule on my team is that every member must take a long weekend at least once every five weeks. Again, it is necessary for you and your client’s sake. You will better serve your clients when you have some down time to relax and recharge.
- Don’t be afraid say no! Here, let’s practice right now. Ready? Say it with me: “NO!” Always remember that you can say no … whenever you want. You can say no to an appointment time; you can say no to a listing; you can say no to an unrealistic buyer. You are the boss, which is one of the great benefits of running your own business, remember?
- Find a reliable REALTOR® (or an agent on your team) to cover you while you’re away. Let the agent know that there are no referrals necessary but just want the peace of mind that you have back up should you take time off or go on vacation. Also, remind your “back up agent” that you’ll be able to afford him or her that same level of support should he or she need a break.
Let’s face it: Life has become 24/7. We’re always “online,” always connected, always in contact with our network of followers, friends and clients. But even if technology never sleeps (unless, of course, our cell battery dies) that doesn’t mean we should never sleep, too.
So go ahead and take an hour off or take a day. Hey! Take a whole month! I dare you! Because no matter how hard you work, you always need to remember that the best way to enjoy your life is to live it.