For too many real estate agents and teams, the boundary between work and home is almost non-existent. We all know that life in this industry is different from your typical nine-to-five, that sometimes the hours will be long or late. But that doesn’t—and shouldn’t—mean that work is all you do.
Establishing and maintaining a satisfying work-life balance for yourself and your team members creates serious benefits. Limiting daily and weekly work hours and having regular, predictable time off (also known as weekends!) has been shown to boost productivity while reducing the frequency of major mistakes. Balanced workers cumulatively take fewer sick days and are less likely to quit.
Despite the widely-known benefits, far too few of us are able to achieve any kind of meaningful balance. The OECD ranks the US 29th out of 40 member nations on its work-life balance index, and three-quarters of American workers say that work stress impacts their relationships.
Most of the time, if a real estate agent’s work-life balance is out of whack, it’s because they feel like they are not able to spend the kind of time they want with family because they have no control over their schedules. Somehow even the best of intentions to attend a child’s basketball game or go to a holiday party get sabotaged by work. An urgent call comes through, a last-minute showing pops up or paperwork needs to get done.
If this feels like you or a team member, what should you do? How can you more consistently leave work at work and more fully engage with other areas of your life—without sacrificing income?
My suggestion is make a priority of developing and sticking to a consistent daily plan.
Perhaps you don’t think that is very feasible. After all, every day is so different from the others that trying to plan anything consistently is futile. To this, I would respond that the reason consistency feels impossible is because there is no plan.
To start creating a plan, the first thing you should do is take stock of everything you do over the course of a week: when you eat, make calls, meet with clients, play games on your phone—everything. Even just taking this simple step should reveal areas where your time is poorly managed or unproductive. In real estate, the easiest thing in the world is to feel busy without actually doing anything that is bringing in income.
Once you’ve completed this inventory, take a pink highlighter and mark every item that directly contributes to making money: generating and following up with leads, showing properties, closings, etc. Use a yellow highlighter to mark important family time: shared meals, activities and events. With a blue highlighter, mark work activities that, while important, don’t directly contribute to generating income: administrative tasks, marketing endeavors, etc. Finally, use a green highlighter to mark personal tasks: lunch, exercise, doctor’s appointments, etc.
Now you can step back and easily see where you are spending your time. Does the amount of pink reflect the type of business you want to be doing? Where would you like to see more yellow and green? Is there a lot of blue? Honestly, any amount of blue for a team lead is too much and shows that you need to invest in support staff or expand the staff you have. Freeing up this time alone should drastically improve your balance.
This exercise should show you where you’re focusing your time day to day. Now you can begin to develop a consistent daily schedule that reflects the balance you want in your life. Yes, each day will look a little different. But by focusing your work time on money making activities while also making personal and family time a priority, you’ll be able to enter a rhythm that encourages both profitability and balance.
How do I know this? Because I’ve seen it work for thousands of agents across the country. You don’t have to choose between work-life balance and making a good living in real estate. By leveraging the right tools and processes, you can have a profitable business and a full life.
Verl Workman is the founder and CEO of Workman Success Systems, a real estate consulting company that specializes in private coaching and building highly effective teams. Contact email@example.com for more information and free downloadable resources.