The research is clear—losing daylight is the same as losing productivity. A steady march into winter means less sunshine every day, and for everyone except those living in Hawaii and Arizona, last week saw a shift to earlier sunsets and sunrises. As real estate enters its slowest season, how do you defy, or shrug off these winter doldrums? And what can you do to adjust to the end of Daylight Savings?
Here are six ways to make sure the waning sunlight doesn’t depress your productivity:
Avoid screens at night
Although this might be impossible for many, when you can, try to do all the tasks that require sitting in front of a screen earlier. Phones, computer monitors and televisions can all further mess up your sleep patterns and keep your brain awake if used in the dark, so scheduling less screen-intensive tasks for the afternoon and evening can help you better transition into the restfulness of a longer night.
Buy a “Light Therapy” box
These special lamps mimic daylight, and they can indicate to your body that it is time to wake up and be productive! While many people use them to fight seasonal affective disorder, you can also switch yours on in the morning if you don’t have access to a lot of natural light in your workspace, and let the stimulating rays realign your body’s clock for an earlier start.
Less daylight isn’t bad for everyone—some people thrive in the evening, at least for some tasks. If you’ve never tracked your focus time and productivity, now is the perfect time to do so, and find out what parts of a day you are able to do the most. You can then adjust your schedule accordingly, accounting for the shorter days.
Know your clients
Although real estate professionals are notoriously early risers, the same doesn’t hold true for the broader population. Before you pick up the phone, schedule an event or start knocking on doors, think of who you are dealing with. Younger folks are less likely to identify as “morning people” and often prefer evening hours for activities, while older folks are more agreeable in the morning. All of this is amplified by the shrinking daylight, so don’t forget to take other people’s preferences into account this winter.
Rethink your locations
With less daylight, your 4:00 pm kitchen table listing presentation might end up being less energetic, or even gloomy as the sun vanishes. Consider where and when you meet clients, and find settings that are more appropriate for time of day and year.
Don’t forget safety
Car accidents and crime both happen more often in the dark. Since you will almost certainly still be driving, showing houses and meeting potential clients in the evening hours, make sure you are prepared. Have tools like road reflectors for when you need to park in unconventional places or if you break down, and have a plan for safety if you hold an afternoon/evening open house.
It might seem like a relatively minor thing, but if you ignore the effect of a shorter day, you could find yourself falling behind in an already competitive real estate market. Finding ways to focus, schedule and prepare for the dark days ahead can give you an edge, and ensure that you spend the winter healthy and productive rather than in hibernation.