Have you heard the news about burnout?
Everyone knows about burnout in the workplace. Millions of adults have experienced it. Until now, though, there's been no medical definition of what burnout means in the U.S.
The World Health Organization's decision to define burnout in mid-2019 changed how doctors think about it. Burnout isn't just another word for stress, but a specific set of symptoms caused by "chronic workplace stress."
The WHO definition includes things like feelings of exhaustion, negative emotions related to one's job, and reduced productivity. These can last months or years.
What does it all have to do with being a real estate sales associate?
Once burnout takes root, it's notoriously hard to shake off. By taking the right steps now, you can build resilience and protect yourself.
The key is finding a healthy work-life balance.
By "work-life balance," we mean an equilibrium where you have the time, energy, and focus to strive for fulfillment in all the major areas of your life.
Time Management is Only Half the Work-Life Equation
Many high-performing sales associates take this approach to job stress:
"Most stress is caused by things that don't get done. If I work faster and smarter, I'll curb stress."
This seems to make sense ... but it's only half the story. Raising the number of things you do in a day can make you more productive, but there'll always be more things you need to do.
Focusing exclusively on managing your time won't solve the equation of work-life balance. In fact, it can be a ticket to burnout as you get overwhelmed by the sheer size of your to-do list.
Instead, sales associates need to look for ways to reclaim time:
If you're in a position to do it, delegating can change your life. Delegation starts in the office, but it doesn't end there. For example, getting groceries delivered instead of visiting a store can save two hours, but may cost a few dollars in fees. Always ask yourself: Is the time you'll save more valuable than the cost of convenience? The answer is often yes.
Automation is the most powerful way to simplify your workflow. It lets you identify the most important tasks and get them done with less effort. An all-in-one automated Customer Relationship Management suite is the best way to do this. It gives complete visibility into what your leads and clients are doing so you always know when to follow up.
Much of the time you'll spend as a sales associate involves coming up with solutions to problems. Without a network, you might waste hours reinventing the wheel. Even if you work alone, connecting with others is crucial. Having a small group of trusted colleagues and at least one mentor helps you zoom in on solutions faster.
Psst! Don't Forget The Life Part of Work-Life Balance
No matter how much you love the challenge and reward of real estate, the fact remains: Most of us don't feel total fulfillment from work alone.
That's where the "life" in work-life balance comes in.
The library is full of books about how to better your life, but it's still easy to lose sight of the basics. From what countless successful sales associates have told us, that means these:
- GIVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TIME TO REST
There's an old saying: "If you don't choose a day to rest, your body will choose for you." In a culture that glorifies working around the clock, it's vital to make time to relax and (especially) sleep. Remember, studies show that work productivity drops sharply above 40 hours a week – and for some people, six hours of focused work is more effective than eight.
- HAVE INTERESTS OUTSIDE OF WORK
Even if you love 95% of real estate, there'll always be days when that last 5% hits you like a ton of bricks. When you're facing setbacks or "just not into it," having something to look forward to after work can power you up with a much-needed inspiration burst. Don't let all your hobbies and interests fall by the wayside: They keep you grounded.
- SPEND TIME WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Humans are social creatures. Even though you spend plenty of time with colleagues and clients, you need people who understand you on a deeper level. Expanding your friend group can be tough as a working adult, so if you want to see some new faces, consider finding ways to practice your hobbies with others. Take a painting class or join a weekend hiking group.
So, what's the secret to work-life balance? It's different for everyone. Be mindful not only of how you spend your time, but where you focus your attention and energy. When you do, it'll be easier to see how to build a business that gives you the balance you want.