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This article was last updated June 30, 2022.
Being a real estate agent means your office is, well, everywhere you go. It can be difficult to separate work life from personal life when there’s an expectation to be responsive and on the clock constantly.
When your work is at your fingertips, whether it’s staying on top of your inbox, calling clients, tracking the real estate inventory, or responding to other agents, it’s difficult to let it go when it only takes minutes to respond.
Those few minutes here and there add up quickly, and suddenly your day off turns into a workday.
A 2014 Stanford research paper found that as the hours people overwork increases, their output of productivity negatively correlates.
It found that there’s a threshold of 48 hours weekly someone should work to have maximum efficiency in productivity. There is a linear relationship between the number of hours put into work and one’s productivity if it is below the threshold hours to work.
Once someone works more than the threshold hours, his or her productivity decreases, and it creates a nonlinear relationship.
Never taking a true day off will burn you out, so take that day off as a way to improve your quality of work and life. Here are some tips on how truly take a day off.
1. Schedule a day off
The first step to taking a day off is committing to not working on a given day. Choose which day it’s going to be and mark it in your calendar immediately.
Take your scheduled day off as seriously as a scheduled appointment, and don’t plan any work-related events for that day.
As a real estate agent, it’s difficult to ignore emails, text messages and calls when you know that a delayed response might be a lost opportunity. This can be avoided by preparing in advance.
Prior to your day off, notify your clients, office and anyone else who might need to contact you. Therefore, those who are inquiring to you will know that they must contact you beforehand or else they’ll have to wait until you are back to work.
If that doesn’t work for you, get someone to cover you, whether it be a virtual assistant, an actual assistant or a willing friendly agent.
3. Manage your time
In anticipation of your day off, make sure you have everything done in advance.
Be sure to finish all of your ongoing work so that you don’t feel the guilt of not attending to it when you are trying to relax. That little nagging feeling that something isn’t getting done won’t let you get true rest and relaxation. This is especially helpful in cases where other people are depending on you to finish a timely task.
4. Set automatic responses
Take advantage of technology, and set up automated responses using a customer relationship management platform (CRM).
You can set a CRM to respond to your leads and make it sound like a personally crafted message. Additionally, be sure to set up an out of office auto-reply for your email so that everyone is informed as to why you are not responding. Don’t leave anyone hanging.
5. Have backup
There’s always at least one person from your firm who you can depend on. Partner up with that person formally.
If there are any pressing inquiries that take place on your day off, ask that your partner to be the point person. Then, offer to do the same thing for him or her on his or her days off.
6. Make a plan
Make plans for your day off that are completely unrelated to work, and let yourself get excited about them.
Try that exercise class you’ve been meaning to, meet up with friends you don’t get to see often, or even plan a day trip. When the time comes, having plans set in stone will prevent you from choosing to stay home and do work instead.
7. Practice productive relaxation
If you’re reading this article, you’re likely a highly productive and motivated person. Staying home might be difficult for you, but also exactly what you need.
If you find you simply can’t relax without getting something done, intentionally save personal life responsibilities for your day off so that you’re still getting things done and feeling satisfied for contributing to your quality of life (but also taking a beat from actual work).
Typically, these tasks are more low-key than work responsibilities and have a high return rate.
Examples might include:
- Throwing your laundry in the wash and watching a movie while it’s running.
- Going grocery shopping and buying ingredients to try a new recipe.
- Reading an informative book or article.
- Finally building that piece of furniture that’s sitting in the corner of your room.
8. Leave the devices behind
A majority of your work is done from a phone, laptop or tablet, so to resist the temptation, do the unthinkable — and leave them behind.
The best solution is to physically separate yourself from the work notifications. If your personal cell phone is also your work phone, log out of your email the night before, and put work contacts on do not disturb. It’ll be OK, you’ll get back to everyone the next day.
You’ve heard that analogy about putting on your oxygen mask in the case of emergencies on a plane before helping others, right? Taking care of yourself first means that you’re better able to take care of your clients, your colleagues and your family. So make the most of your days off for everyone’s sake.
Kaitlin Tang is a licensed real estate salesperson with REAL New York. Connect with her on LinkedIn.