Did you know that your productivity dips if you work more than 50 hours a week? Here are some of the benefits of stepping away from the laptop, shutting down the cell phone for a few hours — or better yet days — and taking some time to practice self-care.

Troy Palmquist is an indie broker in California with more than a decade of experience. His regular column, which covers a range of helpful tips for agents and op-eds on industry happenings, publishes Thursdays on Inman.

Small business owners, especially independent real estate contractors, are always under pressure. And not just a tiny bit of pressure, but immense, everything is on your shoulders, you are the only one who does it all pressure. Which is precisely why it’s more important now than ever to protect yourself from burnout. 

Less than half of small business owners take personal vacations, according to Small Business Trends. Less than half. Let that sink in.

And let’s not forget about the mounds of research showing that productivity dips after clocking in 50 plus hours of work into a single week. Yes, I know taking a break sounds impractical to those of us who are trying to level up. But guess what? The work will be there when you return.

Here are some of the benefits of stepping away from the laptop, shutting down the cell phone for a few hours — or better yet days — and taking some time to practice self-care. Because let’s face it, nobody likes a tired cranky real estate agent. Taking time away from work helps you:

1. Store up energy

Everyone admires an overachiever but the secret to some of the wealthiest most successful entrepreneurs and great leaders of our time is their ability to check in with themselves and take time off when they need it.

Richard Branson, British founder of Virgin Group, famously has a low opinion of American vacation practices. Just this past March the enigmatic business icon told an audience at the Qualtrics X4 Experience Management Summit in Salt Lake City, “I mean … the amount of holiday that people get when they work for American companies, I think, is something of a disgrace. How are you going to find any real time with your children or your partner, real quality time, if you have, really, no holiday time?”

As an independent contractor have a leg up on the matter. You don’t have to ask anyone for time off but yourself. And by doing so, studies show you’ll come back healthier, happier and less stressed.

2. Allows great ideas to take shape

Are you like me and get your best ideas while driving along the highway, first thing in the morning before anyone is up, at night when everyone else is asleep or in the shower before you start your day? That’s because your brain has less distractions, less clutter, and is freed up to really come up with bold and creative ideas.

If you’re a passionate real estate agent, you are always trying to drum up new ways to draw attention, make a listing stand out or get your name out there at big networking events. A vacation allows great ideas to take shape because you are able to step away from the day-to-day grind and really let your best ideas come to life.

3. Empowers co-workers and enhances your delegation skills

If you are lucky enough to have an assistant or co-workers on your team then a vacation is the perfect opportunity to let them shine. Plus, it forces you to delegate. You know, the thing you do when you pass a task off to another human who is fully capable. Do it!

Not only will it give you a much needed break, but it will break your constant rut of doing everything yourself. Yes, most real estate agents are control freaks, but eventually in time, you realize you’ll become much more successful when you delegate things to other professionals you trust. Don’t have someone like that in your back pocket? Find one! 

4. Provides greater insights into your personal staff

Speaking of staff, leaving for vacation helps you appreciate the people you’ve hired to help get the job done while you’re away. It also weeds out those who are less skillful at handling the tasks at hand. Either way, you’ll walk away with greater insights into how your staff performs.

Find out who your go-to guy or gal is and who needs a little more training with a simple weekend getaway. 

5. Transforms you into a master traveler  

Last but not least, the more you travel, the more savvy you become. It can be eye-opening and uplifting to know you are able to survive the 11 hour flight to London or the occasional car ride up the coast to that perfect ocean-side villa you’ve dreamed of staying in. More travel experiences eases those last-minute business trips or vacations with your entire family. And if you’re like me and obsessed with property, you might just take the opportunity to tour a few homes in a new area, just for fun. Hey, I didn’t say it has to be all down time and umbrella drinks!

Bottom line? If you’re an agent who is simply going through the motions, a vacation is your answer. Trust me. I’ve been at this game for a long time and I never lost a client or a deal over a few days at the beach. Fresh, energetic, eager partners who are ready to buy and sell with expertise is what clients want. It’s what you want. It’s what your brokerage wants. Do yourself a favor and take some time to unwind. Then come back, swinging!

Troy Palmquist is the founder and broker of The Address in Southern California. Follow him on Facebook, or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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