Avoiding Burnout

As the old adage goes, ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.’ It can also make Jack (and Jill) a burned-out boy.

Burnout is defined as ‘physical or mental collapse caused by overwork or stress.’ Many successful real estate agents put in long hours – if you want to succeed, it comes with the territory – but don’t necessarily suffer burnout. Rather, burnout is characterized by cynicism, a dread of going to work and exhaustion at the end of the day. It can result from not having enough support in your business or your personal life or losing track of the goals that inspired you to enter the real estate industry.

Burnout isn’t something to be brushed off: it’s a very real impediment to your success and not an issue improved by trying to grind through it. Take steps to analyze the causes and treat it as you would a medical condition.

  • Set boundaries. There’s a time to answer calls and a time to put your phone on ‘do not disturb.’ Let your clients know your parameters whether you don’t answer calls after 9 p.m. or Sunday dinner time with family is sacrosanct. Real estate is one of those careers that could keep you busy literally almost 24-7, so It’s important you set your own business hours and stick to them.
  • Surround yourself with positive people. Lifeguards are taught not to get pulled down by a drowning swimmer. Similarly, being around people with a negative outlook on work and life can have the effect of making us feel worse about our own situations. There are times we all need to vent, but don’t fall into a pattern of constant complaint: it will only serve to make you feel worse.
  • Review why you chose your career. Did you enter real estate, so you could make your own hours and spend time with family? To help others? When the going gets tough, focus on what you love about your business and lean into it until you get your mojo back.
  • Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to tap into resources. If you feel like you are working at maximum efficiency but are still overworked and exhausted, it might be time to add more staff. On the other hand, if you feel like you are working hard but spinning your wheels, consider consulting a professional coach or getting an accountability partner to help you track your efforts.
  • Take time off. Sounds easy, but especially for those of who feel like they need to be ‘on’ all the time, it’s hard to flip the ‘off’ switch – but necessary to avoid burnout. Schedule a day during the week to not work and to recharge. Take a vacation during the year. It’s critical: without downtime, burnout is inevitable.

Finally, remember overwork doesn’t necessarily produce good results. Studies, in fact, show the opposite. When you notice the first signs of burnout, be kind to yourself and take steps to prevent it from worsening.