Realtors are you 24/7?

 

Realtors, I love you. You are some of the hardest-working, most professional, most-driven people I know.
However, recently I’ve been in more and more rooms with agents. Let’s say I’m in front of 5-10 realtors, right? I ask this simple question: “When do you work?” Almost guaranteed, 80 percent of the room — sometimes 100 percent — will say some variation of: “I work all the time. 24/7, etc”
I have a lot of hot takes on this, so let’s dive into it.
The reality: It’s not true.
It’s physically not possible. You do sleep some, you do eat at some point during the day, you do scroll on Facebook and, even occasionally, watch Netflix. You got a family? You probably spend some time with them as well. A beer once in a while isn’t so bad … oh, and how about the gym? Now, yes, while getting that beer or hitting that gym you might be networking and meeting people, and that’s kinda sorta work, but the reality is that you don’t actually work 24/7. No one really does, even those that claim it. (In fact, the people that claim they work 24/7 probably work less than average.) In reality, per science, the ceiling on human productivity is about 55 hours/week. If you’re locked in M-F, that’s still a series of 11-hour days. It’s a lot of work. But it’s not 24/7, no.
Isn’t real estate about freedom?
Think for a moment why you got into real estate. My guess was for FREEDOM. Financial freedom, time freedom, travel freedom. If you are “working” or tied to your phone 24/7, does that really sound like freedom?  
A note on client expectations
The common objection to this whole context is “I have to work 24/7, or else my clients won’t use me.” OK. I want you to think like this: except in the case of absolute emergency with your body or your car, do you expect a doctor or mechanic to be available at 3 am? Most people do not. Do you know a lot of people you’ve worked with who prefer to sign house documents or go over context and financials at 2:15 am? Maybe there are a few people on the planet like that, sure. They are not common. Most clients also have families and lives outside of buying a home. They want to do the transactions within regular, reputable hours for their betterment as well. Bottom line: this is your business. You set the expectations on when you can be available, and you meet the tougher clients where they’re at. But keep everything within acceptable boundaries.

 

PS: You are more than your job
If you invest an overwhelming majority of your energy, time, and passion into your career, where does that ultimately get you?  I want you to invest a lot into the professional dimension of your life but what if you were also able to invest time in other dimensions? How would that affect the joy and love that you have for life? In fact, ever heard of a “Four-Way Win?” It’s a reputable concept — Wharton business school professor came up with it! — where you — WAIT FOR IT!! — get more done by focusing on work less. A-ha!
The solutions that are in front of you

 

Realize that you are in charge of your schedule: You and you alone detect when you will work and do not work. No one else has that power over you. Set boundaries that you and those that love you think will lead you to have a great life. Then communicate those boundaries to the clients that are wanting to work with you. Most of the time, you will find, that they are 100% okay with it.

 

Work when you work, and be off when you’re off: If you are sitting at your home office and scrolling Facebook 95% of the time, that is NOT real work! Also when you are at the dinner table with your family, that’s a great time to be off, so leave the phone in the other room. So many of us try to overlap being at work and being off and what ends up happening is that we do neither well.

 

Seek clarity: Clarity on your purpose, clarity on your goals, clarity on when you will work, clarity on expectations for clients, clarity on what you will and will not do, clarity on what you delegate, and on and on the list can go. Clarity first with yourself and then with those around you will bring a level of focus to your life that will allow you to be successful in all areas of life. A quick note on delegation too: although this study was done with lawyers and not realtors, it showed that the most effective delegators made way more money than those who couldn’t delegate. Something to consider.

 

Our culture has come up with this idea that it’s a badge of honor to “always be working” or to always be “busy.” In fact, there’s a whole set of research now about how impressed Americans are by “busyness.”  Despite all this focus in those directions, the reality is that in just about every measurable way, people are not happier. They have more stress, higher anxiety, and less joy than they did a generation ago. That doesn’t mean the “good old days” were perfect, but maybe we are not heading in the right direction either.

 

I can’t say that I’ve always modeled this well. I remember a friend telling me that I need “balance” in my life. I really don’t know how to measure or obtain that. I tended to be more on the side of- I sprint like crazy for six months and then am forced to mentally, emotionally and physically cruise for a month. What I want in life is calibration: different facets of my life that function together and are in line with my greater purposes. Where my relational life isn’t robbed by my professional life and my professional life is sabotaged by my relational life. Shouldn’t we all want that?
Greg – Coach/Trainer – The Tappe Group