5 Reasons to Stop Working 7 Days a Week

Learn how to set realistic expectations with clients so you can take breaks from work to recharge without risking business.
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© Jessica Peterson - Tetra Images/Getty Images

Welcome to real estate. Here, you can build your own business, have no income caps and enjoy flexible working hours. But you’ll need to fasten your seatbelts, as you might experience some turbulence along the way. Generating leads, enduring the ebbs and flows of market conditions and living on commission are commonplace, and you’re expected to be prepared for them. Please remember to turn on all your personal electronic devices, including laptops and cell phones, as these will be your business lifeline. However, we ask that you try not to work seven days a week, as it can lead to an extremely unbalanced lifestyle. Thank you for choosing a career in real estate and good luck.

Can you relate? Many people join the real estate profession for the freedom to be their own boss but end up working much longer hours than a typical 9-to-5 job. While everyone else considers a five-day workweek normal, the average real estate pro ends up working seven days a week—without proper time management skills. It’s common to see agents marketing themselves as available 24/7, and while it’s unclear where this tactic started, it sets an unhealthy and unrealistic expectation. Living in this constant state of “busy” and never truly taking a break can lead to career burnout, feelings of being overwhelmed and even leaving the industry entirely.

Avoiding a seven-day workweek may seem impossible at times, as clients’ needs and demands don’t fall into a regimented schedule. However, the disadvantages to your business that can arise from working around the clock are important to consider if you plan on having career longevity.

  1. Unrealistic expectations by clients. It’s our job to set clients’ expectations. If we don’t inform them about how we work, they end up dictating our schedule. To combat your client feeling as though you’re “unavailable,” try sending a quick text response stating that you will call them back at a certain time. You can also include in your voicemail message the hours in which you make return phone calls. This helps your client feel as though their message has been received and sets the expectation for when they will hear back from you.
  2. Setting yourself up for failure. It is impossible to be available all the time. We all have to sleep; we all have prior engagements from time to time; and we all have—or should have—a life outside of real estate. Most of us simply are not available every hour of every day of the week. So instead of trying to fulfill an unrealistic expectation, time-block your day to include client calls and other business activities.
  3. Pressure to work more than you should. If you don’t establish boundaries with your clients from the start, your schedule may start to feel packed. Rather than letting your business run you, run your business the way that makes sense for your life. Having a solid business plan is key to understanding how your business best operates.
  4. Higher possibility of burnout. When we don’t take time to care for ourselves so that we can still properly care for our clients, we end up overworked. To avoid burnout, have an awareness of what helps you recharge, such as physical exercise or reading a book, and weave that into your schedule.
  5. Unsustainable workplace. No one can be on the go all the time—for long periods of time—and maintain a high level of production. While it’s great that we can wear many hats as real estate pros, taking time away from work is crucial to show up as your best self for your clients.

There is a misconception that working more equals being more productive or successful. That is simply not true. If you maximize the hours you allot to your business and take appropriate time to focus on other things that fulfill you in life, you will start to see the benefits:

  • Improved focus and productivity
  • Improved sleep
  • Better time management
  • Better mood and interactions with clients
  • Higher possibility of long-term career happiness and sustainability
While it’s tempting to be available at the drop of a hat, it’s important to remember that establishing boundaries as a part of your business will help you establish more realistic client expectations and lead to happier customers and more referrals. A thriving business is built on the foundation you set, which should include your overall well-being in addition to your clients’. This is your reminder that it’s OK to take a break and set boundaries for your business.