Being a successful real estate agent means not only getting the most leads or hitting revenue goals, but also being genuinely happy in the job. The keys to happiness are different for everyone, but balancing work productivity with time for mental and physical rejuvenation is universally recognized as essential. Ignore one element and the others will suffer.
There are many professional benefits to making happiness a priority. Mainly, it means you’ll work harder and have more workplace success: On average, happy people are shown to be 31 percent more productive, 10 percent more engaged, and sell 37 percent more. But how does one “get” happy?
We’ve looked into some of the most-researched ways proven to make people happy, and how you can apply them to your personal and professional life as a real estate agent.
10 Ways to Be a Happy Agent
1) Get healthy amounts of sleep.
While it’s easier said than done, getting ample amounts of sleep for your body has numerous benefits, from helping your body recover and generate new cells to helping your brain absorb the information from the previous day’s events.
Sleep helps you stay alert, responsive, and determines how you’ll respond to stress later in the day. If you’re facing an influx of new leads or dealing with high-stress negotiations, an extra hour or two of restful sleep can increase your mood and ability to take on tasks. And take advantage of the flexibility an agent’s schedule sometimes provides. You probably work long hours anyway, so don’t be bashful about using your downtime for a nap. If no one wants a showing on weekday afternoons anyway, schedule yourself for a siesta to make up for the times when you stay up late fielding client phone calls.
2) Take time to self-reflect and relax.
Taking time to reflect and release tension can increase happiness. Whether it’s meditation, freewriting, or constructing to-do lists in the morning or evening, finding a way to release stress and focus on what’s important is vital to long-term happiness.
It’s easy to get “tunnel vision” and not recognize when you need to relax. Obsessing over the seller who turned down a reasonable offer last week? Still livid at the buyer who cancelled a showing?
Being unable to let go of work concerns is a sure sign of stress. It’s time to find a way to relax. To master this, it has to become a daily routine. Things like writing every day can make you happier, but if finding time to write generates more stress, simply try writing down three good things that happened today, or documenting your concerns in a worry journal so they stay on paper and out of your mind.
3) Take breaks throughout the day.
Stopping a task for a short period can increase your focus and decrease tension. No matter which style you choose — a walk, a daydream, music, a moment of meditation, or nothing — taking breaks helps your mind process and sort information and helps you achieve mental clarity, leading to happiness.
Research has also shown that shifting to an unrelated task for a short period of time can help generate more creative ideas for your projects. Taking breaks is particularly important for those, like real estate agents, who have irregular work hours.
Because you can be working at any time of the day, or on weekends, there’s a tendency to feel like you should be working all the time, non-stop. Don’t feel guilty about taking a breather, in the long run it improves your performance.
4) Practice smiling (you read that right).
While this seems like a fake-it-til-you-make-it tactic, honest smiling has benefits. One study showed how smiling can maintain relaxation and help you recover from stressful activities with lower heart rates.
Beyond its health benefits, smiling is great for your professional life. Clients appreciate working with an agent who is upbeat. A smile is the easiest way to enforce the perception that you’re a pleasant professional. (And, if you have trouble keeping up with any of the items on this list, at least you know this task is something you can do anywhere and everywhere.)
5) Plan ahead and save money.
Financial troubles can put a clear damper on your mood and have the potential to cause sustained stressed. There are many fees to consider as a real estate agent, but there are ways to save.
Try to set aside money to prepare for both taxes and for any incidentals, and make reinvesting in your marketing and business a priority if you want to see gains.
6) Develop real, lasting relationships with clients.
Happiness often comes from a feeling that you’ve done great things to help others. If you’re seeing your clients as just potential income, there’s a good chance that your career isn’t as fulfilling. Seeing them as people, even as friends, and building strong connections with them will not only enhance your relationship, it will make your professional work more rewarding.
Go the extra mile to find out more about your clients and their needs, and check in even when there’s no business involved. And kind gestures, like sending a holiday or birthday card, aren’t just good marketing tactics, they’re a way to maintain your personal bond.
7) Work on improving yourself and pursue goals.
Doing what you excel at and having goals that you’re striving to achieve helps increase motivation. As you improve your professional skills and move closer to your goal, you increase personal gratification. Learn new skills in your field through classes, real estate coaches, conferences, and webinars to feel a sense of personal growth that will increase your professional happiness over time.
Set up a few achievable goals and track your progress towards accomplishing them. Reaching your final goal feels great, but appreciating steady progress is the key to happiness along the way.
8) Only use technology that increases organization and productivity.
Before downloading yet another app or signing up for the latest task manager, ask yourself what the benefit will be. The average person overloads on technology and feels more overwhelmed in the process, wondering why technology isn’t making things better.
Because an increase in stress can affect your happiness, streamline the technology you use and figure out what works for you. Your marketing automation and CRM tools should be user-friendly and should help you easily manage and schedule tasks. For email, create folders and filters that help you keep important and unimportant items separate, set notifications for unopened priority messages, and unsubscribe from mailing lists that you haven’t used in a while.
9) Say “no” more often.
Warren Buffett once said, “The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say ‘no’ to almost everything.” If you’re an eager real estate agent, this may sound a little counterintuitive. But spreading yourself thin can cause undue stress, decrease overall happiness, and affect job performance.
Saying “no” is not only empowering and freeing for your schedule, but also helps put your well-being first. Learn which activities are most valuable in building your business and prioritize those. Qualify leads well and get comfortable passing on undesirable opportunities. Being happy and less stressed will help you have stronger, healthier relationships with the leads that matter.
10) Join a community.
Nothing puts things into perspective like seeing how other people are handling life’s challenges. And peers provide a support system when things do get overwhelming. Participating in industry organizations and attending conferences isn’t just a way to learn, you’ll also build enjoyable professional friendships. Getting involved in local activities can be even more advantageous.
Not only will you start relationships that might eventually result in new business, you’ll cultivate a sense of belonging in your community. Here are some tips for execution.
- Develop routines. It’s important to remember that happiness is created over time, and it’s more of a lifestyle than a destination. If you’re hoping to be a happy agent for the long-term, create rituals you follow throughout your day that breed consistency and don’t let you fall back into old habits.
- Schedule things. Yes, this means even scheduling in times to “be in the moment.” While that seems silly, hectic schedules and stressors can cause you to lose track of your happiness rituals. Make sure you don’t miss what’s important by using a written or electronic scheduler that will keep you on track.
- Start small and try things that are manageable. Nothing will make you more stressed than getting side-tracked or overwhelmed by your new happiness tasks. If you can’t devote time yet to deep meditations, try a two-minute break. If you can’t do a full workout, try a try a seven-minute one. The goal is to take action. Start integrating happiness factors into your everyday life so they become natural habits over time that make you a better real estate agent.