Raise your hand if you feel overwhelmed by how busy you are. It’s okay, don’t be ashamed! At this point, it’s no secret that we live in a culture of busyness and workaholism. The Atlantic published an article called The Religion of Workism earlier this year about how Americans tend to define themselves through work and perpetual busyness. The New York Times has touched on it, as has Buzzfeed in a viral essay about workplace burnout.

Last week, we posted about our staff’s Fall Bucket List, which is about everything our staff wants to do when they’re not at work. They said all kinds of things, from cooking to traveling to just kicking back with friends. Our bucket list taps into a really important value that we hold as a company… the ability to be a human being. No, it’s not on our list of core values, but it’s a philosophy that we are just beginning to put words to. 

Working in real estate is, in a lot of ways, a 24/7 kind of job. It is imperative to be available to your clients, travel constantly for showings and listings appointments, and be reliable about texting or calling back in a prompt fashion. How does an agent reconcile the responsibilities of being a good agent for her clients with also, honestly, just having a life? 

This week, we sat down to chat with Pier about her thoughts on the culture of busyness and constant productivity, the real estate profession, and the importance of having a day off. Here are her five tips for cultivating a better work-life balance. 

Tip 1: Treat real estate like a job, because it is. 

“One of the things that has been effective for me is to treat selling real estate like a business instead of a part-time activity. Get dressed, “go to work,” whether that’s going into your home office, heading to a coffee shop, or an actual office, and just plug away for a set amount of time. I try to work from 9 to 5 like everyone else in a conventional career, and that has actually helped me more than anything with my work-life balance! And it’s been even more important to do that now that I’m in a “boss role.”  

I’ve found the more that the more I focused on “creating a business” out of being a broker, the better my work-life balance got. When I framed it that way, I began taking a day off to put on my answering machine, rest, and relax. 

Tip 2: Work efficiently. 

This is another big one. If you work efficiently and get a lot done within your set working hours, you don’t have to kill yourself by working constantly. There’s a difference between working hard and just making busy work for yourself all the time, too. They’re not the same thing at all. I think it’s important to not buy into that myth that if you’re not busy, you’re not successful. Busyness is often a ruse to keep ourselves occupied when there is something important that we need to think about.

Tip 3: Respect your client’s work-life balance. 

Another interesting thing is respecting the client’s work-life balance, too. What is the best way to respect THEIR work-life balance? I personally don’t want to be the CEO of the kind of firm that hounds people for24 hours a day, 7 days a week for business. So we’re not going to call people at 8 o’clock at night to get a new client or a new listing. 

Tip 4: Take a day off! 

When you’re learning how to be a real estate agent, you’re taught to answer the phone no matter when it rings… after all, it’s a service profession. But everyone needs down time, too. There is a lot of American guilt and shame about not working or not being busy. I can honestly say I love working. I’m emotionally fulfilled from a productive day in the office. But over the years, I’ve had to learn that it’s okay to have a day off. 

Tip 5: Don’t confuse being busy with doing good work 

I think social media has played into the idea of we’re all so happy, successful, and busy. I think it’s a real testament to authenticity to not pretend. The personality type that is championed is the workaholic. And the workaholic is not bringing the clearest line, the best set of skills, and the most honed systems because they’re exhausted. 

The culture of being busy doesn’t account for the fact that busy work is often not good work. We’re attempting to be different for how our agents work. We have systems and staff in place to help people do focused, dedicated work on behalf of their own careers and their own clients. 

What’s your favorite way to unwind? 

The best way is always on a Sunday. I love to get up and make a really delicious cup of coffee, piddle around the house, and around 2pm, I build a little fire and spend a couple hours cooking and then sit on the porch after dark and listen to the crickets. It is nice. I love being home.