Even if you aren’t in real estate, chances are you’ve seen an image like this floating around on your social channels:

friday

And if you are in real estate, you know this sentiment all too well. The truth is, most of us are guilty of working a little too much. It’s hard to unplug, especially when your clients expect you to be on call 24 hours a day. But are all of those late nights and extra hours actually helping your business?

Simply put, the research says no. There is over 150 years of research proving that shorter hours raise productivity and profits. A 2014 study by John Pencavel of Stanford University found that employee output falls dramatically after a 55-hour work week. In fact, if Person A puts in 70 hours per week, they don’t produce anything more than Person B, who puts in 55 hours.

The topic is so serious that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention actually has a website devoted to long work hours.

But in real estate, it is impossible to stick to a strict schedule, and we’re not suggesting you do! However, there are some things you can do to avoid burning out while maintaining your physical health and mental sanity.

Sleep
We all know that sleep deprivation poses serious health risks (like heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and obesity, just to name a few) but it can also be damaging to your career. If you’re staying up too many nights, you won’t be as productive or creative during the day. According to the CDC, sleep deprivation costs U.S. businesses more than $63 billion annually in lost productivity.

Shutting down at night will actually help you become more productive during your working hours & help you reach your full potential.

Set Expectations
Do you know why your clients expect you to be on demand 24 hours a day? Because more often than not, you are. Set clear expectations with your clients about your availability. If you have a hard time keeping up with incoming messages, hire an assistant that can respond on your behalf. Believe it or not, your clients don’t always need you – they just need an informed answer from someone that has the knowledge to provide it.

Disconnect
Don’t forget to make time for what makes you happy. Whether this is spent with your family, working out, socializing with friends, or meditating alone, make the time. During this time, engage 100% in that activity. Don’t look at your phone or monitor emails. Be present in the moment. Taking time away from work will not only help to restore some balance in your life, but will boost creativity and innovation.

Take a Vacation  
Americans are notorious for not only over-working, but for skipping out on earned vacation days. But the research shows vacations can positively impact your mental health, increase your motivation, and help you get a better perspective.

If you think all those extra hours are giving you an edge over your competition, think again. Instead of working longer hours, spend more time being focused and productive, and then stop. Give yourself a chance to reboot as often as you can. Your body, mind and business will thank you.