Elite Agent

Engaged Workaholics: Tom Panos

Whether you are an ‘integrator’ or a ‘segmenter’, Tom Panos urges all real estate workaholics to avoid burnout by developing a rhythm that is sustainable in the long term.

As I write this, it is 9:04pm. It’s one of the last things I’m doing for the day.

At approximately 10:30pm, I’ll go to sleep listening to a spiritual podcast. My final thoughts will enter my normal nightly ritual which I repeat to myself: ‘God, this is your shift now. I’m going to sleep.’

At 5am I will be up, working though my normal morning ritual of a mindful prayer, coffee, gym/bay run, followed by coffee again, a to-do list and straight into work all day.

I’m probably best described as an Engaged Workaholic, who does not see the need for too much recovery because my daily rituals and routines set me free.

Why would you need recovery when you love what you do, you find meaning in your vocation, and you get invigorated and gain much enjoyment from your work? I mean, does anyone need recovery when they’re doing something pleasurable, like going to the movies or hanging out with friends for dinner?

Yet I clearly remember there was a time when I worked a job I disliked for 35 hours a week. I needed a whole weekend to recover from what I can best describe as a pinstriped prison.

Today I work six days a week for up to 80 hours a week and, as long as I’m eating well, exercising, trying to get enough sleep, feeding my mind positive content and hanging around optimistic people, I don’t fall into the category of ‘needing work-life balance’.

Before I move on to giving you some practical advice, you need to establish whether you’re a
‘Work-Life Segmenter’ or a ‘Work-Life Integrator’.

When you work a job you despise, it’s called stress. When you work a job that you love, it’s called passion.

I’m more than happy for my work to bleed into my life. I know there are many other people who need very clear boundaries; they need to walk into their home, turn their mobile off and change their work clothes before they even hug their children.

I’m perfectly happy being an Integrator, and so are many successful real estate agents I’ve interviewed.
Below are seven guidelines and practical tips that Work-Life Integrators still need to implement in their life to ensure they don’t burn out.

  1. Learn to say no. Saying no buys you more time in your life.
  2. No emails from 10pm to 6am. Email management at this time is disruptive to sleep.
  3. Develop morning and evening rituals. For example, morning: gratitude time, exercise and 10 calls before 10am. Night: three things you were grateful for that happened today, or a calming activity such as meditation, prayer, reading something spiritual or watching something funny. (I know scientists say you’re not supposed to look at screens before bedtime, but I think laughter more than compensates for this.)
  4. Have your phone on silent when you’re in the flow zone; for example, during your prospecting time. Don’t give the power to the caller.
  5. Work from home. There is enough research to suggest around 20 per cent more productivity.
  6. Set routine habits around schedules – a structured week, but not an ideal week that is set up like a prison.
  7. Have ongoing interactions with similar like-minded agents – for example, the Real Estate Gym community.

Finally, let me just say that without a doubt the most critical thing for a real estate agent to have a long-term, sustainable life, where they’re passionate about their work, is to focus on a method and style of work that is sustainable.

The best agents I know have focused on ‘job crafting’. They designed how and what they do in their job and use a system or have assistants to do elements of the job that they don’t like or are not good at.

Burnout and having a constant need of life balance comes when a real estate agent uses prospecting methods that they dislike doing, and have no support in low dollar-productive activities that are also draining.

When you work a job you despise, it’s called stress. When you work a job you love, it’s called passion.

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Tom Panos

Tom Panos is a real estate coach, trainer and speaker with 22 years of experience. For more information, visit tompanos.com.au.