How to beat real estate fatigue: Joel Davoren

In a fast-paced profession such as real estate, burnout is a real risk every agent faces. RE/MAX Australia and New Zealand Director Joel Davoren explains how to turn the tables on career fatigue.

Career fatigue is not often talked about openly in our industry. But career fatigue is real. As agents, we tend to be conditioned to accept tough outcomes, rejection and negativity, and react by getting on with things.

We’re expected to take the knockbacks and the disappointments on the chin, and keep going.

While it is important agents can do so, it can, unfortunately, lead to a much greater issue and more serious state of mind.

That state of physical and/or emotional exhaustion, that sense of reduced accomplishment, self-doubt and even loss of personal identity is real.

From a sales agent perspective, it can happen to any of us – from the rookie to the million-dollar agent.

Someone once said to me that real estate was not complicated, but it was certainly not easy.

I agree.

It is a good observation of our profession, and agents should remind themselves of this fact now and then.

What agents can experience is a feeling of little or no control, of being at the whim of the industry and the market.

They are largely expected to be self-accountable, but self-accountability can be exceptionally draining.

I have seen many agents hit career fatigue, and I experienced it when I was selling property.

Real estate was all I’d known, but I was questioning myself and my business.

What turned things around for me was a straightforward process of following two rules, with the latter involving a series of commitments.

I share them here as they may prove beneficial for other agents who are feeling like I did.

I also encourage you to fine-tune the rules and commitments to suit your circumstances.


1. Distance yourself from the situation. Disconnecting can trigger a new perspective

At that time, I had the opportunity to go overseas. While that may sound pleasant enough, it was not an easy decision to distance myself for a while from my professional role as a real estate agent.

There are other ways to disconnect, but they should all lead to an outcome.

For me, the separation of time and distance made me reconsider myself in the real estate industry and gave me a heightened perspective on my business.

2. Reconnect with a plan and commitments that are simple and easy to execute

I gave myself 12 weeks to follow through.

I didn’t want to extend any further than that as I knew I was more likely to commit if I kept things simple and the timeframe short.

If you can’t stick to the tasks for the time you set, you need to reassess.

It is by no means the only way to rediscover your way in this industry, but it is what worked for me.


Remove any unnecessary tasks or habits from your morning schedule

Focus only on vital activities in the morning.

This is all about stripping back and simplifying what you might usually tackle to make sure everything you do counts.

Identify and focus on input and output in a structured way

Input is inbound calls and emails. Output is proactive, self-generating, dollar-productive activities such as trawling your databases.

Focus on each output activity in turn, in an uninterrupted state.

Put the headphones on or whatever you need to do to remain focused.

Don’t make any block of time too great. Any targets set should be reasonable ones, and bite-size chunks tend to be more effective.

For example, four separate one-hour periods of prospecting are likely to be more productive than one four-hour chunk.

Determine reasonable outcomes and viable executables.

Always keep your CRM open. Don’t shut it down at all

A database is like a garden that needs to be maintained.

There’s always pruning to be done. At times, plants need to be removed and new ones dug in.

Your database is a depreciating asset, just like your car.

Each agent must determine what it takes to keep their database going, but it may need around 20 per cent new contacts to maintain peak performance.

Lack of lead generation may lead to a perceived lack of control, which in turn could result in career fatigue.

Being proactive with your database helps you regain control.

This might sound obvious, and a basic piece of advice, but I realised after a good, long assessment of my business that I was undervaluing the asset I was sitting on.

Chase every opportunity

You must regain the hunger to do that.

It doesn’t matter how, when or where you do it, you just have to take every opportunity.

I knew there may have been people I didn’t ‘click’ with or awkward situations I had been in previously that had led me to stop chasing every lead.

Now I was committed to chasing every opportunity without exception.

The longer an agent is in the industry, the greater the possibility of that agent becoming complacent about business coming to them and expecting it just to happen.

That’s an unsustainable state. You cannot rely on business occurring that way.

Carry out a lunch audit

Come lunchtime, I gave myself a pass or fail on the morning’s work.

You need that self accountability.

Don’t overcomplicate things. Ask ‘Did I do what I needed to get done this morning?’

I found I was hitting the mark more frequently as time went on. The aim is to finish each morning of work in a positive frame of mind.

When I set my morning up right, my afternoon took care of itself.

My approach was not to schedule appointments during the first half of the day.

That left the afternoon for appraisals, listing opportunities, contract signing and so on, which were all things I found enjoyable and rewarding.

The goal is to create a sustainable, enjoyable, productive relationship with the job.

Career fatigue comes from a feeling of lack of control and of only ever having the energy to react.

Why do people mainly only talk about managing time?

Managing energy is vitally important. Reset your energy levels by establishing your own rules and commitments and becoming proactive in your profession.

I came back from overseas a different agent and, within the 12 weeks, I had again found my passion for real estate.

Show More

Joel Davoren

Joel Davoren is the director of RE/MAX Australia. He leads a strong team that brings on new business owners and consults with existing franchise owners and sales associates, empowering them to achieve business mastery and increase profitability.