As a business owner (aka the Big Cheese) and mortgage broker, we know there is no shortage of stressors in your life. Managing lead pipelines, answering phone calls, sending out holiday emails, picking your kids up from school — the list goes on. We get it. Working tirelessly to hit your goals may seem like the only option. But, in actuality, it’s the very thing holding you back from reaching the tippity top of the mortgage mountain, and (more importantly) it’s the quickest way to burn out, both personally and professionally.
The bright side: There are plenty of things you can do to avoid burnout at work and to maintain yourself throughout the year. Whether you’re overperforming at work or feeling overwhelmed in life, we’ve laid out a few tips to help you balance a healthy personal AND business life.
Teamwork Makes the Dream Work
“The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team.” - Phil Jackson
Nothing gets you to the finish line faster than a solid team and a common goal. Having a strong supporting team around you is invaluable and a fantastic way to avoid burnout at work. Remember, you don’t have to oversee everything.
Create a few lists of your day-to-day tasks/projects:
- What do you enjoy doing the most?
- What takes up most of your time?
- What is your least favorite task/project?
Once you’ve taken this self-audit — you can hire, outsource, and hand off some of those tasks to other people. This will free up your time and win you back some much-needed energy. What’s the key to a flowing pipeline and consistent volume? High-quality service and quick turnarounds. A strong mortgage team just so happens to solve both of those. Make your life a little bit easier and go build your dream team!
HERE ARE A COUPLE OF TIPS WHEN PICKING YOUR ‘STARTING FIVE’:
What/Who do you NEED: Straight out of the gate, you must identify your must-have employees. Examine your workflows and start building out the ‘ideal’ candidate to take on these tasks/projects —it might be an existing one, or you may need to hire. It’s important to define your current processes; it’ll make the hiring process simpler and will help you reallocate tasks.
Keep Your Job Description Short and Clear: Serious employee candidates typically don’t need long-winded explanations of what their job will entail. Just be sure your job description is concise enough to lay out expectations, responsibilities, and a few main day-to-day tasks they will be performing.
Your Health Is Important, Make Time for It
Unless you’re a fitness nut, it can be tough to get to the gym or prioritize some time for movement every single day. As a small business owner, it’s easy to be devoured by day-to-day tasks and working around the clock — often your health needs go by the wayside because of hectic workdays and strenuous meetings. However, nothing makes you feel the effects of burnout faster than sidelining your health for the sake of your business.
This ‘tip’ is pretty straightforward: Make it a priority to block out some you time throughout the day. Whether it’s a brisk walk in the morning or a mid-day workout, get your body off that desk chair and start moving. You’d be surprised what a 5-minute walk can do to a foggy, morning brain. It’s simple. Want to become more productive? Be more active.
Schedule = Structure
If you’re enjoying the privilege of working from home, you understand how “great” it is to work essentially whenever you want. That said, it’s easier now than ever to blur the lines between leisure time and work hours — leading to unhealthy boundaries and disorganized business.
How can you battle this ‘work-from-home’ dilemma? Create a schedule. It’s the one true solution to prevent you from dilly-dallying. Blocking out time throughout your day will keep you focused and (more importantly) effective with each task you have on your plate. There’s power in knowing when you’ll be working and when you’ll have time to play catch with your kids. This way, you won’t feel like work is 24/7, and you can enjoy more stress-free moments.
BEFORE YOU CREATE YOUR SCHEDULE, ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS:
- When do I want personal time to take care of myself?
- When are my kids’ school times and how much time will that take?
- When is work time?
- What is your hard stop time each day?
Set (Healthy) Expectations & Boundaries
Is there anything worse than a disgruntled employee or a frustrated client? These are usually due to high (unrealistic) expectations or crossed boundaries. Whether it’s a client expecting you to work around the clock to close on their dream home or your team member demanding a reply to their email — it’s vital that you establish healthy boundaries, to not wear yourself out.
Client Boundaries: Clients are as unpredictable as they come. You may get a chronic worrier who needs constant reassurance — we’re talking emails, texts, phone calls, hand-written letters, etc. Or your client may be laid back and only needs a follow-up text here and there. Whoever you get the pleasure of working with, it would be best to schedule around when your clients tend to need you the most. This sets expectations and lets them know when you will be the most responsive. You’ll also want to tell them when they can get ahold of you and what method is fastest (text, email, etc.)
Team Boundaries: As the leader of your business, you’ll want to set the expectation for your team early. Tell them what your work schedule will look like and inform them when they can expect to hear back from you. Setting boundaries is vital when running a full mortgage team. Let the team know your main form of communication (text, email, call, etc.) and how you’d like them to get in touch with you if there’s an emergency during ‘non-business’ hours.
Boundaries for Yourself:
- Listen workhorse, we understand your nose is pressed against the monitor, it can be easy to forget, but you must build breaks into your work schedule. Allowing yourself to take a 5-minute breather to grab lunch or walk your dog is a healthy boundary we recommend setting for yourself and your mental health.
- In today’s world, where pajama bottoms and bottom-up shirts are seen as a totally reasonable combo — it’s important to separate your work life from your personal life. Even if that means physically creating a barrier between your ‘work’ desk and your nightstand. If you don’t make the distinction, your whole house becomes your workspace. Find your ‘work spot’ and be sure to operate out of it every day. (Or most days, there’s nothing wrong with working out of a coffee shop occasionally.)
- OFF days are OFF days! If you’re working from home most days, it can be easy to fall prey to, “let me just send a couple of emails.” Before you know it, your whole Sunday is gone, and you’re more stressed than when it started! Be sure to take your off days seriously — unplug, stay offline, and back away from your home office.
Be Kind to Yourself
"If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete." - Jack Cornfield
Here's a friendly reminder to talk kindly to yourself. We are often our most harsh critics — when we feel anxious or frustrated, we talk to ourselves more harshly than we would ever to a friend or employee. And as common as perfectionism is in the mortgage industry, we need to leave room for error. Remember, work will still be there tomorrow; you don't need to finish every line item on your to-do list. It will be okay.
Additionally, if you are feeling the need to clock out early or take a Thursday off — you should. Most sensible people understand that we all have plenty of responsibilities on our plate at any given time. Nobody will chastise you for prioritizing yourself and your family.
Side note: Even if you have a terrible day at work and don’t accomplish what you set out to accomplish, tomorrow is another day. Focus on the days that go well and learn from the days that don't.