March 17, 2017

Self-care for the self-employed

Working for yourself? Sure, it’s super-rewarding – but it can make it hard to make time for yourself. Follow our 5 tips for a more productive, more relaxed, more successful you.

Being a self-employed realtor is exciting. You get to make money doing something you’re passionate about, while keeping control over your work schedule — the amount of freedom can be a little addictive, and very inspiring.

So inspiring, in fact, that it can be difficult to remember to take care of yourself. When everything from marketing to selling is on your plate, you can find yourself more stressed than you should be – and too overwhelmed to do something about it.

That’s why it’s important to build smart work habits that not only help you work more efficiently, but ensure you look after your wellbeing – which in turn gives you the energy and skills to push your business even further.

Instead of doing more, review your goals

Tara Gentile, a small business consultant and strategist, notes that a common problem for busy entrepreneurs is trying to grow their business by doing more of the same – “more work, more offers, more email subscribers, more marketing.” But when you’re only focused on doing more, it’s inevitable that you’ll eventually reach the point where you have more tasks than you will time to do them.

Instead, set bigger goals that help you keep focused on the major steps for your business to level up. “It might mean taking a risk and hiring a team member, or cutting one product and going all in on the other,” she says. “But, however you approach it, it’s going to mean doing things differently. Doing things differently will get you out of the burnout cycle and on to growing your business.”

Understand the value of your time

As a self-employed realtor, understanding the balance between spending time on a sale and the commission you’ll get from that sale is a really delicate balance to strike that even the most experienced among us can find tricky. If you’re relatively new to the business, this is something it’s worth actively trying to establish as early on as possible – where is it worth you spending the time?

Over the course of a quarter, try and keep track of where you spend your time vs. where your sales land – at the end of the period you’re tracking, can you see where you might have over-serviced and, even better, where a little more time earlier on might have landed you a sale sooner? There are a ton of different apps that can help you track your time easily from your smartphone, so give one a try and see what you learn.

Get organized

Staying organized can do wonders for your peace of mind when you’re self-employed. Creating a workflow that works for you is a highly personal process, but these tools can help: Evernote is great for storing documents and your notes to self, as well as bookmarking inspiration for new projects. And the phone app comes with a scanner – no more losing notes, receipts, business cards, or invoices!

To keep track of your to-do list: Asana and Wunderlist are great if you’re more of a linear thinker, or if you want a more visual way to manage your projects, try MeisterTask, Trello or Asana’s new board option.

Organizing your cashflow and invoicing can remove a lot of stress, too – Quickbooks and Xero are accounting apps for small business owners, while Harvest and Freshbooks additionally have time-tracking and easy payment tools built in.

Make time for yourself

Todd Henry, business author and speaker, says one of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is letting business take over their lives. “Make sure you’re taking time on a regular basis to fill your mind with inspiring stimuli and ideas,” he says. Whether that’s checking out art exhibitions or settling in with a new Danish noir TV show, it’ll help you stay fresh and generate great ideas.

An underrated favorite is to try a series of podcasts and audiobooks. There are so many great ones to choose from, whether you’re into surreal audio dramas or nonfiction narratives about design – and they can be “read” while you’re cooking, walking the dog, cleaning the house, or in the car.

Want to make your work time more productive? Try these tips

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