7 Habits to incorporate into your daily routine
Written by Curt Green
Some of us, present company included, have lived through some life-altering events in our lives, the kind that tend to push the reset button on our daily life as we know it. Numerous foreign wars, 9-11, economic recessions, stock market crashes, real estate crashes…in some form or another, these events each resulted in material changes in our daily lives.
This pandemic will be no different. Some of these recent “inconveniences” may become the new normal, although it may be too early to tell how many of these changes will stick.
The governor of our state, and a few others, have issued stay-at-home orders and demand that most non-essential businesses be shut down temporarily, although the words essential, non-essential, and temporarily have only been loosely defined at this point. Our industry, real estate, is enormously impacted as most real estate offices are closed, employees are losing their jobs, escrows are falling apart due to panicking buyers or sellers, showings have ceased, and numerous affiliate businesses are negatively impacted…escrow, lending, inspectors, appraisers, and of course, real estate agents and Brokers.
Most agents are honoring the stay at home order, and a few rogue agents are still trying to squeeze in showings. Regardless of your behavior today, most everyone is anxious about the future. Many agents will worry about the duration, but it is unknown at this point, so worrying about something you have no control over is counter-productive in this moment. Instead, let’s focus on the things we can control.
That’s the purpose of this short post. If you’ll adopt these 7 best practices, I believe you will not only survive the pandemic, but thrive in its aftermath. Although I could have added a lot of filler content to make this longer, I chose to be deliberately concise. I want you to be able to read this quickly and start taking action immediately.
Although this was written primarily for my industry, I believe you’ll find it applies universally. Feel free to share it as you see fit. Otherwise, be safe, be smart, and be diligent.
- Take care of yourself
You’ve heard it before and it bears repeating…if you don’t take care of yourself first, you won’t be strong enough to take care of anyone or anything else in your life. It’s true. It all starts with you.
Take advantage of this isolation period to revisit your own practices in terms of how you care for yourself. This goes for both your mind and your body. Prior to this latest interruption, most people would agree they have room for improvement in both of those categories. We eat poorly, don’t get enough sleep, and don’t exercise enough. We also don’t feed our minds enough, and instead devote much of our downtime to entertainment like movies, video games, and such.
Hey, it’s your time, and I think you should use it in the manner you see fit, but when we’re forced to pump the brakes on life, as we are right now, it’s also a good time to take inventory. You’re being forced to spend time in the kitchen now, because all the restaurants are closed. What a great opportunity to learn how to cook or leverage the skills you already possess into a healthier diet and lifestyle. You’re also confined to the house, and the gym is closed, so take more walks, jog, or maybe visit the local park and exercise there. Try yoga…you still have internet. If you spend a little time searching, I’m confident you can find an exercise program that fits your lifestyle and doesn’t require a gym. The point is, you don’t need a gym to get exercise, and getting out of the house right now sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
If you’re like me, you probably have a stack of books that you haven’t made time for yet, or a hobby that you don’t make time for anymore. Maybe there’s a class you’ve wanted to take, and you can learn nearly anything online these days. Do those things…feed your mind. I’m not suggesting you give up your favorite Hulu series, or don’t play video games if those are important to you, I’m simply suggesting that you allocate a portion of your time to do those things that will keep you healthy and keep you sharp. When this is all over, you’ll wish you had this time back.
- Stay in your routines
This is critical. Staying in your routines will make it much easier for you to return to normal daily life when this is over. It will also make you more productive during this isolation period.
Get out of bed at the same time you normally did when you were working. Shower, shave, put on your make-up, and do all of the things you would normally do in your morning ritual. Dress the same way you would if you were going to work, even though you’re working from home.
Don’t turn on the television, it’s a distraction. Go to your desk or the kitchen table and start your day just as you would if you were at your job. Check your email, plan your week, call clients, develop new marketing campaigns…do the things that you can do while your work life has been interrupted.
Every couple of hours, take a break for fifteen minutes. Grab a snack. Turn on the television for fifteen minutes. Log into Facebook or Instagram. It’s your break time, so do what you want, but try to limit it to fifteen minutes.
If you get to a point where you truly feel there’s no work left to be done, then look over the remaining suggestions I’m offering you…chances are there’s something there that you can use.
When the clock strikes the time you would normally stop working for the day, then stop working. Cook yourself a nice dinner, jump on the phone with an old friend you lost contact with, get some exercise in…it’s your time. You still put in a good day’s work, despite the change in circumstances…be happy with that.
3. Communicate with your prospects and customers
Your prospects and customers are going through the same thing you are right now, so show a little empathy. Be there for them. Let them know that you are still open for business, but in a limited capacity. Remind them that you are sensitive to the need to be safe and cautious during this time, but that you still want to be a resource for them. Share useful information that you have. Keep them apprised of changes that may affect the markets, or assistance programs they may not be aware of.
You should be reaching out to everyone in your database, regardless of their status, no less than twice a week. Text, phone call, email, or hand-written notes. When this is over, you want them to think of you when they need something.
- Stay informed
You can only be a good resource for people if you are informed. Allocate part of your day to educating yourself by using your favorite news sources and trade association websites. Conduct targeted research in topics like mortgage trends, investment performance, and local real estate trends so that you stay on the cutting edge of what’s happening around you. Some of these may change on a daily basis so it’s important to revisit some of them often.
It’s also important to know how this pandemic will affect other segments of the economy. You will have clients looking for places to put their money when this is all over. Be prepared to advise them appropriately.
- Invest in yourself
Yes. Invest in yourself. Learn more about your craft. Learn a new craft…real estate offers an abundance of opportunities. If you have considered adding another designation to your resume, do it. If you have considered getting your Broker’s license, do it. Maybe you want to explore another segment in the industry like lending, property management, escrow, insurance, or investing. You’ll never have a better time to accelerate that exploration than right now.
By investing in yourself, you’re adding value to your service. You’re also building confidence in your ability, and that will take you further than the education you’re about to get.
Above all else, stop thinking about it and take action. No excuses.
- Anticipate unique opportunities to serve people
Most people would agree that nearly every crisis produces unique opportunities. This will be no different. New industries will be born. Fresh opportunities to prosper will reveal themselves. The lucky ones will thrive.
STOP…that was a test. Are you really going to let that pass? It’s not the lucky ones who will survive and thrive, it will be those who prepared themselves for this. There’s an old saying, “Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity.” The opportunity will be there. It’s unavoidable, unless of course you choose to avoid it.
There will be people who need your help. Some will be in default, some will need to restructure debt, but regardless of the need, you must be prepared to help them, whether you directly benefit or not.
A wise person once said, “a crisis can be a unique opportunity to change your path, to explore new opportunities, and to become the person you were always meant to be.” Don’t waste it.
- Be ready
This will end…likely sooner than later. The Great Pandemic of 2020 will no doubt be a chapter in future history books, but like many events that preceded it, will also become a distant memory at some point in time.
Rather than focus on the ugliness of this time…the illness, those who succumbed to it, the politics, and all the inconveniences resulting from it…I sincerely hope you look back on this as a turning point in your life, a time when you hit your own reset button and turned a negative situation into a positive result for you and your family. A time where you took a few suggestions to heart and went on to engineer some serious change in your life.
Rather than wish for a speedy end to this so you could quickly return to what you had I hope you’re wishing for more time to create the new life or the new version of you that has yet to be born.
Make no mistake, this will end…the choice is yours how you will respond to it. If your choice is to use this time to prepare for the opportunities and changes that lie ahead, then we can sum it all up into two words. Be ready.