Brokers and their agents are stressed out: long hours, a seismic shift in the market, and a record jump in mortgage interest rates. And because of the pandemic, the entire real estate industry jumped on the tech bandwagon, catapulting the adoption of new technology by industry pros — we Zoom, Dropbox, e-sign, Facebook, and Google more than ever. Screen time is soaring with the onslaught of new technology dominating a broker’s workday. What can you do to reduce stress, especially from tech?
Here are four time-tested tactics experts suggest to help brokers – or agents – reduce stress.
1. Digital Detox
You need to take a complete break from technology, starting with your smartphone. Build this into at least a weekend vacation. A few days of near-zero screen time can do wonders to help you learn to relax. That means no social media scrolling or checking texts or emails. No video games playing or even watching the news. It’s time to break away. Get help from a coworker or your significant other who can monitor urgent messages that may need your response because we all know real estate happens. Pro tip: Go to your happy place – your favorite vacation spot or getaway to chill out (unless, of course, your happy place is an internet café, but that’s doubtful.) Divorcing yourself from all things tech will reduce stress, increase social interaction and give you more time control. In addition, you are likely to discover how much negativity digital devices may be contributing to your daily life.
2. Change your tech tendencies
Most people are creatures of habit. The same is true when it comes to the technology we use. Is your phone by your bedside at night? Do you ever check your email in the middle of the night or pick up your phone immediately after waking up? Do you use your phone in the bathroom? How much total time do you spend looking at a screen each day? Your smartphone tracks that and can tell you. How do you feel after spending time on Instagram or Facebook? Happy or sad; frustrated or angry? Taking a full assessment of your tech habits and how you react when you use technology for different things can help you change your tendencies. Be proactive: create one if you don’t already have family rules in place, such as no phones out at the dinner table. Understanding how you cumulatively spend your time and energy now with tech will help you correct or reduce bad habits and discover better, more positive ways to use your time.
3. Increase face-to-face interaction
Are you Zoomed out? A lot of brokers find being in Zoom meetings all day can be exhausting. It’s a great tool, but like everything, it requires use in moderation. Have you noticed increased pleasure when spending time face-to-face with other people? Humans hunger for interpersonal interaction, which seems particularly true for real estate professionals. There is no substitute for face-to-face communication as a stress reliever. Spend more time meeting with your agents and other professionals in person. You will likely find it less stressful but a lot more enjoyable, productive, and fun!
4. Set a curfew for your tech
Did you know that blue light emanating from your phone that you are looking at in bed can wreck a good night’s sleep? According to health professionals, your mobile phone screen reduces the production of melatonin, a hormone controlling your sleep-wake cycle or circadian rhythm. As a result, using a mobile phone at night can make it difficult to fall asleep and wake up the following day. In addition, researchers note that the circadian rhythm appears extra sensitive to blue light, making your brain think it’s daytime. The best advice: unplug at night. Turn your electronic devices off an hour before you go to sleep.
Let’s also acknowledge that while technology may contribute to your stress load, it can also relieve stress.
You can enjoy silly videos or funny memes and listen to your favorite music on your phone. Mediation apps like Calm or Headspace can help you relax – and fast. Your Fitbit or Apple watch can help monitor your physical activity, which also reduces stress. You can even schedule a video session with a therapist to discover more ways and methods you can use to reduce stress.
Even broker tech tools such as transaction management software like Form Simplicity can help reduce work-related stress. They help keep you compliant, streamlines your workflow, and help you stay connected to your agents. You can learn more about how Form Simplicity can help brokers here.