Pam is Founder and CEO of TPK Properties LLC, a property investment and consulting firm focused on investor capital preservation and growth.
It is well understood that the real estate industry is cyclical. There are market highs that favor sellers and market lows that favor buyers. The hardest thing to predict is when the cycles will change or double down in the existing direction.
What has surprised many, myself included, is the cycle we are discovering in some markets a year into the Covid-19 pandemic. Unlike the downturn of 2008 that had a lasting depression across multiple markets, what we are seeing today in some markets is a near-feeding frenzy of buyers. Several factors are driving these market conditions, including a shortage of inventory, record-low interest rates, flexible work accommodations and the desire for stable assets in a time of uncertainty.
In non-pandemic times, this frantic market would be a blessing to most real estate professionals in the sense that it’s better to have an abundance of work than scarcity. However, here in 2021, remote work, social distancing, and the blurred lines between work and personal time add unprecedented challenges and stress to the elevated work influx. So how does one stay motivated in such a stressed global time?
1. Get creative with communication.
Maintaining the human connection with your clients and peers has been one of the greatest challenges of doing business in the Covid-19 environment. I’ve found the best strategy for adapting is to channel flexibility. Be open to alternative forms of communication: Zoom calls to meet a new client, video tours of a property, virtual happy hours. Find creative ways to remain connected with the people you work with such as connecting and messaging via LinkedIn. Or plan a game night or TV show watch party together (while being in separate homes).
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2. Don’t forget about your professional/personal network.
When things get busy and we have fewer face-to-face interactions, it’s easy to forget about those in our network we don’t interact with on a regular basis. Dedicate 15 minutes or more each week to reconnect with those you haven’t interacted with in a while. I’ve found care packages, handwritten letters or even a quick phone call is all it takes to keep your industry and personal relationships fresh. If your connections are local, you can also schedule a drive-by visit or drop off a thoughtful gift or a meal. Another option, if the weather is cooperative, is to try outdoor activities at a safe distance from one another, such as hiking, walking, meeting at the park or at a restaurant with outdoor seating. Not only will this force you to get some fresh air, but it will help you move around and change the scenery, which is a win for the mind, body and soul.
3. Adjust your mindset to have realistic expectations and a sense of humor.
With the added constraints Covid-19 has put on how we do business, we can easily get frustrated with how difficult things are now. That can spiral into a negative mindset, with the frustration impacting both your personal and professional relationships. I often have to remind myself that the challenges I face at work are often resolved within a few weeks or, at worst, in a few months. As of late, I’ve given myself permission to be OK with knowing some days that I’m an awesome professional and a mediocre mom, and some days I’ll be a fantastic mom and a semi-OK professional. Giving myself the grace to honor that balancing life is truly a gift and a challenge that helps release the guilt.
Sprinkling in a little bit of humor also helps. Finding ways to smile or laugh at a situation such as a tech glitch or finding the irony in a tough situation will help ease the experience. For example, my youngest son recently took my phone hostage and accidentally called a colleague who is more like an acquaintance. Thankfully, the person was very generous and laughed along with me at the situation, and we ended up catching up for an hour! It was a blessing in disguise. This perspective helps remind me that this challenge will pass, and because of it, I will have found a new creative solution to put in my toolbox.
4. Try work batching.
With our professional and personal roles blended, it’s easy to get lost with our daily schedules and intentions. I always frontload my days, saving the most challenging work for the mornings as that’s when I’m at my full capacity to tackle things. Try batching your workdays by assigning themes to each day so that you can stay focused and clear your mind for maximum productivity. I batch and theme my days to work best for me, although everyone has different preferences and works differently.
• Mondays are all about “M” tasks (to keep it easy to remember!): marketing, management, money-related tasks such as bills and utilizing my Monday work organization app.
• Tuesdays are for team meetings. I book back-to-back meetings with different departments and members of my team and focus on business development and strategy.
• Wednesdays are for my web updates: Social media, articles, blogs, YouTube and podcast recordings, website updates — anything web or creative writing-related is saved for this day.
• Thursdays are saved for research and education. I focus on tasks that need further reviewing or researching or spend time educating myself on a new topic. Sometimes I’ll spend the whole day reading books or magazines.
• Fridays are “fun and family” days. If it is not fun or family related, I will not book something on this day as it is for me to decompress and lay low with family or volunteer at the local senior community center.
Remember, in six weeks or six months from now, the things you may be overwhelmed by or most concerned about will be resolved and in the past, while you are in the present, working on the new challenges life has presented. The good news about the ever-evolving cycle of life (and the real estate market) is that change is constant and moving through things is part of the process. Implementing ways to maintain your motivation is vital to yourself, the team you lead and the people you share life with.
Forbes Real Estate Council is an invitation-only community for executives in the real estate industry. Do I qualify?