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Why Allowing Work to Invade Your Personal Life Is a Really Bad Idea

Many of us in the ultra-competitive world of commercial real estate business end up working nearly non-stop. We work overtime at the office or in the field. Then we go home and work some more by checking emails, updating social media accounts, and generally spending way too much time dwelling about work. That is not a good thing. Here are some of the harmful effects of letting work invade your personal life, and steps you can take to achieve a winning work-life balance that can keep you happy, healthy, and productive.

3 Harmful Effects of Letting Work Inside Your Home

While your broker might appreciate all of the extra hours you’re putting in, letting work invade your personal life slowly but surely takes its toll.

Physical Health

Putting in long hours sitting behind a desk is as unhealthy as smoking. In its Annals of Internal Medicine study, Columbia University Medical Center found that people who are sedentary for more than 13 hours a day are twice as likely to develop serious health problems as those who spend less time sitting.

And it gets worse. The University College London analyzed nearly 85,000 workers and discovered that people who work more than 55 hours per week are 40% more likely to develop heart disease within 10 years than employees who work 40 hours per week or less.

Mental Health

Regularly taking work home at night affects your mind as well as your body. In fact, research shows that people who consistently work more than 11 hours each day have twice the chance of developing major depression compared to their 8-hour-a-day cohorts. One of the major reasons for this is that working long hours makes it difficult to maintain close relationships, which in turn can trigger depression.

Career Opportunities

Toiling for extended periods may seem like a path to success in commercial real estate, but often the exact opposite occurs, and job performance suffers. Believe it or not, increasing work effort with overtime or intensity doesn’t predict a positive outcome. Data analyzed from nearly 52,000 employees found that extra work effort can actually reduce career well-being and positive career-related outcomes.

7 Ways to Keep Work from Invading Your Private Life

It might seem like an impossible struggle to keep happiness, physical and mental health, and productivity in balance. But it’s not as difficult as you might think.

Here are 7 ways to maintain a winning work-life balance for commercial real estate professionals:

  1. Create a barrier between work and home by working out, running an errand, meditating, or going for a walk. Activity changes like these help switch your body and your mind from work to personal life and vice-versa.
  2. Eating breakfast fuels your body and helps keep you dynamic and productive until lunchtime. Try not to check your emails or cell phone until after breakfast to give your mind a chance to transition from home to the office.
  3. Prioritize by listing 3-5 important tasks you want to accomplish each day. Setting priorities helps you get more done within the normal working day and also leaves some flex time for last-minute client meetings or surging on a deal you’re working on.
  4. Use lunchtime to refuel and reset your task list for the rest of the day. If you’re meeting a client for lunch, use the time while you’re driving back to the office to mentally check in and see how your day is going.
  5. Learning to say no is another great way to keep your work hours under control. Let’s face it, not all prospective clients are created equal and a certain percentage will always be time suckers: they’ll demand countless hours from you and, despite your best persuasive people skills, will never do business with you or your firm. It’s okay to say no to these people. When you do, you’ll have extra work hours available for the clients who will make you money.
  6. Limit talking shop when you’re at home. Yes, it’s okay to blow off a little steam or commiserate with your friends or your partner, but if you spend too much time reliving the workday when you’re at home it’s no different from being back in the office.
  7. Plan things to look forward to when you’re at home. You have a schedule for your workday, so why not have one for your personal life? When you plan your personal time ahead it’s much easier for your mind to transition from the office. This also helps to keep you from thinking about tomorrow’s listing presentation while you should be focused on your personal life.

Remember that Work Isn’t Your Entire Life

Although it might seem counterintuitive, not burning the midnight oil, and keeping work away from your personal life will increase your performance at work and at home. You’ll find yourself being healthier both physically and mentally, doing more deals, and climbing the career ladder much quicker than you thought possible.


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