Feature article

9 top wellness tips from successful agents and coaches

Part two of a two-part series, helping you to increase your personal and professional wellbeing.

If you’ve got a good supply of listings, you’re probably busier than you’ve ever been in your life and there’s no sign of this abating. 

“To be honest my wife and I haven’t had a day off for over six weeks, every single day we’ve been working,” says Barfoot & Thompson Ponsonby agent, Carl Madsen

Getting a balance is hard at the moment. It’s very consuming when you’ve got the responsibility of someone’s property, he says. 

Fellow Barfoot’s agent, Wendy Sadd says she watched a movie with her daughter last Saturday. “This is the first time I’ve relaxed in months,” she told her. Wendy tries to switch off at times but finds if she turns off the phone for a while, when she comes back to it, she has 10 missed calls to return.

1. It’s vital to recharge 

Top Bayleys agent, Blair Haddow, is making sure he’s looking after his health even if this is the busiest of times. 

He sees a personal trainer four times a week at 5.30 am, and goes cycling on the other days. He gets a massage about once a fortnight, sees his chiropractor once a month, and he plans holidays, usually taking a block of time off in the winter and then from mid-December until the end of January. 

“It’s really important to recharge,” he says. Normally in July he’ll go to Europe for six weeks, this year he’ll probably go to Queenstown for skiing instead. As for the daily routines, he has a cut-off time in the evening when he stops answering the phone if it isn’t a number he knows.

2. Start with doing small things 

When you get really busy, says Auckland health coach, Kent Johns, things fall by the wayside. 

Exercise goes, then sleep, then you’re thinking: “What happened, I was healthy a couple of weeks ago,” he says. 

Kent suggests doing one little thing every day – whether it’s drinking more water, making sure you have a glass of water with each meal, and/or drinking less alcohol. Try to build up your alcohol-free days, he suggests.

3. Putting yourself first 

If you’re talking about going six weeks without a day off then you’re at the point where you need to be managing stress, says Kent, who works with a number of real estate agents. 

One agent he was helping told him that she was getting called 8 -10 times a day by the vendor. 

Some sellers have unrealistic expectations, he says. Try to form the habit of putting yourself first, he adds. 

A message stating, “I won’t get back to you tonight, I’ll get back to you tomorrow morning,” is perfectly acceptable, he says. 

“Your client’s time is always more important than yours. Everyone’s time is more important. It’s not about finding time, it’s about making the time mindfully and consciously,” he says. What that does is increase your productivity,” he says. 

Create windows of time, when it comes to responding to emails or phone calls, he suggests. If you sit down with a plan to do emails from 7.30 pm to 8.30 pm, you’ll know there’s an end to the task, for instance.

4. Go to your happy place 

For some, a walk on the beach is something that will add great value to your day and how you handle stress, for others it might be going to a yoga class. 

“Find your happy place and spend as much time there as you can. I live near a beach and always go out of my way to go past it,” says Kent.

Harcourts agent, Jane Park, does yoga and finds its focus on breathing is very helpful. 

“It takes my mind off the job. It helps create space to come up with solutions,” she says 

Walking the dog every night also helps her stay sane and manage the stress of her business. 

For Harcourts agent Bronwyn Nicholls, cycling does the trick. She’s training for the Otago Cycle Trail and goes out on her bike along the bike paths next to the motorway from Mt Albert out to Te Atatu. 

Busy Ray White Royal Oak agent, James Burry, says having other interests is important. He does boxing, and likes eating out with his partner, trying new cuisines from around the world. 

Barfoot’s Carl Madsen and his wife and business partner, Rosanne, enjoy taking their old yacht out from Westhaven to Motuihe Island at the end of the day, staying the night, and returning at 5 am the next morning. They’ll do that again when things settle down, he says. 

For some, your happy place can still be work-related but at a different level. Wendy Sadd, says in normal times, she enjoys going to the big AREC real estate conference in Australia, which helps her reset. 

“It’s a two day conference on the Gold Coast, with a whole lot of amazing speakers, I come back filled with new ideas,” says Wendy.

5. Schedule time for yourself 

No matter how busy you are, it’s a great idea to schedule or block out time for yourself. “You know when you’re productive. If you know you’ll be busy in the morning, block out half an hour in the afternoon. Try to slow everything down,” says Kent. 

“With our industry there’s so much burn out and so much pressure, you’re chasing your tail around. As with any high pressure job, in the same way that you structure work you have to structure time off,” says Ray White’s James Burry. 

UP agent, Lisa Pringle says she books appointments with herself. She’ll say, “I’m booked out between 4 and 5,” and she’ll go shopping or walking, just taking some time for her. 

Another tip from Kent, if you arrive five minutes early for a meeting, instead of scrolling through your phone, think about what you’re thankful for, or park up somewhere and gaze out at trees or the sea. “It slows everything down, and means you are present in the moment instead of being anxious.” he says.

6. Time for a business partner to share the load 

If you really are so busy, you’re working seven days a week, perhaps this a time to think about taking on an assistant or pairing up with a business partner. 

Kent is helping a manager who’s hiring an assistant at the moment and he anticipates it will save him about 10 to 15 hours a week. Imagine gaining back 15 hours of your week. 

UP agent, Hayley Kirk-Smith and business partner Roberta Stewart manage to share the load. Both have families to juggle with their jobs. “We support each other so we can be at events,” says Hayley. They try to secure a day off each week, if possible. 

Hayley says she will ring-fence a holiday and stay firm. This Easter was a “no-go-zone,” she says.

7. Make sure you change gears at end of the day 

Real estate is an occupation that can turn hardworking types into workaholics, says Angela Little, real estate coach at Real Star Training and a veteran agent. 

She suggests trying to take Saturdays off and carving out a two hour block for later in the day for unforeseeable interruptions and appointments. 

Have a strategy and routine for changing gears, she says. Shower when you get home and get changed. And don’t leave your computer and your papers on the kitchen table. 

“Decide what’s important and realise it now. Not once your health is gone and it’s too late," she says.

8. The importance of good eating 

One Life coach Helen Duyvestyn, a registered nurse with qualifications in mental health and health science, stresses the importance of a nutritious diet. 

“Make sure that you’re eating enough, it can cause stress in the body when you’re not having enough calories, “ she says. 

Have at least one nutritional healthy meal a day, ideally, it would be three, but one meal is better than nothing. Your body and brain need this to function well, says Helen. 

Home meal services like My Food Bag, Hello Fresh and others will help with this.

9. Keep up with friends 

Often your social life will suffer when you’re busy with work but catching up with friends is extremely valuable, says Helen. You don’t have to cook, just keep it simple, meet for a picnic or a coffee but see your friends and maintain social relationships. Your friends will tell you when you’re overdoing things. 

And a final tip from Hayley – remember to celebrate the successes. Friends can help with that.