It’s a perennial topic in the profession: Your business is hot and you’re closing deals, but at the price of insanely long hours that sap your full productivity and creativity. It’s the kind of pattern very few can keep up for long before it leads to costly mistakes in business or, just as bad, disruptions to your home life and your network of family and friends. Late nights lead to poor sleep, which leads to dysfunctional mornings in a pattern that can quickly become a vicious cycle.

How do you break the chain? We’ve assembled three of the most important tips for avoiding burnout as a real-estate professional.

1. Control Your Time and Set Boundaries with Clients

Your clients can’t know your schedule and parameters instinctively. If you’re always available, they’ll come to expect that and act accordingly. The result can be urgent calls as you’re sitting down to dinner or trying to get some sleep.

Train your clients to understand the parameters your operating hours. Put messages on your voicemail and email that tell your clients what specific times you’re available and when you’ll get back to them if they call after a certain time. If you don’t want to commit to this for an entire week, start with a couple of days when you don’t allow work to interfere with blocking time for your family, friends and general relaxation. Schedule days off and schedule relaxing “me” time every day, even if it’s just an hour in the morning for breakfast and coffee.

2. Systematize Your Business for Working Smarter, Not Harder

“Work smarter, not harder” is a cliche phrase for a good reason. Trying to maintain laser focus for eight, 10 or 12 hours at a time, much less around the clock, is an exercise in diminishing returns.

Instead, schedule 60-minute blocks of focused activity interspersed with exercise, walks or just breaks to go outside. Don’t manually prospect when you can leverage websites, email marketing, real estate CRM systems, hotlines and time management software to make your time more efficient and productive. Working smart and systematically can shave hours off your workday, provided you’re also following Tip #1.

3. Take Control of Your Email, Contact and Information Devices

Smartphones, tablets, email and laptops are all designed to make you more efficient, and they achieve their mission on a daily basis. They can also be a constant source of stress even when they’re not switched on, and it’s no surprise that many an agent feels a daily urge to throw them all in the nearest dumpster (which if nothing else would be irresponsible recycling).

The key to making these devices work for you instead of against you is to simplify. Only turn your cell phone on when you’re directly available and prepared to take calls. Prioritize emails so you don’t give the impression that you’re constantly sitting at your computer, ready to reply instantly to any missive. Set boundaries with technology in the same way you set boundaries with your schedule.

These are three of the most important tips for avoiding burnout. For more information on how to increase your efficiency, decrease your stress level and help your business perform at its best, consult other posts our Commission Express’ blog. As real estate professionals with decades of experience in helping our colleagues succeed, we’re here to help.