It is most certainly the crazy times we are living in. I keep waiting for this COVID thing to be over, I mean seriously how long does a Pandemic last for! It is becoming most inconvenient now, and I’m most definitely ready for life as we knew it to return. Covid-19 has certainly changed the world we are living in, personally and professionally. There was a slight reprieve mid-year from the craziness and then it went to a whole new level yet again. Victoria hardest hit of course, although New South Wales has faced its fair share of challenges too with an array of community restrictions.
Personally, for me, there have certainly been some challenges. Not being able to see my mother in her nursing home for extended periods was tough I’m not going to lie. Now for the last seven weeks, I’ve been stuck in Sydney with my eldest boy, whilst my other three are at home in Queensland along with my eight-month-old puppy! Literally, as I was driving down to see him for a week or two they shut the borders. I can go back but I would have to do two week’s Government quarantine at a hotel.
My son has a few more weeks here though, so I’ll stick it out with him. He is also doing it tough, whilst most 18 years old should be out enjoying pub and club life on weekends’, he’s yet to step foot in one. He turned 18 in June this year, but combined with the Covid-19 community restrictions, he is also part of the NRL players bubble. He can grab a take-away coffee, go for a walk and that’s about it. He has been housebound since June, only able to go to and from training. In what should be a huge and exciting year, well it still has been in many other respects, I mean he has a job that many young men his age could only dream of, but it has still posed challenges. He’s experienced a real battle of willpower overcoming homesickness, and like so many others, Covid-19 has tested his resilience, confidence, and fortitude in so many unprecedented ways. Unless you are personally going through it though, none of us will ever understand the challenges someone else is facing. This is not something I have been able to offer life advice on either, no one in our lifetime has faced or experienced a pandemic before.
On a more positive note, thank goodness Victoria is easing restrictions for real estate, but I guess that is fraught with fear for many of you. I suspect you are facing extensive challenges with workloads, conflict, a range of existing and new disputes and I can imagine stress and chaos are certain to reign. Many of you already on the cusp of burnout after a long period of homeschooling and locked inside with partners who are also working from home. Cabin fever definitely sets in after a while. I really want to dedicate this blog to all the property managers going back to normality after an already extended challenging period. This is an excerpt from my A-Z Guide to Property Management, but it is so relevant to what many property managers are likely to be facing right now. I hope it helps give you some direction and light at the end of what has been a very dark tunnel.
EXPERTS FROM A-Z GUIDE TO PROPERTY MANAGEMENT – LOOKING AFTER U (YOU)
Yes, you! You are important and if you aren’t looking after you, then no one benefits. You need to take responsibility for yourself. If you don’t look after yourself, your work suffers, your partner and family suffer, but most importantly, you suffer. Being overwhelmingly stressed is not a good place for anyone to be in, and the long-term health effects of living like this are only detrimental to you. So, look after you. Work out what you need at work, home, and in life to take care of you.
Stress is part of the reason there is such a high turnover of property managers. One year I went through six! Creating a stress-free work environment has been a huge challenge since commencing in this industry and it has been a personal struggle for myself as a property manager, business owner, and mother. I was one of the unlucky ones where my stress levels got so bad I ended up in the hospital with abnormal heart rhythm. While businesses can offer a supportive work environment, if individuals don’t take responsibility for their own stress management it will lead them to burn out. Your stress can be unintentionally projected onto others in your workplace, and onto your family and friends. You no longer can tolerate the kids fighting, your husband gets on your nerves, you trigger at the slightest increase in stress at home and snap, you yell, you scream, you cry, ultimately you feel terrible. That is no way to live.
Talk to your boss to explain what isn’t working, offer up some suggestions on how to improve it and if they don’t listen or work to support your concerns, maybe it is time to find a new job. Do the same at home. If you are still doing the bulk the housework and both parties are working full time, it is time to speak up and adjust the balance or seek out a cleaner or assistance from family members. You don’t need to be solely responsible for everything running perfectly, yet we seem to think we do.
The next thing you need to address is how you are nourishing yourself. Are you eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising, or spending time on something like a hobby you love? Getting up an extra hour earlier, putting the kids to bed 30 minutes earlier, stepping out of your comfort zone, and joining a yoga class with no one you know in it – whatever you want to do there is always time, but it is up to you to make it. I put an hour aside every morning from 4.30-5.30am to write. It is something I’ve put off doing for years, but now I can’t think why I didn’t do this sooner. You are important, so stop putting
TOP TIPS TO AVOID BURN OUT AND LOOK AFTER YOU
• Speak with your employer openly and honestly if you aren’t coping. Try and suggest some solutions on how to make it work better for both of you. If you have no luck, it might be time to reluctantly look elsewhere.
• Seek out the balance with home life and get help from husband, partner, family, or friends to share the workload. Can you car-pool drop off and pick up with another family, or the afternoon sports run, is it time for a cleaner or someone to help with the ironing?
• Schedule some time every day. Make it non-negotiable time, nothing gets in the way of it. If you like exercising in the morning, that hour is yours, if you like to have your morning cuppa without interruption, make that happen. Whatever you need to do to make you feel good, relax, balanced, and ready for the day, make that your routine.
• Book in the time and it will happen. If you have weekly things you like or need to do for you, book them in your calendar. Go for that massage, get your nails done, or have that wine with a friend, don’t feel guilty, and certainly don’t let anyone else change it on you. This goes for work too, if you have set times to do your tasks, do them in that time, it helps keep you organized and on task.
• Make small steps and changes in the right direction. If you’ve put yourself last for a long time, it will take a while to focus back on your needs. So, start with small things and grow from there. There’s no need to feel miserable, overwhelmed, and stressed, you are in control of your own life.
Do a mind dump, get all your issues, conflicts, and disputes onto a piece of paper. Then set about prioritizing them, delegating them, or doing them. You will feel instantly lighter. I do this the minute I start feeling overwhelmed.
Block out some time to get stuff done. There’s nothing more annoying and frustrating than wanting to get through a tone of work and the phone keeps ringing or your inbox keeps pinging. Let your team know you have A LOT to get through and you need some quiet time to do this. Have someone take your calls or let them know you are unavailable unless it is an emergency, see if a team-mate can do some of your tasks and you swap them another day and return the favor.
Say No. If you already have too much on your plate and you are teetering on the edge of a nervous breakdown, don’t be afraid to say No. Don’t be a people pleaser you’ll only end up resentful.
Life is too short not to enjoy work, especially considering you spend eight hours a day working. Your family won’t be around forever, and they deserve to experience the best of you every day. It won’t always be utopia, and there will be some compromises along the way, but as long as you are putting you first, you are more likely to achieve work-life balance.