As a property manager, you balance so many different tasks on a daily basis. One minute you’re meeting with prospective tenants and the next you’re hanging decorations for a community holiday party.
Managing our time effectively is a skill that takes practice. Time Management Tips Part I starts you on the path toward more efficient workdays. Here are some more bonus tips.
Focusing on one task at a time is the most efficient way to get things done. From time to time, all of us are tempted to do several tasks at once, thinking we’ll finish everything we need to do faster. What ends up happening, though, is the quality of our work suffers and we can actually end up taking longer to finish than if we had completed one task at a time.
According to Psychology Today, switching your focus from one task to another is never a smooth or fast transition. In fact, even though you may be quick about picking up a new task, your mind will experience several minutes of lag time before it fully engages in what’s in front of you, especially when completing complex tasks.
As a property manager with several things requiring your attention at once, make “single-tasking” your rule as much as possible to save yourself time in the long run. For example, give appointments with residents and prospects your full attention. Let phone calls go to voicemail or ask a staff member to cover for you.
One way to achieve focus is to tackle similar tasks during a set block of time. For example, try to make all your phone calls one right after another. Same with sending and answering emails. If possible, schedule appointments with prospective tenants back to back. Reserve an afternoon block for planning your next resident event. Save cleaning and straightening of the management office for the last half-hour of the day.
Be aware of the days when completing similar tasks one right after another feels tiresome and can actually stop productivity in its tracks. When this happens, allow yourself to take breaks that will refresh you for the rest of your work day, as described in Time Management Tips, Part I.
You can also try limiting your back-to-back productivity to shorter chunks of time. For example instead of devoting four hours to event planning, limit it to one hour. Set a timer and when the alarm sounds, stand up and stretch, refill your glass of water, and transition to another task. Repeat as necessary. Just make sure you’re truly focusing on one task before tackling another.
Have you ever experienced being in “the Zone” or a “flow state”? Psychology Today defines “flow state” as an “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.” Many writers, athletes, musicians, and even surgeons report that getting into a flow state is a regular part of their performance and requires becoming “so laser-focused that everything else falls away.”
But what about property managers? How can they get into this flow state and create effective vacancy listings or compose an annual report? This goes back to creating a weekly calendar, tip #1 in Part I. Pencil in one or several blocks of uninterrupted time, perhaps an hour or two first thing in the morning or during an afternoon lull, and list out the tasks that are most conducive for getting into a flow state. Inform your staff about this block of time and trust them to handle phone calls and visits from residents.
Technology offers many time-saving tools, including to-do list apps, calendars, and banking options. But we’ve all experienced technology’s potential for distracting us. This happens most often with social media activity on our personal accounts.
A good method for preventing personal uses of technology from stealing productivity away from the work day is to establish specific times for personal use. Log out of all personal accounts during your work hours and interact with them only during lunch or breaks. If possible, use different devices for work and personal use, so that you can respond to your apartment community’s social media notifications and strategize new material to post on your different platforms, while not being tempted to log into your own personal accounts.
Remember that as a property manager, you are likely to receive unexpected visitors or need to respond to emergencies every day. These can pull you off the flow state or even tempt you to multitask. When interruptions break your train of thought, don’t worry that you aren’t being productive. Instead, embrace the faster pace of your work day and think of it as an exciting way to keep your apartment community in tip-top shape.
Have you discovered new ways to manage your time? Share your ideas in the comments below! Before you go, check out our post on Improving Customer Service For A Rental Community!