In property management we often find ourselves saying, “I don’t have enough hours in the day.” Today, everyone wants things done instantly and many times our personal expectations create undue stress. We fill every waking hour with some sort of activity, job, or assignment leaving little to no time for ourselves. As technology advances, we are constantly plugged-in and our attention span continues to diminish. In 2015, Time Magazine reported that adults now have an average attention span of 8 seconds. Eight seconds! Can you say Snapchat? Our lives are stressful, busy and full of distractions, in fact just reading this article can seem overwhelming for some. No worries! Make time for what is important and create space for your own personal enjoyment with these quick tips for getting out of your own way and getting things done.
1. Make it Mental
Your mind is a powerful thing. Author Jen Sincero said, “Your thoughts and beliefs dictate your reality…” If you are constantly saying, “I’m never going to get this done on time,” or you are using the “I” word (impossible) then you are right; you are telling the world that you are not capable. You must make a conscious decision to complete the task and declare it out loud. According to W.H. Murray, “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.”
2. Create a Strategy and Keep Track of Your Progress
Creating a strategy begins with identifying your goals and making a to-do list. Include a plan of action that provides a timeline with both soft and hard deadlines. For large projects, include small goals that allow you to see progress as you complete each task. Your strategy should include Must Do, Should Do and Could Do items and focus daily on tackling the Must Do’s first. Celebrating small accomplishments and progress is key to maintaining momentum and staying motivated. You won’t be able to complete everything on your list every day but if you pick three things each day that must be done and accomplish those items, it’s a success!
I know what you’re thinking, “This is property management. At 8:00 a.m., I have a plan and at 8:01 a.m. my plan implodes and I am at the mercy of staff, residents, and upper management.” HOG WASH! You must plan for the unexpected and when you get surprise visits, emergencies occur, and chaos ensues, take a breath and reassess. Today your plan is different. Today you are a crisis manager and your goal is to manage this crisis, person, situation, whatever, with professionalism and with as little effect on the staff, residents, budget, and you as possible. Celebrate your amazing achievement at day’s end and consider yourself a success!
3. Eliminate Distractions
The distractions we encounter on a daily basis are endless. In fact, as I sit in my office writing this article, I am getting text messages, calls, emails, and social media notifications to the point of exhaustion! So what do I do? I have to shut it off and disconnect. It’s easy to procrastinate when distractions are so readily available. So take note of the time of day that you work best and tackle the most important tasks during that time. Limit social media interaction to a pre-determined amount of time. Let calls go to voicemail or ask a coworker to take a message until you complete the task at hand. Establish specific times throughout the day to check and respond to emails and avoid being thrown off course by multitasking. Productivity researcher and author, Chris Bailey says, “Multitasking even makes you more prone to experiencing boredom, anxiety, and depression.”
But what about the distractions we create for ourselves? We allow fear of failure to distract us from getting started. Brian Tracy writes, “The antidote to fear is self-confidence.” Be confident in your abilities, knowledge, and ideas and put them to good use. We put things off because “it isn’t the right time” and then kill ourselves to get things accomplished. We distract ourselves with less important items and situations that can be handled by others because we are subconsciously, or consciously, avoiding our to do list. Do not allow distractions to get in your way. Shut ‘em down!
4. Recruit Assistance
Do not try to do everything yourself, it is not necessary. Assistance can come in many forms. It may just mean having an accountability partner to help keep you motivated and on track, or perhaps having someone take your calls for a few hours while you focus on an important task. But the most important form of assistance is delegation. Tasks can be delegated in whole or in part, once or forever. Mastering the art of delegation can be difficult, but rewarding not only for you but also for the individual who can learn a new task, take on a new role or be a part of a successful team. Don’t be a work hog! Share the wealth and reap the rewards!
5. Remain Realistic
In “Organize Tomorrow Today”, the authors note that “‘Busy’ isn’t what gets rewarded long-term in the marketplace. ‘Productive’ is.” Do you want to be known as the individual who is overwhelmed or always too busy to take on new projects, assist coworkers or return calls? Of course not! You want a reputation of being productive, responsive, and available. (a.k.a promotable!)
We have already determined that we fill our life plates like a customer at an all-you-can-eat buffet: piling it on and then going back for seconds and sometimes thirds even though our body, mind and, at times, family is telling us we are full. Don’t punish yourself by gorging on activities, projects, and work. Learn when and how to say no when necessary, create achievable goals, communicate your needs and be honest with yourself and with others. Someone once told me, “You can’t give 100 percent to everything, all at once. When you are trying to do everything all at once, nothing is getting 100 percent of you.” It is painfully true and difficult to admit that you aren’t giving 100 percent especially when you really want to. But for everyone’s sake be picky, be realistic, and be honest.
Ultimately, YOU are the defining factor in what you do or do not accomplish. Jen Sincero sums it up nicely with, “I think, therefore, I can create awesomeness. Or horrendousness.” Get out of your own way, choose to be awesome, productive and get things done. Nike says it best, “Just Do It!”