Managing communities and their residents is not for the faint of heart. Depending on the location and the number of properties you’re managing it can sometimes feel like you’ll never get ahead. There is always an emergency or a last-second request and working in an office environment adds many distractions and interruptions. Meetings, office celebrations, chit chat with coworkers and phones that ring non-stop are just a few of the daily time wasters people encounter. Practicing some self-control when participating in nonwork-related activities and implementing time blocking are two very effective ways I’ve used to stay focused and meet deadlines.
The Power of Self-Control
Self-control is a valuable tool. Employees often possess much more control over how they spend their time at work without realizing it. Catching up in the kitchen, detouring on the way back from the facilities, and coworkers coming into your cube or office are all distractions that rob you of valuable production time. Maintaining relationships with coworkers and having breaks are both important, however, it’s also important not to allow these things halt our productivity.
I used to be scatterbrained in the mornings. It would take until almost 9:30 to get settled. I’d rush up the stairs, lollygag through reception, chit chat by the Keurig and answer one or two phone calls that were passed through from the receptionist before I even turned on my computer. That set the tone for the rest of my day, which was rushed, behind the eight ball and totally stressed out.
I dissected my days and how I was spending my time; then it dawned on me – I was wasting it. So, I made a commitment to value my own time and take back control of it!
Every morning I arrived to work at 8:45, 15 minutes prior to my shift. It wasn’t easy at first, but I made it happen. Some people may cringe at the thought of getting to work earlier than required, however, I found that using that extra 15 minutes to get settled in saved me a tremendous amount of time and stress throughout the day. It allowed me to get upstairs, hang up my coat, grab a coffee and say hello to everyone. By getting these things out of the way and making it quick I was able to retain the personal connections to my coworkers and employees and get my coffee without making it an all-day event. It wasn’t long before everyone became accustomed to my new habit. I took control of my own time and set the tone with my colleagues for how I would be using it. I wasn’t rude, nor did I brush people off but forming this habit increased my productivity immensely. When the clock struck 9:00 am I was already in my seat, logged into my computer and sipping coffee. Most importantly I was focused and ready to work.
The Best Time Management Method: Time Blocking
On the heels of this very fruitful discovery, I found another time management method I love; time blocking. It’s quickly taken its place as my favorite method for time management and I use it in my personal life as well. Time blocking is exactly as it sounds, scheduling everything you do in a day (including breaks and lunch) and sticking to that schedule.
I always scheduled 9-9:30 to check voicemails and emails; I respond to messages and emails that can be answered immediately and flag those that require research. I already had a habit of recording deadlines for projects and it was easy to block off half an hour for lunch and a ten-minute coffee break at the mid-afternoon lull. After that, it is was just dedicating the remaining time to specific projects.
It is perfectly acceptable to put your phone on do not disturb for an hour and request that your coworkers send an email instead of frequently popping into your cubicle or office. The hardest part is sticking to this schedule. But, with some dedication and persistence, anyone can implement these practices. Adopting these two time management techniques will significantly relieve a lot of the overwhelming stress that sometimes accompanies a property management career.