How often do you find yourself saying, “I just don’t have enough hours in the day?” In this day and age, 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 with little to no time for ourselves.
As technology advances, and we are constantly plugged in, our attention span continues to be reduced. Research shows that adults now have an average attention span of about eight seconds. Yes, you read that correctly, eight seconds!
Our lives are stressful, busy, and full of distractions. In fact, just reading this article can seem overwhelming for some. If you want to make time for what is important and create a space for your own personal enjoyment, these quick tips will help you get out of your own way and get things done!
- 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 am never going to get this done on time,” or “This is impossible!”, then you are right; and you are telling the world that you are not capable. 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. The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.”
- 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 you should 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 was a success!
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “This is property management. At 8:00 AM, I have a plan and at 8:01 AM my plan implodes and I am at the mercy of staff, residents, and upper management.” HOG WASH! This just means that your plan was incomplete. 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, the budget, and you as possible. Celebrate your amazing achievement at the day’s end and consider yourself a success!
- Eliminate Distractions
The distractions we encounter on a daily basis are endless. In fact, as I sit in my office writing this article, I’m 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. It is easy to procrastinate when distractions are so readily available.
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 predetermined amount of time. Let calls go to voicemail or ask a coworker to take a message until you complete the task at hand. Check emails at specific times of the day and avoid attempting to multitask. Productivity researcher and author, Chris Bailey points out that, “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 keep 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!
- 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. Stop being a work hog! Share the wealth and reap the rewards.
- 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 co-workers or return calls? Of course not, you want a reputation of being productive, responsive, and available, AKA promotable!
We have already determined that we fill our life’s “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 are telling us we are full. Do not 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% to everything, all at once. When you are trying to do everything all at once, nothing is getting 100% of you.” It is painfully true and difficult to admit that you are not giving 100%, 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 and productive, and get things done. Then be like Nike and “Just Do It!”
Editor’s Note: This article was previously printed in Rent & Retain.
With over two decades of multifamily experience, Katie Rigsby is a Property Management consultant and keynote speaker who works with property management professionals to help improve their customer services skills, sales techniques, marketing strategies, productivity, leadership competences and Fair Housing compliance. If you would like more information on how Katie can help you and your team, please visit her website at www.katierigsby.com.