This article was posted on Monday, Jul 01, 2013

Buried under mountains of property management paperwork?  Do the projects seem to never end?  Imagine how good you would feel if every day you could start with a clean and organized desk?  Well dream no further!  By following the three powerful tips listed below, your dreams will become reality!

Setting Up Your System:

Start by ordering two 8 ½ x 11 “flat desk files”.  A flat desk file looks like an accordion file, except it lays flat on your desk and can be easily carried with you.  One desk file should be tabbed A-Z, the second one should be tabbed 1-31.  The A-Z desk file is perfect for hold the resumes of potential new hires, sorted by last name.  This A-Z desk file is also great for keeping employee or resident “working” files, at your fingertips.  The 1-31 desk file is ideal for organizing upcoming meetings or projects, by appropriate dates.  Also, this tool is perfect for managing any projects you have delegated to be done by others.  For instance, if you have a big project due on the 18th and have assigned others to complete certain portions of the project by the 12th, then file your notes to the 12th and confirm on the 12th  the work has been done.  Then, re-file this project for completion on the 16th  so you can do any last minute changes, before the 18th.

Tip From The Coach:  Remember, any organization system is only as good as you make it.  It generally takes 21 days to incorporate a new idea into your current system.  Stick with it…having a system for your paperwork is a real joy!

Using the Four D’s:

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The four D’s are DO IT, DELEGATE IT, DECIDE OR DUMP IT.  These are your only four choices when handling any kind of paperwork.  “Do It’ means exactly that…do it now and do not handle any piece of paperwork a second time.  This means, read the information you’ve been sent and act on it.  “Delegate It” requires you to ask the question…“who can help me complete this project or task so I can stay focused on my responsibilities?”  Once you have delegated a project to someone else, then use your desk file (1-31) to store your notes until the project is completed.  “Decide” means the paperwork you have been sent will require your quiet and uninterrupted attention, like monthly financial reports or annual employee reviews.  Put this type of work into a separate folder labeled “To Decide” and find a few quiet minutes early the next morning before your work day begins, and complete this project or task.  “Dump it” means exactly that…dump as much as possible in the trash can, the first time you handle any paperwork.  It’s that simple.

Tip From The Coach:  In addition to the four D’s, schedule an appointment with yourself twice a year when business is the slowest, to review all the paperwork you have filed in your office.  Take the time to “dump” everything you no longer need.  Each time you do this, it will further clarify for you which paperwork is important to your property management company to save and which paperwork can be easily discarded.

Scheduling Your Day:  Schedule your day using some form of computer software/paper calendar or appointment book.  Try to schedule important meetings early in the week so others can work on the assignments you have given them.  Try and schedule all interviews early in the morning when you are the most rested and the least likely to be interrupted.  By having a busy morning, you then have the freedom to plan the rest of your day more loosely.  Use your calendar or appointment book to schedule both professional and personal activities as it is helpful to have everything in one place.  Lastly, schedule an appointment with yourself for any projects you are working on.  This is a simple way to manage your workload and a powerful way to have your “to do” list LIVE in your week’s calendar.

Tip From The Coach:  Now, once you have followed the tips above, schedule the things most important to you.  Start by planning the time you are going to spend with your family, the time you are going to spend with those you love, and yes—time for yourself to relax and enjoy your life.  Please know that having a rich and rewarding life starts with simplicity.

Ernest F. Oriente, a business coach since 1995, the author of SmartMatch Alliances and the founder of PowerHour has a passion for coaching his clients on executive leadership, hiring and motivating property management SuperStars.  He provides private and group coaching for property management companies around North America, investment banking services and executive recruiting services.  To subscribe to his FREE property management newsletter go to,  call 435-615-8486 or  E-mail [email protected].

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