Active property managers may sometimes wonder where all their time goes and how to exercise better time management.
After all, they are seemingly dealing with a never ending flow of resident requests – each of the utmost urgency and importance to the requester – attracting, meeting and investigating potential new residents, coordinating move-ins and outs (not to mention evictions), facilitating repairs with third party vendors, managing office operations and finances, and the list seemingly goes on and on.
As there never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done – or to please everyone – time management needs to be a discipline set of skills that are recognized and conquered by all property managers if they are going to be successful – or last long term in the business.
As such, below are 6 time management skills every property manager (PM) must master. To learn more about how technology can improve time management, read our article on innovative property management ideas.
1. Prioritizes well: Despite what residents or vendors convey, not every issue or repair is urgent. As such, skilled PMs are able to quickly assess the urgency compared to other tasks, and assign it in its proper order. They also start each day with a to-do list of three top “must do” items, and don’t get distracted from completing them by inevitable other distractions or incremental requests – unless the new request is a true emergency itself. Once these top 3 priorities are completed, skilled PMs plan to add 3 more and get to them ASAP.
2. Maximizes meetings: Meetings can be a huge time drain for work professionals of all types, but especially for a property manager, as they’re interacting with people constantly who may or may not share their sense of urgency. As such, effective PMs schedule meetings early in the day, have a set agenda or desired outcome in mind, and conduct the meeting in an organized manner to finish ASAP with little distractions or socializing. With meetings completed in the morning, disruptions should be minimized for the rest of the day and afternoons can be dedicated to closing deals, addressing resident issues, contacting vendors or dealing with the rest of your list (i.e. the top 3 must do items).
3. Creates efficiencies: Skillful PMs are able to recognize opportunities for efficiency, and take advantage of them to save time and money down the road. For example, if several residents and property owners are experiencing the same problem, such as a leaky faucet, electrical short or faulty appliance, the PM can bring in the appropriate vendors to solve multiple, similar problems in one swift process. In addition, such PMs address and remedy smaller problems (e.g. water leakage) quickly before they become larger ones – or a crisis – later.
4. Communicates effectively: Effective PMs are excellent communicators, and are adept at setting expectations and ensuring residents, vendors and their fellow team members are clear on expected jobs, timelines and outcomes. In fact, skillful PMs share their top 3 priority items with the rest of their team, to ensure everyone understands what needs to be done first, and not waste effort on lower priority items that can wait.
5. Delegates skillfully: While PMs may feel nothing gets done right unless they do it themselves, this outlook will not scale to their long to-do lists, and they risk not completing everything – or burning out trying. As such, experienced PMs are experts at recognizing their team’s strengths and weaknesses, and assigning tasks that maximize team productivity. They recognize, for example, that they themselves and their team members are not parcel carriers, and do not subject themselves to tasks that are not a part of their PM charter.
6. Self-measures: Skilled PMs are able to conduct check points on their team’s – and their own – progress on actions and priorities. They can honestly gauge whether they are meeting resident demands, or are falling behind on them. If PMs fall behind on their priorities, they set and communicate realistic new expectations, improve efficiency, bring in additional resources if necessary or remedy the situation by whatever means necessary.
Property management may appear to sometimes be an endless (thankless?) job, but for those PMs who master these essential time management skills, the job can be an enjoyable one in which they are completing their tasks, maximizing the talents of their team members and, most importantly, pleasing their residents.
At least for the moment any way.
Want to know another great way for property managers to save time? Multifamily parcel lockers will simplify the entire package management process. Learn more today!