The office can be so distracting and the worst place to get anything done. We need to get good at being productive in the office instead of just being ‘busy’.
The following 18 tips will get you on your way to great in-office efficiency!
#1 – Create a buffer zone.
Find a coffee shop or somewhere to get yourself mentally ready for the day. Like a buffer between home and work. A great place to write your list too.
#2 – Write everything down.
Memorise nothing and write everything down. Keeping things in your head causes brain clutter and is a source of stress. Instead, write everything down into one source like a notebook, or quick entry app. I prefer using GQueues as my app for this role.
#3 – Write a to-do list.
You’d never chop down a tree without sharpening your axe first, so never start your day without a list of what you must get done for the day. Find what you need to do today from your core list and put it into your daily tasks (app or notebook).
#4 – Prioritise your tasks.
Number your tasks in the order that you plan to do them.
#5 – Group your tasks.
Batch your tasks on your list into 4 groups. Must-do phone calls and emails, high priority and low priority tasks.
#6 – Have block-out time.
You can do your tasks three times faster and more efficiently when you’re free of interruptions. Block out time is interruption free and it’s up to you to make it happen. In other words, being interrupted regularly slows you down by up to three times!
#7 – Put up a ‘Red Flag’.
This just means that you’ve let everyone know you’re in ‘time-out’. It needs to be something that has been clearly identified to your team so that they recognise its significance. It could be a red flag, a sign on your chair and some people even wear headphones. Do whatever will work for you!
#8 – Focus on the task and bring it to 100% completion before moving on.
Interruptions will cause you to slow down or break your train of thought resulting in errors and mistakes. Focus on the task and bring it to 100% completion before moving to the next task, or taking a break.
#9 – Focus brings accuracy.
Really clear your mind of everything else, except the task before you and focus on it 100%. This increases your accuracy and thoroughness, ensuring that you get the task done right the first time.
#10 – Avoid double handing.
Learn to hate mistakes or missing something that causes you to have to handle the task more than once. Understand that if it comes back, it’ll be three times harder in a reactive mode (with added stress and pressure) than it is now in proactive mode.
#11 – Discover and utilise your most productive times.
Are you more productive in the morning or in the afternoon? That’s when you will tackle your tasks the best, with a clear head and with the energy required.
#12 – Batch your tasks.
When you have several tasks that are similar (such as making calls), if you batch them to do all in the same (uninterrupted) time block, you will find that you can complete them up to three times faster.
#13 – Batch tasks within tasks.
You can even batch tasks within tasks. For example with repairs – get all your work orders entered in one batch, allocate them to tradespeople all in one batch, let your tenants know by SMS in one batch. You’ll get even better speed!
#14 – When you’re at work – work!
Property management can really drag your time into after-hours, so get better at being efficient with your time during the day and really focus on just working. The temptation to take a mental break and check Facebook or personal emails will actually add to the time drain and therefore to the stress levels. Aim to leave on time every day.
#15 – Resist too much office ‘chit-chat’.
Let’s face it, any group of two or more people working together can result in social chit-chatting – even if it is work related. Talk personal stuff by all means, but keep chit-chat down to an absolute minimum, with the focus being your workload. Otherwise either the work doesn’t get done, or it overflows into after-hours.
#16 – Leave keys at reception for tradespeople.
Political correctness aside for a moment, we have to admit that most property managers are women and most tradespeople are men – and tradespeople like to chat. Avoid getting caught up in a discussion that doesn’t need to happen. One way to do this effectively is to leave keys at reception for your tradespeople so that you don’t need to see them and get caught up.
#17 – Turn a break into a reward.
Have a break by all means, but do it after a solid session of getting tasks done. Perhaps after a solid two hours, then get up and have a coffee or tea. I promise you it will taste all the sweeter when it’s done as a reward.
#18 – Got a messy final inspection with lots of work needed?
Ensure you give your cleaner, handyman and gardener all the items they need to repair/clean and amend but avoid writing/typing detailed lists from your outgoing inspection report.
Instead, ensure that your report is detailed with comments next to the items of importance and then photocopy it – highlighting yellow items for the cleaner, green for the gardener and so on. Then, all you need to do is to give the photocopy of the report to the tradesperson with a work order. This saved me a ton of time for sure!