Time Management Techniques for Landlords
Renters Warehouse Blog
“Either you run the day or the day runs you.” – Jim Rohn
For landlords, it always seems there are never enough hours in the day.
There’s always something that needs to be done, and some task hanging over your head. Between emergency phone calls and maintenance at the property, you can be left with plenty of stress, but not a lot of downtime.
While managing properties is a lot of work, it doesn’t have to be an all-consuming process. In fact, it doesn’t have to be stressful at all. These days, there are plenty of tools and services available that can help you to claim back at least a few hours in your day. A combination of time management techniques and the ability to outsource can not only give you a few precious minutes back in your day, it can also help you to achieve even more.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at some time management tips for landlords along with time-saving strategies that you can start employing today. See what you can do to set yourself up for success as a landlord –without feeling overwhelmed or losing your cool in the process.
Strategies for Time Management
First up, let’s look at some strategies for time management.
Identify Your Top Priorities
First things first, it’s important to identify your top priorities. How can you know which tasks you should be spending time on otherwise? Start by asking yourself what your big-picture goals are with rental investing. What made you decide to take this step in the first place? Were you looking for extra cash flow? A way to supplement your income? A way to retire early, or even step back from your day job? Whatever your goals are, ensuring that you keep them front and center will help to give you a filter that you can use to say no to certain tasks. The areas that are going to help you reach your big-picture goals are the ones that you’ll want to focus your attention on.
Next up, it’s time to start making lists. It might not seem like much, but taking the time to create a list can help you accomplish more. Writing out your tasks can help keep you on track. Once you’ve made a list, it’s important to prioritize your tasks in order of importance. You can use a tool like Evernote to create interactive lists or just keep things simple and stick with pen and paper.
Eat a Frog
Have you ever eaten a live frog? If not, you’ll want to start! Eating a frog is a phrase coined by Mark Twain that describes getting the most difficult task out of the way first thing in the morning. Doing this will help to make the rest of your day easier since the tasks will go more smoothly once you have the challenging one out of the way.
As you know, disorganization is a big timewaster. All of that time spent searching for copies of insurance policies, appliance warranties, or receipts and payment information for taxes can be time-consuming and downright stressful. If you find that you’re continually looking for files or documents, it’s time to put an efficient system into place. Many landlords find it helpful to keep documents for different properties in separate folders. That way, when you need to find a receipt, it’ll be a lot easier to locate. Once the year is finished, move the documents into an envelope marked with the year and stow it away.
Stay on Task
Sure, multitasking’s great, if those tasks are so basic that you can easily do two things at once. But if you have a number of tasks that require your full attention, then don’t attempt to multitask. Multitasking, in some cases, can actually slow you down and waste time. Instead, try to block out time to do just one job at a time.
Try Batching Your Tasks
Whenever possible, try to batch your tasks. Batching means completing tasks that are similar at the same time. For instance, you could return all of your phone calls at a certain time of day or reply to emails at two intervals during the day. Paying bills, arranging for maintenance at the rental, or doing work at the property can all be batched as well.
Break Bigger Tasks Down
If you have a big task looming, it can be helpful to break it down into smaller steps. Often, starting a task is the most difficult step, but once you get the ball rolling, you’ll be able to see progress and will be motivated to see it through to completion.
Try to Avoid Interruptions
Interruptions are a big timewaster. In fact, it can take an average of 23 minutes to recover from an interruption. For this reason, it’s a good idea to try to avoid unnecessary interruptions whenever possible. Try to have your phone calls go to voicemail and then return the calls all at once. Likewise, unless they’re important, disabling notifications on your phone can help with interruptions too, allowing you to stay focused and see your tasks through to the end.
Find a Good Time Management App
Another way to make the most of your day is with a helpful time management app.
Here are a few good ones that can help to keep you on track and working toward your big-picture goals.
A handy tool that’s used for making lists, taking notes, and capturing ideas, Evernote makes it easy to keep up with all of your projects.
How much time are you spending on different tasks throughout the day? Effective time management involves being clear on where your time is going. Toggle is a great tool for tracking your time and a good alternative to timesheets.
Rescue time is another good tool if you’re not sure where your time is going. It features reporting and distraction-blocking features as well to keep those time-wasting websites out of reach. (Too bad it doesn’t work for annoying co-workers as well!)
Based on the Pomodoro Technique, which involves taking brief breaks at regular intervals, this app is another handy tool that’s useful for saving time. Focus Keeper can help you to keep focused on important tasks while saving you from getting burned out.
Tips to Save Time: Streamlining Your Tasks
Now, let’s take a look at some time-saving tips for landlords. See how you can streamline your tasks and claim back more time in your day.
Start Running Your Business, Like a Business
First up, owning and operating rental properties is a lot like running a business. If you want to find success with it, that is. It’s important to take the time to set up systems and protocols to ensure that you have a smooth operation. It also means being clear on your objectives and establishing big-picture goals from the start.
- Implement systems and processes in place that help their business run smoothly
- Prioritize customer service and professionalism
- Are able to delegate tasks and outsource effectively
- Establish clear goals and business plans
- Have a good grasp of their finances
This approach will allow you to ensure that you’re running your rental investments profitably and efficiently –saving you from wasted time and effort.
Set Business Hours
Want to find a work-life balance? Then you need to be setting business hours. Being a landlord can be like having a full-time job, except instead of going home at 5:00 pm, you are on call around the clock –if you don’t set boundaries, that is. It’s important to make sure you set regular working hours for yourself to deal with rental-related tasks. It’s also a good idea to try to set aside a few hours a week for handling rental-related business –unless it’s something urgent, of course. Most rental activities, like scheduling maintenance, arranging for upgrades, or doing paperwork, can be done during these times.
Streamline Rent Collection
Try automating your rent payments. Gone are the days of collecting checks from your tenants. With bank transfers set to occur on a certain day of the month, or online rent processing, rent collection can be on time and easier.
Make Preventative Maintenance a Priority
While it might sound counterintuitive, performing preventative maintenance can save you both time and money in the long run. By taking care of maintenance issues before they become major issues, you can spend less time trying to put out emergency fires and focus on scheduling maintenance when it is convenient for you.
Outsource When Possible
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. There is no shame in asking for help. In fact, being able to outsource effectively can help not only to free up some time in your day but can also enable you to spend that time more effectively.
Here are just some of the areas you might consider outsourcing to help free up some space on your plate:
- Bookkeeping and Accounting
- General Maintenance and Repairs
- Property Management
- Advertising Vacancies
- Screening Tenants
If outsourcing or delegating isn’t your thing, you might consider taking advantage of online tools that are designed to help make your life easier, such as online bookkeeping software or online rent payment systems that can help to make life a little bit easier.
Finally, hiring a property manager can help you to take a number of stressful tasks off of your plate. Not only will they take over all of the day-to-day tasks that are involved with overseeing a rental, but they’ll also handle all of the bigger issues as well –like arranging for repairs and maintenance, upgrading the property in between tenants, and advertising vacancies, tenant screening, and showing the property to potential tenants as well.
For landlords who have more than one property, or would like to expand their property investment portfolio, hiring a property allows them to do so. It’s one thing to oversee one or two rentals on your own; it’s another to manage multiple properties –especially if some of those rentals are out of town.
As a landlord, it’s easy to forget that your time is valuable. It’s important to remember this and to work to put systems into place that will both free you up and help you to reach your big-picture goals. With the above time-management strategies and tips, you’ll be able to claim back more time in your day and ensure that you’re focusing on the things that matter most, tasks that will make a difference or move the needle in some way.
Thinking about hiring a property manager? Get started by receiving your FREE rental price analysis. See how much your property could be renting for.
Back to Posts