As a landlord, it’s very possible to have a life dominated by requests and tasks until you feel like you are drowning and constantly playing catch-up. Being busy is not a bad thing. However, if you feel out of control, unable to spend time on the things you really want to, then it’s probably a good idea to evaluate how your time is being spent.
This article is nine ways we’ve found for landlords to take control of time so you can prioritize what matters most.
Clearly Define Your Top Priorities
Being busy but in control is our goal. You want to be in control of your schedule rather than your schedule controlling you.
The first step is to identify what your top overarching priorities are. You have hundreds of decisions and tasks coming at you in a given day, but these decisions should not all carry the same weight.
Some can be delayed, some can be ignored and others need to be acted on immediately.
But until you identify your top priorities, you won’t be able to filter through the tasks and prioritize what matters.
As a rental property owner, a good question to ask is “Why?” Why did you do this in the first place? What excited you? If your day-to-day is drifting far from what you initially set out for, think through what can change and what tasks are pulling you away from your ideal situation.
Use that “Why” as a filter to make decisions as they present themselves.
Identify Your Tasks for Each Day
All of our lives are a set of years, months, weeks and days. Ok, that’s obvious, but think about it. If a bunch of days pile up where you react to what comes at you, all of a sudden you drift through a few months and did nothing you really wanted to do.
To take control of your time and schedule – it’s crucial to set aside time each week to decide what you want to do each day. Put items on the schedule and block that time to do them.
If you don’t prioritize your day, someone or something else will do it for you. Being busy is one thing, but being busy and feeling like you’re getting nowhere is even worse.
Take control by scheduling your key tasks (and entertainment, vacations, etc.) and making time for what matters. Use the right tools to help you save you time but also ensure you are making a profit.
Value Your Time
It should go without saying in an article about time management, but in order to take control of our time, we must value it.
As a rental property owner, you understand well the difference between investing and spending money. When you spend money it’s gone. When you invest money, you expect to get something in return.
You are careful with what you do with money because you value it. You want your money to work for you, and you look for ways to get a return on your investment.
But what about time? Time is actually more valuable than money because unlike money, you can’t create more. But do you take the same approach? Do you try to invest your time so that it’s used on worthwhile activity?
When you start to value your time, you can then look for ways to delegate or dismiss requests in line with your big priorities.
Write Down Everything You Do
Once you have a sense of your top priorities and goals, the next step is to take inventory of your day. Where is your time currently being spent? Just take some time to document and collect without jumping to conclusions.
Once you have a week you can review, then you can put your tasks in buckets and see what is really dominating your time.
This is usually an eye opener for anyone. As a landlord, you can see how much time is spent on low-level tasks that aren’t moving the needle for you. This gives a great sense of what can be delegated and what possibly needs more attention.
For example, if you are spending a ton of time responding to maintenance requests, is there a better system you can put in place to cut down on that time? Do you need to do more proactive, preventative maintenance so you can knock it out in one pass, rather than day after day?
Eliminate and Delegate
The natural progression after placing proper value on your time and identifying how your time is being spent is to eliminate and delegate tasks you don’t need to be doing.
Take a good look at the list of tasks you are doing day-by-day. Ask, are they important? Are they helping me get where I want?
Then go a step further. Do I need to be the one doing them? Can they be delegated for an hourly cost that frees me up to more valuable activity?
By prioritizing your high-level activity and delegating everything else you can start to carve out some freedom in your schedule and take control.
Collect Payments from Tenants Quickly and Seamlessly
How you make your priorities day-to-day is up to you. However, one thing we’d strongly suggest you prioritize is getting paid by your tenants!
This is an important task, but unfortunately can also be a drain of time. Checks, late payments, trips to the bank, following up, etc. can suck hours of time.
But with technology, you can dramatically take away the time in this entire process. By using online rent collection, you keep everything in one place and have the money move to your bank automatically.
Schedule Preventative Maintenance
Maintenance is unpredictable and can easily create a crisis to derail your day. So in addition to making requests simple, you’ll also want to take proactive measures to reduce requests in general.
Taking time at least once per year to go through your properties and perform preventative maintenance allows you to take care of small issues all at once and keep them from becoming bigger problems later.
Your preventative maintenance will alert you to issues and keep you in control of what is going on. This should dramatically cut down on those nagging requests throughout the year.
Have Piece of Mind
Ensuring you are making a high ROI and you are in control of your finances by not overpaying your taxes is essential to be able to focus on what needs to be done. You are not bogged down by the fear that you made a bad investment and that you spending more than you should be. That’s why its important to use a property investment calculator. Not only are tax deductible and great for finding ways to save money they also enable you to ensure that you have made a sensible investment.
The finances of running any business can be confusing, stressful and time consuming. That’s why it’s important to have the right tools. Especially when they can save you money and help you to ensure you remain stress free and focused on your tasks and objectives.