The world of property management–whether you’re a self-managing landlord, a full-fledged property manager, or an aspiring RPM franchisee–is a very involved and robust one, commanding a great deal of your time, focus, and energy. Effectively managing yourself and your time is vital, and one of the most common detractors to this is the concept of procrastination.
As a former entrepreneur and business owner myself, I understand the struggles inherent to effective time management. I’d often look to others in my field and marvel at their ability to accomplish so much more than I had, even though the same 24 hours in a day exists for us all. My to-do list would seemingly never get smaller, as timelines were pushed and important tasks waited until ‘crunch time’ to be completed. “I guess that’s just the procrastinator in me…”, I would often say, offering some kind of explanation for why I wasn’t more effective and efficient with my goals and tasks.
Does any of this resonate or sound familiar to you (don’t be afraid to admit it)? If so, I hope this next part hits home as powerfully for you as it did for me. I don’t recall the exact circumstances that gave life to my realization, but the shift it caused in my mindset had a huge and revelatory impact:
I’m not a really good procrastinator – I’m a really poor prioritizer
From this, my belief that procrastination is just a myth was born. We utilize terms like ‘procrastination’ to ease the guilt or frustration we have for not accomplishing our tasks or goals–a convenient ‘excuse’ we can more easily digest. These terms and concepts help distance us from claiming responsibility for the choices we make, and can–to certain degrees and circumstances–invite less criticism from others. The warm blanket of ‘excuse’ seems tatters-thin, however, when we consistently fall behind on our goals and never take the necessary actions to accomplish what we set out to do.
The mindset shift to prioritization over procrastination carries weight because it assigns us more personal ownership of our choices and actions. When we find ourselves ‘procrastinating’, we are really choosing one priority over another–often busying ourselves with smaller or unrelated tasks rather than accomplishing our big, hairy, and audacious goals. Employing excuses like ‘procrastination’ removes the responsibility for our inaction from our hands–attributing it to some unknown force exerting its will upon us. That’s most definitely not the case, as we possess full agency of ourselves and the choices we make regarding our actions.
It’s commonplace to associate some element(s) of pain around huge goals, because they push us outside of our comfort zone–hence why we will often ‘procrastinate’, or fall short in prioritizing our time around them effectively. Equipping ourselves with the necessary tools and strategies to become efficient prioritizers is therefore incredibly important, as they empower us to look beyond the temporary pains of pursuing our goals and take action toward accomplishing them. To that thought, here are a few notable ways to strengthen your prioritizing:
Make a list
There’s something incredibly tangible about writing down goals. It almost makes them more ‘real’, in a sense. Whether it’s a software program or your favourite stationary, write down your top goals and prioritize them based on importance and urgency. Attach a ‘why’ to your most important priorities, and don’t shift them around–even if you feel a strong urge to do so. You set top priorities for a reason, and even if they’re challenging to complete, moving through the adversity and accomplishing them will be all the more rewarding.
There’s no faster way to defeat yourself and leave priorities unaccomplished than to set unrealistic ones from the get-go. Big goals should challenge you, taking you out of your comfort zone and encouraging you to grow–but they need to actually be something you can accomplish. Adding 100 new doors under management or buying 10 new revenue properties are wonderful goals, but they may not be realistic ones you can accomplish in the next week. Part of making a list of your priorities is setting realistic timelines for them, so you do not find yourself mired in desperation or figuratively burying your head in the sand because you’re too overwhelmed.
Celebrate your success and hold yourself accountable where you fall short
When you’ve accomplished a big goal–one of your top priorities–celebrate that success! Too often we criticize ourselves for our failures without celebrating our successes, and it’s important that we internalize a job well done. Reward yourself for your accomplishment, and then move on to the next priority. Alternatively, if you fall short on your main priority, claim that responsibility and assess where things fell by the wayside. No excuses, no beratement–understand why you did not succeed, and then plan to do better.
Perhaps your top priorities include reaching out to new investors and finding wonderful partners to offer your services to. Maybe you’re a self-managing landlord and are finally ready to reach out to your local Real Property Management office so you can shift your focus from working in your investment portfolio to working on your investment portfolio. You could even be considering becoming a property manager yourself and opening your own RPM franchise. Whatever your plans are, prioritize your goals–prioritize you–and take action, leaving the myth of procrastination behind.