EPMEPM: Productivity

The Daily Juggle: Eliminate multi-tasking and increase productivity

Beyonce, Oprah and Branson all have the same 24 hours in a day that you do, but as a property manager what has changed in recent times are the expectations of what you are able to get done in a day. Heidi Walkinshaw reveals how to rethink the constant multi-tasking and discover how to use your brain and a clever app to get more done.

As a consultant, the number one complaint from property managers, and even my colleagues, is that there are never enough hours in the day. I hear the word ‘busy’ so much that it almost seems to be a state of mind.

I am always curious about new technology that is out there to assist in reducing stress and in some cases to improve service levels to the customer; however, before we consider that we need to look at some initial hurdles.

We often find that, when it comes to new technology, there is a hesitation to implement something new as ‘there isn’t the time’. However, the medium- to long-term benefits of implementing new efficiencies can assist in increasing productivity levels. The demands of the consumer are constantly increasing, and by ignoring the inevitable you risk being left behind the rest of the pack.

When we talk about time management we often mean the tips and tricks to assist in increasing how much we can fit into a day. However, as I’m currently studying for a psychology degree, I like to look at it a little differently these days.

Every time we switch between tasks, the brain goes through a stop/start process. Rather than saving time, it actually costs time, is less efficient and we make more mistakes.

Something that often gets overlooked when we are talking about why we get stuck in this time rut is the brain. We often forget about it because we switch over to autopilot. We forget that we need to be the pilot, otherwise we will crash.

This got me thinking about how the brain factors into how well we manage our time.

Did you know that most people have an average of around 60,000 thoughts per day? Many of these are automatic processes that we aren’t even aware of, and then on top of that is intent thought. Combining the automatic thought with the intent thought at over 40 thoughts a minute, it’s no wonder we forget things and feel stressed. Our brains are on information overload! And with the age of technology, we are always switched on.

While we are trying to get so much done, we often switch to multi-tasking, hoping that will help to solve our problems faster. Statistically speaking, only two per cent of the population can multi-task effectively. The brain doesn’t actually handle simultaneous tasks well and neuroscientists have found that it should be referred to as ‘switch management’.

Every time we switch between tasks, the brain goes through a stop/start process. Rather than saving time, it actually costs time, is less efficient and we make more mistakes. It can also sap our energy. When it comes to multi-tasking, it has been found to lower productivity by 40 per cent while also lowering IQ by 10 points.

I challenge you to eliminate multi-tasking and increase productivity in your day. Give it a try; you might be surprised!

When we talk about managing your time, what we really should be calling it is ‘You’ management. Given that we all have the same number of hours, it comes back to how well you manage your tasks, your schedule and the time that you have on this earth.

So given that this is all about you, it is important to understand where you spend your time and what is sapping your precious hours. We often suggest using a time log to track your weekly movements. You can try the old-school approach – we have a great little tool for that – but there is also an app to analyse your time processes. Rescuetime can assist in tracking your movements on your electronic devices and reporting back where you have been caught up in processes.

When you are undertaking a task like a personal time log, the only person that you need to be answerable to is you. If you want to get serious about finding more time, you need to be brutally honest about where you are spending your hours.

Should you choose to go through this process, sit down with a friend or mentor – someone who can hold you accountable – and ask yourself: are these tasks helping me get to where I want to be, or is there anything that I need to change?

Once you have identified where your hours are being spent, it’s time to start planning your day. Work out the potential to adjust your current schedule or implement a new one, and areas where efficiencies can be improved.

If you feel that you don’t have time and are feeling stressed, then something has to change. Trying to cope can become a juggling act and we need to train our brains in managing ourselves. Once we have done that, we can begin to look at where we can become more efficient and maximise what precious hours we have.

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Heidi Walkinshaw

Heidi Walkinshaw has been immersed in property management for over 14 years, dealing in all aspects from leasing, property management, business development and team management. For more info visit realplus.com.au.