During the toughest of times of your career in property management, you may reflect on how and why you became a property manager in the first place.
In our experience, most property managers fell into their first PM role rather than studying Real Estate at the University of Reading and discovering their block management calling. Just as well, as there is a shortage of residential homes in the UK and the most efficient way of fulfilling the demand is to build blocks of flats for sale or for rent. As flats are built, property managers are needed to manage them. You’re in demand, so do remember that.
We hear all your stories and property management anecdotes – thanks for sharing them with us. What is clear to us is that the good times outshine the bad and it’s important that you share your experiences with your peers. Being a property manager ‘on your own’ is not advisable – the challenging times need to be shared or you may not escape the maze.
When we hear the term ‘Mental Block’, it usually means one of two things:
1. It’s an impolite description of a building that is getting you down!
The block (and its occupants) are very demanding. They take up a disproportionate amount your time and you know it’s having a negative impact on the rest of your portfolio. This comes down to the 80-20 rule also known as the Pareto Principle. There are lots of different definitions or interpretations of this rule but in essence it means 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. So in a block management setting, 20% of your portfolio may well generate 80% of the profit. You might wonder why your bosses persevere with the unprofitable 80%. Well it’s not as simple as eliminating all the bad apples but certainly from what you tell us, that “mental block” is simply not worth managing at any price! If you have one of these, put your case to your line manager – perhaps a transfer to another property manager may do the trick – or a transfer to another managing agent.
2. You are stuck in a rut, over-whelmed with work and don’t know where to start to get on top of it.
This is really the crux of my blog. This type of mental block can cause deep anxiety, isolation and desperation. We know because we see it too often. Avoiding getting into that spiral in the first place is crucial.
So we have looked at some practical ways of avoiding and overcoming mental blocks:
- Tackle the smaller tasks first. These are typically the quick wins. You have to do them anyway so build some momentum and confidence – get these easier tasks out of the way.
- Make time for regular exercise and stay hydrated. A healthy brain needs a healthy body around it. Especially if you are working from home, a lunchtime run or walk should be simple to achieve. Keep a bottle of water on your desk.
- Don’t just stare at the screen. Working in an office usually means constant interactions with people. Working from home often means being glued to your computer. Shake it up a bit – phone people that you would normally send an email. Get up and walk around when you talk, or multi-task and make tea whilst you chat. Use headphones to stay hands-free!
- Don’t try to get everything done in one day. List your tasks and plan what you can get done in THAT day. Always set yourself realistic targets. Make time to rest.
- Speak to your colleagues. Try not to isolate yourself, especially when under the cosh. The chances are you are not alone, and mutual empathy can go a long way to feeling ‘normal’ about your workload. And your line manager is there to support you so do speak to them – regularly.
- Manage your distractions. That is easier said than done especially if you’re home working and you have young children to keep an eye on. Remove unnecessary distractions and get your head down. Hard work is always essential to get back on top.
- Strive to do things well; perfection isn’t usually necessary. It’s no good getting half of your work done brilliantly and the rest not at all. Strike a balance.
- Do something different. Change your surroundings. If you can, work from a different place – a coffee shop, the park, another room. Any change is likely to help.
Whatever your mental block, you always have options. Do talk to us – we’re good listeners and we have great solutions. Remember that your mental health is the number one priority.