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Stress Management for Property Managers

Thinking of a Career Change?

As winter drags on, and with the sunshine of spring just ahead, more than a few of us are feeling a little more stressed. It’s one of the top reasons schools take their annual spring break.

Newbies to the property management profession are excited and full of energy, and might not be aware of the common perils of work in the industry. Old pros who have been in the trenches for awhile are exhausted and wondering if they can meet the challenges for years to come.

It Might Be Time to Change Things Up

Property management forums are full of threads by managers discussing how they need to get out of the business. They mention issues such as time stress, distractions, not being able to get things done, boredom, resentment, low pay, and the usual challenges of managing tenants and contractors.

What stressed property managers lack is a change of perspective on the situation and a way to reorganize work. And before that can happen, we need to do something. You might call it the feel good principle. Feeling good comes first, action comes next. That’s opposite to what many hard working people believe.

Are Your Expectations Realistic?

Expectations and stress go hand in hand.  Managing expectations, stress and job functions is really important. Both you and the industry lose if you should quit. The reasons for these problems comes under the heading of job design.

To narrow the gap between what you as a human person can do, and what’s expected of you, you need to improve your job.

If you’re thinking that it’s you that’s at fault, don’t. The truth is, it might be your job’s not providing satisfaction or it makes completing your work more difficult.

You’re a Person, not an Office Machine

Old attitudes about job design linger as employers resist change. Insufficient thought is put into how work should get done in a way that works for people. This is opposite to the way jobs are designed. Instead, your company’s job description and process may be killing you.

If you work alone, it might be easier for you reassess and change what’s wrong. If you work for a boss, perhaps we can give you a helper in encouraging job redesign.

If your job description is okay, it could be you’re disorganized and not prepared. You’ll need to review your daily work and discover what’s causing the most pain.

It’s a Fact: Property Management Is Changing

Yes, You Should Like Your Job

Stress in all industries has risen as competitiveness has increased. Add on automation and artificial intelligence, and some are wondering if they’ll have a job in 2020. And others yet, wonder if they can keep up to all the technology-related advancements and changes happening. Some are just bored with a routine that makes them feel like a robot.

What stressed out property management staff might have in common is that their work environments have changed. There is more work, less time, and persistent demands to improve performance. And many of us are left to our own devices to deal with it.

As the stress mounts, errors grow, and job satisfaction weakens. Soon health begins to fail and the result is that good people leave the business. At a time when the property management sector needs experienced, competent people, this isn’t good.

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“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”  Steve Jobs

Stress and its related maladies cost the US GDP billions of dollar every year. For small companies, the opportunities and lost profits are even worse. The expert’s tips on getting more sleep, exercise and eating better might not help.

How Do You Know You’re Getting Burned Out?

⦁ tired, exhausted, depressed, negative
⦁ making errors, distracted, forgetting, conflicts with staff or tenants
⦁ complaints, irritation, low responsiveness
⦁ anxiety, cold hands, headaches, back problems, foggy brain
⦁ feeling unexcited about your work, thoughts of leaving
⦁ unwillingness to learn and progress

Rather than thinking about leaving the business, why not deal with the issues directly?

10 Signs You’re Enjoying Your Work

Contrast the stressed out perspective with that of someone really enjoying what they do.  10 ways to know if you’re enjoying your work (from lifehack.org)

  1. Time flies by and you lose yourself. You enter a flow state.
  2. You feel like you are doing something of value. You feel fulfilled.
  3. You are excited to wake up in the morning.
  4. Your co-workers and superiors are seen as partners to give and produce something.
  5. You do not complain.
  6. You don’t mind the struggle.
  7. You get energized when you talk about what you do.
  8. You feel like your work is an extension of who you are; it is a part of your personality.
  9. You find yourself interested in extra items not assigned to you.
  10. You feel tired at the end of the day, but in a satisfied way.

7 Good Ways to Turn Things Around

  1. If the workload and time stress is too much, you can begin using software and automation as a way of streamlining your work, lessening micromanagement and pre-empting the endless volume of distracting phone calls and tickets you have to deal with.
  2. You can learn to let go of disappointments, high expectations, and conflicts. Being realistic about your skills, energy and resources will keep your expectations sensible, and your bosses too.
  3. Extend your time frame. You may not be able to do everything this week. Set more realistic timelines regarding service calls, administration and reports.
  4. Get better training. If you can’t do the job, you might just need some training to get back on track. There’s no shame in saying you can’t do it all yourself or that you don’t know. Property management is growing fast in complexity and you can get outdated quickly.
  5. Get to know other managers so you have a realistic frame of reference and don’t feel so alone. They can help keep perspective and make you feel more creative and empowered. Attend some industry events and meetups.
  6. Be more active on social media and strike up conversations with other property management staff. It keeps your mind active, generates some laughs, and you’ll feel connected to others. By relaxing and building broader interests, you get rid of the tunnel vision that precedes trouble.
  7. Simplify your work. Sometimes less is more.

If you’ve lost your sense of purpose in working and career, check out this post from lifehack.org.

The Final Thought on Burnout and Stress

People leaving their industry may find just as much stress in another. If you’re stuck in a tunnel of stress, it’s time to take a break. A break or vacation can help, but so can changing your routine and finding ways to make your job more interesting and fun.

If your personal life is dull or stressful, it can make it tough to figure out which is the cause — work or personal. The truth is it might be both.

Be positive and choose to be happy no matter what’s happening at work or home. Everyone deserves to be happy and being negative doesn’t help much.

It all comes back to the big picture. Decide to Feel Good and things will come back into perspective. You probably have a lot more power to solve your issues than you think. Try it and you’ll see!

Infographic courtesy of Payscale.com and Visual Loop Labs

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