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Work Life Balance as a Landlord

August 12, 2017

Achieving a work-life balance might sound simple enough, but we all know that this is much easier said than done.

For most of us, the lines between work and downtime are becoming increasingly blurred. Email and iPhones make it easier than ever to keep up with tasks while you’re out of the office, but the downside of this is that constant connectivity makes it hard to completely disconnect and get away.

As a landlord, it can be especially difficult to juggle everything, especially if you have another job and are trying to fit in rental management and maintenance on the weekends.

But separating work and free time is important –for the success of your rental properties, and more importantly, for your health and sanity. And of course, if you wish to have something that resembles a social life, finding a healthy work-life balance is a must!

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, here are some things that you can do right away, that will help you to get back on track.

Learn to Let Go of Perfectionism
For landlords and busy professionals alike, one of the first steps toward finding a work-life balance, is letting go of the idea of perfectionism. When we’re young, it’s easier to maintain a semblance of perfection –but as we grow up, this concept becomes harder to maintain.

As you climb the ladder at work and as your family grows, your responsibilities mushroom says executive coach, Marilyn Puder-York, PhD, author of The Office Survival Guide. Eventually, perfectionism becomes out of reach, and if that habit is left unchecked, it can become destructive.

The key to avoiding burnout is to let go of perfectionism, Puder-York says. It’s much healthier to strive not for perfection, but for excellence.  

Set Some Rules
Think that rules are limiting? Think again! As life gets busy, and responsibilities compound, rules become an increasingly necessary solution.

Far from hindering you, rules will help to give you back your freedom, preventing you from becoming overwhelmed and burnt out. They’ll allow you to claim back time for yourself, and help to prevent work from seeping into your free time.

As Daniel Wongbest-selling author and speaker says, “If you establish the right kind of rules can help you realize your goals. And through the process, you’ll gain the freedom to do what you want most, instead of succumbing to the temptation of doing what you want now.”

Start by determining which things are important to you, and then work to make them a priority. Lay some ground rules –like no checking emails or taking calls after 5pm. Leave weekends free for things besides work. It may be difficult at first, but over time it will become much easier –and your future self will thank you!

Treat Property Management Like a Business
Treating your rentals like a hobby is a classic mistake that many landlords make in the beginning. But if you’re serious about turning your rentals into a successful venture, it’s important to ensure that you treat your properties like a business –not as a part time hobby.

Treating your rentals like a business will help you to keep on track, making it easier for you to manage your time and your rental properties. It will also help you to find success. Start by developing financial goals, calculating projected profits and loss statements for each of your rentals as well as for prospective properties, and setting up systems that will help your rentals to operate more efficiently.

Limit Your Hours of Operation
There’s no need for you to be on call 24/7 –except for emergencies, that is.

Inform your tenants of the set hours when they can reach you, and be sure to outline which types of situations constitute an emergency. Many landlords find it helpful to create a manual for tenants, with basic guidelines on common tasks: like how to change a light bulb or stop a running toilet. This can help to prevent unnecessary phone calls, reducing the number of call-outs that you receive –especially after hours.

Take a Break
We live in a society that assigns a high value to dedication to work, but your commitment to work shouldn’t come at the expense of your family, or health.

It’s important to take breaks periodically. Breaking up your day by taking time out for lunch, and stepping away from your desk or computer every so often allows you to refresh, and return motivated and ready to go again. In addition to daily mini-breaks, taking time out for vacation is another good way to recharge those batteries. Finding it hard to get away? Hiring a property manager is one of the best ways to make weekend getaways and extended vacations alike more feasible, and hassle-free.

Embrace Helpful Tools
In many ways, it’s easier to be a landlord today than ever before –thanks in large part to the number of services and tools that are available for busy landlords today.

Take advantage of web-based tools like Google Documents or Dropbox for collaborative projects. Or consider implementing an online rent payment system, like eRentPayment, to make it easier for tenants to pay. Finally, depending on the size of your operation, you may want to consider accounting software –like QuickBooks or TurboTax for help managing your finances. Use technology to make short work of once time-consuming tasks!

Get Organized
Getting organized can be tremendously valuable when it comes to obtaining a work-life balance. It’s also vital if you’re planning on expanding your property portfolio.

Start by developing systems for your properties. Keep your procedures and forms organized in your filing cabinet –or better yet, the computer, and maintain an efficient system for the books. Having a clean and neat workspace will help you to focus more clearly, and makes it easier to find things as well.

Know When to Outsource
Just because you can handle something, doesn’t mean that you should. Instead of running yourself ragged trying to do it all, it’s important to know when to outsource. For example, instead of mowing the lawns at your rentals every weekend, consider enlisting the help of a maintenance crew. Or outsource repairs, instead of trying to do everything yourself.

One of the best ways to save time is by hiring a professional property manager to oversee your rental for you. This will free you up tremendously, allowing you to spend less time chasing down the rent and handling everyday management responsibilities, as well as tenant sourcing and screening.

Another benefit of outsourcing? Less stress and frustration.

“Property managers are skilled in handling landlord-tenant conflict,” says Erin Eberlin of The Balance, “They have an understanding of landlord-tenant law, and can serve as the middle-man, or buffer, for problems.” A good property manager will be able to take on much of the pressure that’s often involved with overseeing a rental, helping you to rest easier at night!

Achieving a work-life balance is important –not only for your personal benefit, but for your productivity as well. Why not make this the year that you commit to making that balance a reality? By using some of the above tips and suggestions, you’ll soon be well on your way toward eliminating the never-ending workday –and will be able to oversee, and even expand your property empire in a sustainable way. Who knows? You might even manage to enjoy some well-deserved time off –without the need to constantly glance at your phone!

Landlords: looking to take charge of your time? Enlisting the help of the Professional Landlords at Renters Warehouse can help you to achieve an ideal work-life balance.