What to do When Information Overload Threatens Your Business

Last modified on December 1st, 2014

Until the explosion of the Internet, most people would have probably agreed that you can’t have too much information when making critical business decisions. As a property manager, you most likely want to have as much information as possible about prospective residents, potential clients and contractors.

Information overload isn’t really a new concept, but the enormous volume and 24/7, instant-access to information exacerbates the situation today.

Decision-makers increasingly report that too much information disrupts the decision-making process. Some experts suggest that it isn’t too much information causing the problem, but rather poor time-management skills that create information overload. Still others say poor choices – failing to control the flow of information – pose the greatest risk for decision makers.

Consider these facts:

  • The average person checks their cell phone more than 100 times every day.
  • Research experts project that in 2015, shared information will consume almost two-thirds of each day to see or hear.
  • Knowledge is addictive.

Learning From Successful Property Management Leaders

In an interview with the National Apartment Association Charles H. Mixer (Director of IT with the Franklin Johnston Group) suggests you have to find the right mix of intuition and information to make wise property management decisions in our digitally rich world. Mixer summed up how to use information to your advantage this way, “Focus on not just gathering data, but asking the right questions of your data. If you’re not asking the right questions, you’re wasting time.” You can read the full interview here.

Evaluating Time-Management Skills

While Mixer promotes updating technology and building an infrastructure to help your property management team analyze real-time data and implement strategies to manage your rent tiers, budgeting and forecasting, it’s equally important to make sure you aren’t wasting your time acquiring information that isn’t valuable.

Here are a few suggestions to get you started.

  1. If you’re one of those average Americans who is constantly checking the phone or social media sites, set limits.
  2. Establish a specific time each day to read personal emails and connect with family and friends – then turn off your digital connections and focus on your business.
  3. Delegate and trust your instincts. It’s vital that you know what’s happening on your property, but investing adequate resources to train employees and screen contractors will let you release the tendency to micromanage every project to the point you are always distracted.
  4. Prioritize. One time-management expert suggests limiting your daily list to urgent matters. Realistically, you probably can’t complete 100 projects in a single day, so why include them all on your checklist?
  5. Schedule breaks throughout your day. Taking a ten minute break helps you re-focus your energy. Whether you take a walk around the property or just sit quietly at your desk, schedule some down time during the day to relax a few minutes.

Information overload and time-management go hand in hand. One survey revealed that less than 10% of business executives were “very satisfied” with the way they spent their time. McKinsey & Company, a management consultancy, recommends that business owners initiate a property-wide time-management strategy that creates a systematic approach to improve efficiency through the company. After all, time is a finite commodity for everyone.

If you’re having issues with information overload, don’t wait another day to find a solution. Get serious about controlling the flow of information – both personal and business oriented. Consider updating your property management IT solutions to streamline operations and get a handle on your day to day schedule.


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