Here are a few of my favorite things to stack and attack.
- This one is OBVIOUSLY my favorite! For years as a manager, I would put on one hat for outreach. I’d devise a plan and then put it in motion with the team. Then, I would put on my retention hat. What events could we do? Who needed renewals? How could we really push referrals? Then I realized that this divided approach was straight-up CRAZY. Instead, stack and attack outreach and retention planning. What you are selling on the outside (outreach), you should be selling on the inside (retention). You can focus on both at once. That was great, but I was still having to worry about it monthly. That’s why we recently created custom, apartment marketing stores for a very few select clients. It would allow key decision makers to work with our team in selecting quarterly campaigns. Our team would create all the pieces, build a private web page, and host a launch webinar. After that, the entire portfolio of communities (I’m talking about some management companies with 100+ communities) have a plan, all the resources, competitive printing and the Sprout support team at their fingertips. And just like that…BAM! A quarterly plan for a huge portfolio created all at once. That is the ULTIMATE STACK AND ATTACK!
Social media posts or writing a blog AND/OR research
- I actually schedule dedicated time to write our weekly newsletter, blog, monthly calendar and social media each week. Writing is a mindset for me that requires uninterrupted focus. When I get on a roll, I don’t stop at just one. I batch brainstorming time for 4-8 weeks at a time and then write for the same amount of time.
- Here’s a little fact about stacking and attacking “creative” tasks. Sometimes you are just not “feeling it.” Always have a backup plan. For me, if I’m facing a bit of writer’s block, I research for an upcoming presentation or article. It still requires quiet space and focus which works in this time slot.
- You can do the same for your social media posting. One of my biggest recommendations for communities that are doing their own social media is to set a theme for every day of the week. Here’s an example (not the only way!):
- Mondays can feature a motivational theme.
- Tuesdays can be a post that highlights an amenity or feature of your community.
- Wednesday can be a wild card.
- Thursday you can link to a nearby restaurant or bar that your residents might love.
- Friday you can share a fun fact about one of your team members.
Client meetings and phone calls
- This doesn’t always work because sometimes you have an impromptu phone call or meeting. In 2015 I made it a goal to avoid these kind of impromptu situations at all costs. It might sound super selfish and it is, a little. But here’s the reality: when I have scheduled time for client meetings and phone calls I am better prepared, better focused, and in turn, deliver a better end result for my client. Moral of the story: sometimes being selectively selfish benefits everyone.
Following up with prospects
- This is a perfect task for on-site team members to stack and attack. Whether you dedicate a certain time frame each day or a certain day each week, you will be better prepared, get in a routine, and ensure that your follow-up actually happens consistently.
Checking in on maintenance requests
- Batch following up on all maintenance requests for the week or the month. Tip: allow enough time to take care of any issues that might come up as a result of your follow-up conversations. For example: you might call Mr. Jones in #201 to see if he was happy with the repair on his leaky faucet. He mentions that all turned out well, but now he has a toilet that is continually running. You’ll need time to fill out a new request.
- Outreach marketing is one of those things that can be a “mind block.” It seems like it’s going to be worse than it really is. That’s why I like to plan at least a half a day to strictly do outreach marketing. I LOVE to get on a roll and build on the momentum. I also like to have enough time to write out follow-up notes. I’m also not opposed to doing a little each day (if that’s more your speed), but my favorite way is to stack and attack. I would take care of any off-site errands that needed to be done for the community at the same time.
STACK AND ATTACKING MY PERSONAL LIFE:
- Sundays are my favorite day to meal prep. I start by looking at my calendar and deciding which days actually makes sense to pack a lunch (when I don’t already have a client lunch scheduled). Then I chat with Russell to see what his plan is for the evening weeknights. Together we decide which nights we’ll both be home at the same time for dinner, if there is a night he’ll grill, or a night we want to order in.
- I also take this time to take inventory of any supplies I’m missing. I keep a pre-printed grocery and supply list with things that I always buy. I always keep it in a visible place and add to it all week long. On Sundays I double check the list and add to it.
- Then I hit the store. One decision I’ve made in the last few years is to buy everything at ONE store. I know…it’s not always the cheapest option, but when I did the math, I decided it was the BEST option for me. It’s only Russell and me, so the extra cost of buying everything at one store doesn’t equate to the headache of going to 3 different stores. This is a personal decision you have to make for your family.
- When I get home, I cut any veggies and fruits. I try to buy most breakfast items in single servings (greek yogurt plus berries and nuts). I cook whatever meats I can for easy prep during the week. I also post my meal plan on the fridge. And I am a HUGE fan of the crockpot. I crockpot at least once a week. I try to stack and attach crockpot cooking too. I might make chicken in the crockpot and one night have it in tacos and the next day use it in a salad.
- My PO box is right next to the grocery store, so I pick up my mail for the entire week on Sundays.
Errands and Paying Bills
- I’ve personally limited my errands to VERY few. I do as much as I can online, but I stack and attack the few errands that I have left. I try to dry clean as little as possible, but when I do, I wait until there is enough that needs to go to the dry cleaners. Typically I try to cut out of work a little early or go in a little late to run errands when there aren’t as many people doing the same things.
- When it comes to paying bills, I only do this once per month and I do it all online. I pick up my mail once per week. Then once per month, I sit down to sort. Immediately, when I’m done, I file everything that I need to hold onto and shred what needs to go.
- My husband is self-employed too and I help him with his taxes every year. During my “bill pay” time, I also sort his receipts and file them to make it a little easier when tax time comes around.
- I’m going to sound a little high maintenance here, but come on. All the ladies know we have to keep up with our beauty routine, right? Again, I try not to be all over the place. I take one day to really pamper myself, if I can. I schedule my hair appointment, manicure and pedicure on the same day (and maybe a massage, if there is time). BOOM! The added benefit is I leave feeling pretty head-to-toe on that day. If I need a manicure or pedicure before my next hair appointment, I try to do this on a day that I’m out running errands in the area. The place I go to is next to a Target, so it’s always a 2-for-1 stop.
Here’s why the Stack and Attack Method is worth a shot.
- Less rev up time. Let’s face it, getting going is the hardest part (especially for tasks that we dread)! When we stop and start to do a million different things, we lose a lot of productivity time to “rev up” time. Translation? A lot of wasted time.
- Preserving your focused time and energy. Not everything on your to-do list demands the same level of focus, time or energy. When your tasks are all over the place, your focus gets compromised. You end up mixing less important tasks with more important tasks. Those more important tasks suffer. You end your day tired, frazzled and not sure if you really got done what you needed to do. The stack and attack method let’s you dedicate the RIGHT amount of time for the RIGHT task.
So stop switching hats a million times throughout your day.
I promise. The Stack and Attack Method WILL look good on you!
Your turn! Take action now: Make a list of all your regular MUST-DO’s for the week. They don’t have to be in any kind of order. Include everything (job, family, personal, errands, goals, etc). Now start to STACK. I like to do it with different color highlighters. Each highlighter represents a “stack.” Once I see the different stacks, I batch my stacks on my google calendar. Try it this week. Each week you’ll get better at the Stack & Attack.