We all have those days when time flies, and others when time appears to stand still. Given these diametrically opposed situations, being more productive on the job can sometimes be a challenge for self-storage managers. Here are some helpful hints for productivity, regardless of the perceived speed of the clock.
1. Delegate. On those days when it seems there just aren’t enough hours (most any day really), learn to delegate. There are many tasks you might accomplish more quickly than a co-worker or employee; but if you make the time to teach him, he can be of more assistance by taking a duty from your plate. At the same time, you’re giving him a sense of participation and team belonging that makes your business run smoother.
2. Prioritize. Time is running out for the day, but you still have a stack of items to process on your desk, and you’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s time to prioritize!
What tasks simply must be completed? For you, it may be posting payments and closing the office. For another manager, it may be dealing with time-critical bids from vendors.
Organize everything into a few stacks instead of leaving all that work as one large mess. One pile should be for time-sensitive items, while the others are for items that can wait until the morning when you’re fresh, items that could wait for a later day, or items you could delegate.
3. Manage your time. Social media and customer interaction can be big time-wasters. We need to train ourselves to manage both. With social media, choose a limit for how long you’ll spend online and set a timer. It’s amazing how fast an hour can fly if you’re not cognizant. For e-mails, create form responses you can copy and paste to make customer interactions quicker and more succinct. You can always add a sentence or two to personalize it.
4. Take breaks. Sure, this may sound counterproductive, but it isn’t. Just stepping outside for a breath of air, doing some stretches and getting the blood flowing every hour to 90 minutes is good for productivity. It gives your mind a moment to refocus and a break from the doldrums or stress.
5. Skip the meeting syndrome. Whenever possible, say “no” to a meeting. If a meeting must occur, make sure participants are standing. That’s right—steer clear of the conference room! Nothing is as big a time-waster as meetings. Keep them short and to the point; and don’t let people get cozy and comfortable, or your gatherings will run longer than necessary. Deliver the message, and let people get back to the job at hand.
6. Give up multi-tasking. The human brain can’t handle two high-functioning items at once, no matter how adept you think you are at multi-tasking. Sure, you can hum a tune while wiping down a counter, but don’t expect to simultaneously respond to an e-mail and give your full attention to the customer standing in front of you or calling on the phone. Our brains do a lot of switching to accomplish two concurrent tasks, and then each item takes longer than if you simply focused fully on one then moved on to the other.
Do you have more productivity tips and tricks? If so, please post them below using the “Comments” link.
Gina Six Kudo is a storage-business consultant in San Jose, Calif. She has more than two decades of self-storage experience as well as a strong customer-service, sales and operations background. She's also a moderator on Self-Storage Talk, the industry's largest online community. To reach her, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.