Are you busy today? How about yesterday or last week? Me, too! There are many days when I feel like I’m sailing through tasks at work or home and getting so much done. Yet at the end of the day, only a few items have been checked off my to-do list. I’m surprised by this because it felt like I had accomplished so much!
It reminds of when I used to ask my husband to clean our garage. He’d be in there for hours, and I’d think, “Wow, he’s really doing it!” Of course, when I checked in, I’d often find he’d made little progress. Usually, he had moved some things around, but not really found a place or use for them. Or he’d get caught up in a project he’d been meaning to complete … and still didn’t finish because he needed parts or simply gave up until next time. Most of the time, it was just moving a pile from one side of the garage to the other. Needless to say, the area was never tidy, despite the hours he logged in there.
Most of us feel busy all the time. But are we really making progress or are we like hamsters on a wheel—spinning in a circle and never moving forward? I know I feel like that often.
As a self-storage operator, you have so much on your plate, and even more so as we endure the long COVID-19 pandemic. There’s the constant cleaning, marketing and sales, keeping up social distancing while providing a superior customer experience and, of course, trying to just keep the business open and profitable. Doing it all is exhausting! So how do you determine if your “busy-ness” is productive and not just moving piles from one side of the metaphorical garage to the other?
I came across an article on MSN that might offer some guidance. The author writes that there are three types of measurement that can help you improve your productivity. They are strategy, tactics and time. In this case, strategy relates to your goals. What do you want to accomplish? For me, it was a clean and organized garage in which I could finally park my car! So, do you want to increase facility occupancy or raise rental rates, expand your portfolio via a new build or acquisition, or lower your tenant delinquencies? It can be helpful to write down your goals and then add a few bullets under each with action steps on what you can do to make them happen.
Once you know where you want to go, you can begin laying down the path to get there. In other words: What’s your tactical approach. For example, if you’re thinking about buying or building, you should talk to a few lenders and find out your finance options. If you want to increase rental rates, you’ll need to examine your current rates and that of your competitors to see where you make adjustments. The author notes that it’s vital to set specific goals for each tactic as well as key performance indicators or other ways to track your success.
The final element is one in which we all greatly struggle—time. No matter how we use it each day, it rarely seems like enough. The key is to only do things that work toward your goals. The author suggests creating a project-management system that provides transparency. Consider if your biggest time investments will inch you closer to the rewards you seek. Take the finance scenario above. Is it worth your time to set up meetings with every loan officer in town? Probably not. Rather, do some online research to answer your initial questions and narrow down your search to two or three contenders. Then make those appointments count by being prepared to discuss your goals.
It’s great to busy. You just need to make sure your busy is the productive kind. No more moving around piles or wasting time on things that aren’t conducive to your objectives. Map it out, then follow the plan.