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Battling the Clock: Busy Self-Storage Professionals Need to Master Time Management

Since we can’t add more hours to the day, we need to learn how to master the ones we have. Consider the following guidance to improve your time-management skills.

Amy Campbell

January 20, 2023

4 Min Read
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Need more time in your day? You’re not alone. Most of us feel there aren’t enough waking hours to accomplish everything at work and home, not to mention finding moments to pursue hobbies or simply relax. Let’s also toss in the battle to get the proper amount of shut-eye each night.

If you’re busy, busy, busy (and who isn’t?), the clock isn’t your best friend. As a self-storage professional, you’re likely being pulled in several directions each day. Managers and owner-operators might need to ready vacant units for new rentals, make collection calls, work on marketing outreach or address property maintenance. Developers are often facing down any number of project problems, and investors must hustle as buying and selling continues to flourish.

While we all have 24 hours in a day, it seems some people are just better at managing it than others. Fortunately, there are some steps we can take to improve our time-management skills. Here are a few ideas that are helping me do better.

Time-blocking. You’ve likely heard of it. Simply put: You carve out a set amount of time to start and finish a single task or related ones. What’s great about this strategy is you can be as detailed as you want. Some prefer to schedule their entire day like this, while others opt for smaller chunks. Either way, it lends structure to your day and helps keep you from procrastinating. It can also create a flow to your workday.

Stop multi-tasking so much. This has been a badge of honor for decades. We all like to say we’re an amazing multi-tasker. And many are. But it does come at a price. Studies have shown forcing our brain to bounce back and forth between projects makes us less efficient and increases the chances for mistakes. We’re actually wired to be mono-taskers, says neuropsychologist Cynthia Kubu. “When we think we’re multi-tasking, most often we aren’t really doing two things at once. But instead, we’re doing individual actions in rapid succession, or task-switching.” Give your poor brain a break! When possible, focus on just a single task—start to finish. You’ll do it better, feel less stress and be more productive overall.

Ignore the pop-up email notifications. This goes with the point above. Maybe ignore isn’t the right word … but at least stop giving it so much importance. We’re all trained to drop what we’re doing and race to our email when we see that little icon appear on our phone or computer screen. Sometimes, we do need to respond ASAP. But there are other times when it can wait. You can even add email checks into your time-blocking.

Do the tough (or undesirable) stuff first. This is a constant battle for me. I know that I should tackle my most difficult tasks first. All too often, though, I’ll favor the easier ones. Sometimes you need to go this route for your mental health, or maybe it’s a better way to kickstart your day. However, getting the tough ones out of the way first has serious benefits. No. 1 is it’s done. You also can’t procrastinate about it, so there’s less stress hanging over your head all day. Plus, as the day drags on, you might find yourself mentally or physically fatigued. It’s definitely not the time to face down a difficult assignment. Get it done early!

Prioritize and organize. Knowing what you need to accomplish gives your day direction. I have a dry-erase board for my daily assignments and a printed one for the week. I relish erasing and crossing items from these lists. Often, I write them in order of importance or will assign numbers next to them. Just having a visual reminder, whether digital or on paper, can help you stay focused and reach your goals.

Take a break. An important part of time management is to give your mind and body rest. Again, you can schedule these into your day or simply take one when you need it. If I find myself stuck, a short break always helps get me back on track. It helps if you can change your environment as well. Step outside and enjoy some fresh air, take a walk, stretch your body, watch a cat video … just find a way to unplug from that task for a few minutes. More than likely, you’ll find yourself ready to go at it when you get back.

Good time management doesn’t happen easily. Like anything worthy, it takes planning, refining and learning. But it’s well worth it. Once you become more efficient at managing your day, you’ll feel less hurried, be more efficient at your job and reach your goals.

About the Author(s)

Amy Campbell

Editor, Inside Self Storage

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