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Stress Management Can Prevent Self-Storage Managers From Drowning in Their Work

Task for task, a self-storage manager’s job is as multi-faceted as they come. While work-related stress is inevitable and some managers may even believe they feed off of stress-related adrenaline, the effects of stress work against everyone over time and can affect self-worth, job satisfaction and physical health. To prevent drowning in work, practice stress management.

Tony Jones

February 26, 2015

4 Min Read
Stress Management Can Prevent Self-Storage Managers From Drowning in Their Work

When members of my high-school graduating class were asked to submit a few parting words for the school newspaper, I submitted something about just wanting “to keep my head above water.” I don’t recall why I was compelled to write such an inspirational message, but some 30 years later, I sometimes wonder if that statement was a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I have worked for global companies with tens of thousands of employees down to small publishing houses with a half-dozen staff members. While each has had its own unique set of rewards and challenges, they all have had stress-related descriptors affixed to them by staff. Some have been ominous and foreboding like “The Factory” or “meat grinder,” while others tried more aptly to capture the kinetic pace of work, such as “the hamster wheel.”

Some of this is due to the nature of publishing. It can be a fast-paced, high-stress environment in the slowest of periods, so when the busiest times of year come around, it can be a challenge to maintain a healthy life balance and enthusiastic outlook toward work. Feeling overwhelmed in the workplace, as if you’re drowning in paperwork or tasks, can be uncomfortable and unhealthy, but the truth is, most of us who willfully enter a stressful line of work and choose to stay there, feed off of the angst and adrenaline in some fashion.

Self-storage developers, investors, managers and owners are not immune. Each segment of this industry comes with its own set of stress-producing challenges. There is undoubtedly a rush to being a business owner or risking personal finances in a project, but the pressure to produce can be taxing. Task for task, a facility manager’s job may be as multi-faceted as any I’ve encountered.

Depending on one’s expertise and comfort level, different aspects to a manager’s responsibilities may be relatively easy or cause enormous amounts of stress. When dealing with walk-ins or customers on the phone, managers are expected to close sales and handle difficult customer-service issues. They need to be effective in collections and understand lease agreements and state lien laws. They must become effective marketers and business networkers. They may be required to act as agents for tenant insurance and perform regular maintenance tasks.

That’s a lot to ask of any individual during the course of a career, much less expect him to perform all of those job tasks well every day. If you’re an independent owner-manager, you’ve got the added burdens that come with being an entrepreneur.

While we may think we thrive off of a certain amount of stress adrenaline, the problem is this can take a toll mentally and physically over the long haul. The Mayo Clinic has a good breakdown on the common effects of stress on the body, mood and behavior. Even if you believe the stress of your job keeps you moving forward, it’s also working against you over time.

Stress management, then, is a vital piece of smart business. Positive productivity is essential not only to the bottom line but also to one’s self worth, job satisfaction and health. When stress overwhelms us, it has a negative, ripple effect throughout the business. Tasks do not get completed on time, quality of work suffers, customer service weakens, sales fall off, delinquent rent isn’t collected, and so on.

The first line of defense against stress is to be well trained and prepared. The better grasp you have of the tasks you’re required to perform, the greater your proficiency will be. In self-storage, effective manager training is essential to handling job responsibilities and eliminating unnecessary stress. Continuing professional development, such as attending the Inside Self-Storage World Expo, is a great way to reinforce and hone skills, as well as learn ways to improve business and personal performance.

Regular exercise, proper diet and relaxation techniques are also critical components to stress management. These are often the first to be cast aside when work begins to mount, but their role in keeping the body, mind and emotions equipped to absorb and deflect stress is undeniable. Although carving out time each day to work out and perform relaxation techniques can carry its own level of stress when work is piling up, those who are dedicated to them swear by their benefits. Here are five daily practices based on yoga principles you may want to consider, and they don’t even require you to know the difference between a downward dog and a fire log.

No matter how stressful work can become, we owe it to ourselves, our families and coworkers to take care of our health. Merely fighting to keep your head above water shouldn’t be the goal because no one can tread water endlessly. Before you sink, you must swim. And to swim to a destination, you must learn how to breathe. If you do nothing else to manage your stress, always remember to breathe.

Please share some examples of how you manage your work stress in the comments section below.

About the Author(s)

Tony Jones

ISS Store Manager, Contributing Editor, Inside Self-Storage

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