Are You a List-Maker? A Better Way to Manage Your Self-Storage Tasks
By Amy Campbell
Editor, Inside Self Storage, Originally published by Inside Self Storage, July 23, 2021
The following is reprinted with permission from Inside Self-Storage, which has provided quality information and education to self-storage industry professionals for more than 30 years.
One of the best parts about my job as an editor with Inside Self-Storage is the diversity. Some days I’m writing news and editing articles, while other times I’m scheduling content or posting it to our website. Throw in my duties managing our online community and assisting in building our annual show, and there are many balls in the air.
As a self-storage operator, your job is just as diverse. In addition to handling move-ins and -outs, you also might be in charge of marketing your property, maintaining it and, of course, providing the best customer service. It’s a lot. If you’re like me, keeping track of all these tasks can be challenging. My go-to tool for staying the course and getting all these various responsibilities completed is an old standby that’s been around for years—lists.
I’m a huge fan of lists, and I create them for many things. I have personal agendas for items I need to do in a given month (finally make that eye doc appointment), projects I’d like to complete around my house, and even financial or other personal objectives. As you can guess, my work list is much more involved. Having everything front and center all the time, though, means it gets done. Maybe not always in the timeframe that I’d like, but it’s never forgotten. Most important, it makes me feel productive!
A recent article on the topic reinforces this idea. It offers seven reasons why lists help us. First, it creates order. When there are more than a dozen tasks that need your attention in any given day, a list will help you break them down and make them approachable. Besides, who can remember everything. Self-storage owners and managers have so many responsibilities. Give your brain a break!
Lists also create accountability. If it’s written down, it’s more likely to happen. For many, this act makes it stick. Writing or typing the words and phrases makes a connection. How many of you write a grocery list? Same concept.
The best part of lists is the feeling you get when you scratch off an item. It’s simply awesome! Hello to that shot of dopamine. It’s a mood booster, affirmation that you’re amazing and gives you a sense of accomplishment. Lists help you feel more organized and less overwhelmed.
They can also help you prioritize. I tend to write deadlines on my job-task list each week and even put it them order. So, if something needs to be done by Wednesday, for example, I can see that clearly every time I examine my list. While experts say it’s always best to tackle your most important job first, I tend to go for the short, easy ones I can knock out quickly. It gives me a sense of accomplishment.
Members of Self-Storage Talk are sharing how they use lists at their jobs. Share your tips or learn how you can become a list-maker. If you’re in charge of maintenance at your storage property, be sure to check out our maintenance package in the ISS Store. It’s kind of a list on steroids. It includes detailed, customizable monthly calendars outlining tasks by day, week and season, plus a 91-page digital book full of expert advice.
My lists cover the gamut—from simple bulleted items to a summary if something is more complex. Most are written on paper or in a notebook, but I have been known to keep a few digital ones now and again. For me, putting pen to paper when a task is finished feels better than simply deleting something from an online list. Everyone has their own style, so do what works for you.
However, if your lists are too long, complicated or don’t provide a path to completing tasks, you need to revisit your method. The goal here is to get things done, of course, but also give yourself a pat on the back when you do. Sure, some items might hang around a while but, overall, your lists should include doable action items, not impossible ones.