There’s a slow time of the month at most jobs, and in the self storage industry, it seems to be the middle of the month. You’ve collected rent for all your units and you aren’t to the point where you can start scheduling move-ins for the beginning of the next month. So, what do you do?
There are basically two categories of ways to occupy your time at the office: Fun activities and ones that will hone your managerial skills. These breaks from actual work aren’t just beneficial during the slow periods. Recent studies have shown that taking breaks while working on a long project actually improve quality of work by reigniting your focus.
If you find yourself in the middle of a long project or with a bit of free time in the middle of the month, here are some suggestions of ways to pass the time:
Read a business book. There are many lists of top leadership and management books including ones from Amazon, Forbes and Time. Specifically for women, my favorite business book is “Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead” by Sheryl Kara Sandberg, COO of Facebook. These books are not only inspiring but can give you vital tips on how to better your facility and move forward in your career.
Network online. Stay connected to your colleagues in the self storage industry across the country through social networking. There are specific groups on LinkedIn for self storage marketing, management and a general group for those in the industry. You can start discussions asking other managers for tips or dish out advice yourself.
Familiarize yourself with your facility management software. It’s easy to get by with using just the simple features and not delving in too deep. It can be intimidating. But if you have a facility management software that tracks leads or can run a variety of reports, exploring more can give you great insight into ways to better your business.
Keep up on industry news. There are a variety of blogs for the self storage industry, including this one, that give great tips on a variety of subjects. There are incredible resources on anything self storage from web marketing to pest control. Your state association might even have a blog for news that’s specific to your region.
Brainstorm ideas. The previous four ideas will help you cultivate ideas that can propel your facility forward. Lock in two to three realistic ideas that you’re passionate about, figure out how you want to implement these projects and present them to your owner. It will demonstrate your initiative, which will put you in the forefront of your boss’ mind when your annual review comes around or a higher position opens up.'
Check social media. You can see what’s going on in your family and friends’ lives but you can also get trapped in a social media wormhole so I suggest you implement a 10-minute limit. You can also follow self storage pages on Facebook like StorageAhead and Mini Storage Messenger Magazine so you can keep up on industry news and advice.
Go for a walk. Put a sign on your office door that says you’re out and about but make sure to leave your cell phone number so customers can contact you. This actually serves two purposes: 1. You can pick up trash and make the grounds look nice, and 2. Exercising leads to more productivity when you get back to the office.
Check reddit. Don’t know what reddit is? This video describes it well, but it’s basically a place where people from around the world can post links to news articles, start discussions and chat with others about a wide variety of topics. Search for topics you’re interested or search “self storage” and you’ll come up with a number of posts to read through.
Read a chapter of a book. Bring your favorite book to work and read a chapter to take a break. It won’t take very long but it will bring you into the world of the characters and rejuvenate your focus on the task at hand. It can also be inspiring for you to write blogs for your website, which will boost your SEO.
Logic games. Luminosity claims it will “Improve your brain health and performance with brain games designed by neuroscientists to exercise memory and attention.” The best part though? These kinds of websites are actually fun. Take a break by solving a puzzle and exercising those brain muscles.
Depending on your relationship with the owner of your facility, it might be best to chat with him about how he prefers you spend the slow period of the month. If he tends to micromanage or doesn’t understand the benefits of walking away from a task for a bit, he might penalize you for checking Facebook or reddit.
Before pitching him your ideas, try asking, “What do you feel is the best way I can utilize these slower periods at the office?” Be flexible when receiving his feedback. This attitude will demonstrate that you’re proactive without giving the impression that you don’t care about his opinions.
This would also be a nice opportunity to set your goals on bettering yourself as a manager with your boss. Then you have someone to hold you accountable. That also means he’ll get to witness your initiative from the idea stage to conception.
If you think mental breaks would benefit you or you want to move higher in the company you work for, reach out to your boss and ask to set aside some time to talk about these practices. Chances are he’ll be impressed with your ambition and the two of you will spark a great dialogue that will better your storage facility.