I often hear that I am a person of many hats. I frequently get asked, “How do you get it all done?” I am a full-time employee, mother of five, wife, volunteer and full-time student, not including the many other tasks I pick up along the way.
My key to organization, lists. I have a list of tasks that I need to complete at work and a list of tasks that I need to complete at home. I make my husband a “honey-do” list and our children a chore list almost every day. As the day goes on tasks get added to every list. This might sound like a lot to some people, but one of the most gratifying feelings for me is crossing off one of my tasks. I love looking at my list at the end of the day and actually feeling like I accomplished something.
One of my many tasks at work is coordinating with our multi-facility groups. Over the years I have built some great relationships with these organizations. One of the things I know about these groups and the people that work for them is that they are always on the go and very busy. I asked two people I work with frequently, Eddie Johnson and Susan Ries, to share some of their secrets to wearing many hats.
Keep a Planner
Eddie Johnson, Field Operations Manager of Move it Storage / Watson & Taylor told me recently….
The key I use is the old list and prioritize. Years ago before all the electronic devices, I was taught by my dad to plan my day. Always write your goals down for the day on a legal pad then prioritize them so the most important are given immediate attention. If everything doesn’t get done you have the start for the next day. During the day, as things arise, your list may grow and the priority may change. Later in business, I had the privilege of attending a Franklin Planner seminar on using a day planner, which just reinforced those things I had been taught early in life. As technology has morphed my daily planner into a smart phone, I still use the basics of planning and prioritizing.
Keeping a planner can really help make sure that all your daily tasks are complete in an order of priority. It’s easy to get distracted so if you know what is most important and needs to be done that day, it is helpful if you start there.
Over the years Susan Ries and I have also developed a really friendly relationship. I once even told her that some of the tasks I was getting from her stressed me out. I confided (somewhat jokingly) that I am a stress eater and so I was going to have a big lunch after talking with her. After my confession, she would e-mail me with the title “cheeseburger” or “french fries” and I knew that it was going to be an intense one.
Susan Ries is the Executive Administrator and General Manager for Sentry Self Storage Management. She is a great example of someone that wears many hats.
I try to start each morning knowing that all the important items of the day(s) before are done before I sit at my desk, especially on a Monday morning. If this means working a bit the night before, or getting up earlier in the morning and getting it done, I do my best. I hate starting a day with a list! But the list starts early. I envision each task as a drawer in a file cabinet. Some of the drawers have pockets…for the little stuff that fall under a big title. I keep lists! I use Google calendars and reminders for EVERYTHING. The items that I keep on paper, I use colored paper so I can find them readily.
Susan continues, “During the day…..drawers are opened (new tasks), drawers are closed (completed tasks) and unfortunately…some are stuck open when I leave for the day. If they are STUCK open….I try to resolve the issue by sending emails for help (I am never shy to ask for help) I learned long ago that the only stupid question is the one that is never asked. I try doing research, setting up different scenarios. If this doesn’t work, I close all the emails, play some mindless games on Facebook, listen to music and GO to SLEEP, setting the alarm to wake early, with a fresh outlook. This usually works.”
Learn to Delegate
One of the things I have learned through out my life is that I need to delegate and not be so quick to say yes when I am asked to take on additional tasks. Another huge part for me is to prioritize my lists and know what has to be done first and what can wait.
The second piece of advice I can give is to learn to trust, delegate and follow up. As a team we can accomplish more than an individual.
This couldn’t be truer. The secret to me being able to do everything I do is to have a great support system. I have the pleasure of working with some of the most amazing people who will step in and help when needed. In my personal life I have a husband who does anything he can do to help me, and last but not least I have five children that are more than happy to earn an allowance for helping around the house. My final piece of advice would be to surround yourself with trustworthy, supportive people.
Do you wear many hats? How do you stay on top of things? Share below in the comments section!
Alonna Ross is an Operations Analyst for the U-Haul Self-Storage Affiliate Network, where she handles coordinating Sitemaps, Centralized and Certified Mail, and Message Boards . Alonna also works with groups that utilize the WebSelfStorage Business Platform along with assisting new WebSelfStorage Business Platform locations through the setup of their account. She has been in the industry for over six years.