Pushed for time? Lunch on the run between meetings? Catching up with emails when everyone else has left the office or from home at midnight?
Does that sound familiar to you?
There is a lot written about managing your time more effectively. But, don’t you just want to become more productive and achieve more within the same time frame. In other words, ‘Work Smarter’.
We can all improve on our time management skills. Small changes can make a big difference.
Before you start...... Stop!
Take a few minutes to answer the question ‘What are the main long-term goals for you and for your business’.
Decide on your primary goal and then possibly a secondary goal. They should be achievable within 6-9 months. If they are likely to take longer than nine months, then break the goal down into two separate goals. Your goals should always be at the centre of everything you do, every hour of every day.
An example might be that you want to improve your communications to eliminate unnecessary time-consuming discussions or long email chains that take up too much of your time, within the next three months. Your secondary goal might be to improve your client experience with a view to increasing the number of recommendations by 25%, within the next nine months.
The two goals work well together. But you should always focus on the primary goal and only when you cannot progress it, as you wait for something, move to the secondary goal. Then as soon as you can resume your primary goal.
So, what are the small changes you could make?
At Kisiel Group, a building company based in London, we are very aware that time can often be less productive and so we have developed a short training programme to show our team five key ways which can help them to achieve better time management. We call this the 5 ‘P’s.
Prioritise your tasks based on your primary goal and your secondary goal. Initially have an overview before you get to the detail.
Review all your tasks at the beginning or end of the day. Whichever works best for you! Remember to prioritise tasks that will take you nearer to achieving the long-term goals you have set. This way you will action the truly important tasks.
Make plans but be prepared to change them – be flexible.
There is a well-known saying:
Fail to Plan and you Plan to Fail
Look at your goals and break them down into manageable chunks so that you can plan all the activities that will be involved in enabling you to achieve the goal.
Then consider potential delays, the impact of other people’s schedules and the things that are outside your control. If you plan well, you have a better chance of being successful.
It is all too easy to have a bit of a moan at times, but it slows people down - look for the positive in every situation.
A problem is just an opportunity to highlight your skills and professionalism to your client. They do not want to hear about negatives and neither does anyone working with you such as your building contractor or your supplier. Select a building contractor who gives you answers and solutions to issues rather than passing you problems that need to be solved. Everyone responds better and is inspired by a positive ‘can do’ attitude, so work with those who have a positive attitude.
- Pick up once
Do not keep going back to emails or moving drawings and papers around - deal with them.
It is so true the most effective time management is to only pick up a task once and deal with it fully and complete it. If you keep going back to a task, you waste time refreshing yourself with the details before you can resume it. Running a project with a building contractor who also has this philosophy and responds quickly to requests for information will assist you in achieving this.
Deal with tasks once.
They are what make the world go around - so develop good relationships.
You often need to rely on others for information or to complete a task. Look at how you can best get what you need, when you need it.
Here you might want to add a couple of extra ‘P’s - Politely Persistent. This helps to achieve the results that you are after and encourages your task to become the priority of the other person.
If you practise putting the 5’P’s into your daily routine, you can create more free time and head towards achieving your goals.
It is a journey and never too late to take the first steps to working smarter.
Visit our Selecting a building contractor page to discover more about this topic.