“…most people don’t schedule their work. They schedule the interruptions that prevent their work from happening” – Mike Monteiro, Mule Design
It comes down to who owns your time – is it you? Your employees? Your clients? Where are you losing minutes and hours every day? A couple thoughts:
- Do you have phone hours? A business here in Virginia only lets people leave messages – you’ll never get a live person – and they only return calls during certain hours on Mondays and Wednesdays. That’s insane. We’re in a service business. That said, you are allowed to shut the phone off if you’re in the middle of a big project, and odds are there’s no need to answer when someone calls at 9 am on a Sunday (unless you’re an irrigation contractor).
- Are you the narrow part of the funnel? Where I used to work, we were never given any training, and we were backcharged for any mistake. One designer was backcharged $4000 on a job where his commission was $1500. Needless to say, we were all terrified to make a decision and wouldn’t do anything without getting the boss to initial it. This meant that all day long, every day, there was a line of 4-5 designers and project managers waiting outside his door. The only way he ever accomplished anything was to come in early and stay late. Are you making decisions because your employees are afraid to?
An exercise that I have to do every few months is writing down how I spend my day, tracking my activities in fifteen-minute increments. Start there, see where you’re bleeding off time (watching guys load trucks? trying to get your mojo back after five interrupting calls? watching trebuchet videos on YouTube?), and start fixing it.
If you’re like me, you hate the administrative side of the business, but it has to happen. My trick? I bought a $4 kitchen timer at Target. When I have to do contracts, billing, etc., I set the timer for an hour and that’s it – I’m not allowed to do anything else for that hour. The bell dings, and I can either set it for another hour if need be, or I can move on to something else.
We only have so many minutes. Make them count.
The Who Owns Your Time? by Landscape Design Lab, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.