Wasted time costs money, but money alone will not address time management issues in a company. But good time management strategies mean more than just identifying priorities.
“Having a to-do list is a wish list. But it’s not a plan,” Mark Richardson, ESS speaker and industry expert, says. “What you need to do is take inventory of what you’ve got, create a system, and if you can have a system, then you can start to measure and get the schedule in balance.”
Writing down a detailed schedule not only helps you remember your schedule, but cuts down on the time spent wondering if you’re forgetting something. Timebooks and intentional scheduling will help keep you and your team on track.
Here are five tips for time management for remodelers and home improvement pros from the 2020 Extreme Sales Summit. Want even more sales tips and tricks? Get exclusive content by registering for Extreme Sales Summit On Demand.
An efficient use of time doesn’t always mean effective. Stepping back from a to-do list and examining the items can help pros prioritize their time while also double checking if something actually needs to be done or is ready to be done. For example, a quick, friendly call to a client before drafting a contract can ensure that the client is ready to move forward and sign. If they’re not on the same page, this call can help you redirect the time that would have been spent drafting that contract. Once it’s established that an item is essential, zero in on that item and dedicate your complete focus to the task at hand.
Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, saving heavy work, not-client-facing work such as making budgets for when you feel best can help increase your productivity. This gives the best chance for getting into an effective workflow.
Reactive time is time spent reacting to things out of your control, while proactive time refers to time spent on actions initiated by you. While you cannot eliminate the time spent on reactive tasks, maximizing proactive behaviors helps keep the ball in your court. Richardson recommends an 80-20 rule to ensure that there is enough time left to communicate with clients and make sales.
Once you have a schedule and routine down, communicating that schedule with team members and clients helps reduce reactive time by setting expectations. Instead of constantly asking when someone can meet, clients and team members can then anticipate the times when you’ll be available, expediting the process. Proactively emailing clients at the beginning of the week asking if they have any questions or would like to meet can also reduce reactive time.
Team members can take it a step further by meeting with clients ahead of the start of the project to create a calendar detailing all expected meetings, crossing out dates with vacations and other appointments to keep things on schedule. During each meeting, employees can set aside 5 minutes to review the calendar and make any changes.
Instead of doling out tasks to team members, giving them a time schedule, and letting them go, leaders can increase the team’s productivity by acknowledging individuals for tasks completed. With this encouragement, team members will be more likely to jump into the next task with renewed energy and enthusiasm. Keeping morale up is especially important during the pandemic. Even though the remodeling industry is doing well as a whole, team members may still be dealing with isolation, disruptions in childcare and education, and possible illness.
Part of the “new normal” is that working from home offers more flexibility in scheduling, which is ideal for confronting the curve balls of these challenging times. If taking a hike in the middle of a slow Thursday will push you to be the best on Friday, that’s now an option. Additionally, there is more room to attend to family responsibilities as they happen–be that taking a child to soccer practice or helping set up for virtual school. By being present and getting personal jobs done effectively, you won’t have to worry about those concerns while you’re working and dedicate 100% of your focus.
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