Keys to a Better Year: Four Steps For Better Time Management
So far, most of our ‘Keys to a better year’ I’ve talked about have been specific to construction: After all, this is Construction Finance. Construction is kind of our thing.
Some concerns in life, however, are universal. And time management is one of them.
No matter who you are or what you do, there are never enough hours in the day. Figuring out how to best manage those limited hours is crucial to your business and your overall happiness.
As I touched on in Seize the Day, there are multiple facets to time management, and not all of them have to do with the precise division of seconds.
- Take care of yourself.
Seriously. I know that things like ‘get eight hours of sleep’ and ‘eat enough vegetables’ sound both painfully obvious and super irrelevant to time management, but the reality is, a healthy you is a productive you. Sacrificing sleep to get more work done is like trying to save time on a roadtrip by never stopping for gas…it never works out as well as you think it will.
2. Do one thing at a time.
Again, I know how tempting multi-tasking is. I’ve answered three phone calls in the time it’s taken me to write this. So uh, do as I say, and not as I do?
But seriously. Experts far brighter than myself have proven over and over that you’ll get more done if you quit trying to multi-task. So please, quit trying to negotiate with suppliers while supervising your crew and eating lunch. You’re not doing yourself or anybody else any favors.
3. Make yourself a schedule, and stick to it.
This one goes right back to the multi-tasking thing. Particularly when it comes to incongruent tasks (think buttering up your supplier vs. lecturing Skylar about the need for protective equipment vs. reviewing the numbers with accounting), there’s a lot to be said for setting aside specific chunks of time for specific tasks.
Think about what needs to be done. Then think about the best time to do those things–keeping in mind both practical realities (9 PM isn’t the time to negotiate with suppliers) as well as how you’re naturally wired (speaking from personal experience, you don’t want the me who’s just reviewed numbers with accounting in charge of anything that requires getting along with other people).
4. Manage the other things in your life.
‘Taking care of yourself’ doesn’t just mean drinking enough water and getting the side salad at lunch.
The reality is, if your marriage is falling apart and you’re no longer on speaking terms with two of your three kids, it’s going to be hard to work productively.
Pay attention to your feelings. Take time out for hobbies. Do the things that make life worth living…it may seem counterintuitive to take the weekend off when you have 9,000 things that need to be completed, but often, that’s when it’s the most important. Making the time to handle your life means that when you are at work, you’ll actually be able to focus on getting the job done.
Does some of this advice make me sound like one of those flowery weirdos they interview on Oprah?
Yes. Yes it does. But occasionally, those flowerly weirdos are right.