Monthly Archives: January 2022

5 Business Skills You’ll Need to Run a Contracting Business

In order to run a business, you need a balance of business skills. You don’t necessarily have to go to college to get a degree, but your business is more likely to survive if you aren’t starting the process at the entry-level. Here are five skills you can start developing now to help ensure that you’re ready to begin strong.

Simple Budget Management
You don’t need financial expertise to be a successful business owner, but you do need to master the basics. In the early years, you may rely a lot on your own ability to:

  • Set a budget
  • Track income and expenses
  • Balance a budget
  • Plan spending to maintain cash flow

Accountants can be expensive. And while you’ll probably need to hire one on occasion for some tasks, you may be left to do several aspects of financial management on your own. Try it out with your own finances, so that you can test your skills before your business goes live.

Business Communication
Learning how to communicate with your future colleagues and prospective clients is an important aspect of running a business. The tricky part involves understanding the best way to communicate as a part of your field. Every industry has its own preferences, but it’s reasonable to start researching how to:

  • Bid on projects
  • Respond to business inquiries
  • Send invoices
  • Provide updates to business or residential clients

If you tend to rely a lot on spelling and grammar checkers to find typos and other problems in your writing, consider using a free or paid service that evaluates your writing first. Create a few templates that you can use regularly so that you only have to change names and relevant details.

Basic Technology
In a connected world, people tend to assume that they already know all the technology that they will ever need to use. And while this may be true for a lot of people, it isn’t always the case. Research the standards in your chosen field. Look up software options and test out ones that are free or low-cost to use. If you aren’t accustomed to working with spreadsheets or PDFs, now‘s a good time to start. This investment gives you an opportunity to figure out how it will work for you well in advance of needing to use it in relation to projects.

Research
If you ever wanted to know when you would need all the research practice you got in high school, running a business is a good example. Before you can even start your business, you should probably write a business plan. And for that, you’re going to need to do tons of research:

  • How to open a business in your area
  • Who your competition is, and what they charge for services
  • Target customers’ preferences

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend ages at the local library hunting down periodicals. Most of what you need may be readily available through an online search, assuming that you know how to do it. Practice using different combinations of keywords to find what you need, and get more comfortable with Boolean search techniques. This work makes it easier to learn without wasting your time clicking on useless links.

Project Management
In order to run a business wherein you complete regular projects, you’ll need to pick up some skills in project management. It’s not enough to know your own role in the task and be able to fill it. As a business owner, you may need to manage several people completing different aspects and ensure that the final result meets specifications. Pick something that you’d like to do around your home or a friend’s home. Make a list of every aspect that you have to manage over the course of that project. Create detailed plans to handle each one. Once the project is done, make a few notes on what worked and what didn’t. That way, you can increase your likelihood of success in the next round.

Starting a business may take years of preparation, and these skills can help. For more assistance about what you need to open a contracting business, visit CSLS today!

Is Multi-Family Housing the Trend of the Future for Construction?

When you think of residential construction, you might imagine a combination of single-family homes and multi-family units like townhomes or apartments. With rising home values and a continual demand for housing, there are many reasons to think that multi-family housing will become a major trend in residential construction. Here’s what you need to know.

Housing Prices Continue to Rise
The pandemic prompted a boom in the housing market that spread nationwide. As a state, California saw double-digit gains in home values from 2020 to 2021. In other parts of the country, metro areas saw home price increases of 20 to 30 percent. More people realized that they needed to choose a home that is more appropriate for living around-the-clock, which prompted millions to move. Lower interest rates and a generally strong economy made home-buying more efficient, which has driven demand to unprecedented levels. As prices grow with no anticipated downturn, the emphasis on affordable housing makes multi-family properties more practical for the long term.

Housing Demand Gets Tighter
As prices continue to go up, the demand for more affordable housing also increases. The National Association of Realtors reports that much of California’s coastal areas are suffering from some degree of housing shortage. Of course, this is not surprising to most people living in the state. It seems like there will always be more people looking to live in California than there are available housing units. Part of the recent increase in demand is competition from investors. Investors often have greater access to funds, making it easier to offer cash as a way to bypass homebuyers who need a mortgage. The rise in investment also drives up prices.

Rental Demand Continues to Grow
High housing prices and low housing inventory force many people to rethink their plans to purchase a property. The apartment industry took a hit in the middle of 2020, but it didn’t take long to rebound. In fact, many metro areas saw increases of 10 to 20 percent in the price of rent throughout 2021. Experts say that prices are likely to level out, depending on regional home prices and availability. The need for more housing in areas that are growing fast highlights multi-family housing as a practical long-term solution to a chronic problem.

There’s a Change in Scope for Commercial Construction
Of course, comparing different types of residential housing does not provide a complete picture of the entire construction industry. That’s where changes to the commercial sector come into play. At present, as the country copes with occasional surges of COVID-19 that force many offices to close, the need for commercial workspaces is changing. Industrial construction has a stronger market, like housing, because people generally cannot do industrial work from their homes. Expert suggest that the commercial industry may see a shift into multi-zoned construction, to account for a need for different kinds of commercial spaces.

Multi-Family Housing Makes a Reliable Investment
One of the reasons that the construction industry saw a dip in 2020 was that investors weren’t sure if their projects were going to be viable, once construction was complete. Multi-family housing presents a solution to a variety of problems, specifically access to affordable housing. Multi-family housing tends to be a more reliable long-term investment, because investors can spread out the risk across multiple units. That predictability in the context of a tight housing market offers more opportunities than it does concerns. In short, there’s little reason not to do it.

Multi-family housing is likely to be a big part of the next wave of construction. To take advantage of a future in the construction field, visit CSLS today!

5 Ways to Improve Your Contracting Business Productivity

For your contracting business, productivity is the way that you keep the money rolling in. The trouble is that knowing the best way to be productive isn’t always obvious. If you’re new to running a business, you might not know the most efficient routes to increase productivity without running yourself into the ground. Here are five things that you can try.

Set Deadlines
Within each project, there are lots of tasks that you need to do. Every task has individual parts that you have to complete. Depending on how long each part takes, you may need to set deadlines to ensure that you complete them on time. When a project is weeks or months long, it’s easy to assume that you will be able to follow a checklist in a linear fashion and arrive on time. Unfortunately, failure to plan accounts for a lot of late project deliveries. Set deadlines for your work, but make sure that they’re realistic. You might have to do some research before knowing how much time you need.

Keep Track of Your Time
It’s easy to lose yourself in a task, but keeping track of your time helps you know where it goes. Set defined hours for each responsibility you have throughout the day, and don’t forget time for breaks and lunch. Don’t feel pressured to book out every 15 minutes. If you’re not sure how long a task should take, take simple notes throughout the day that show when you transitioned from one step to another. After a few days, you should have a sense for the average amount of time needed. That way, when you set a schedule, you’ll be more likely to get it right.

Stop Trying to Multitask
Experts say that no one really knows how to multitask. Some people are better at shifting quickly from one task to another and back again, but that is still not the same as multitasking. Computers have the ability to devote processing power to multiple jobs at once, but humans aren’t computers. When you’re trying to do too many jobs at the same time, you run the risk of doing all of them slowly and badly. If you need to spend some time monitoring others while you work on your own tasks, set reminders for yourself to shift into supervisory mode. It will be easier for you to actually monitor others when you are not trying to get something else done at the same time.

Improve Your Delegating Skills
Everyone says that when you run a business, you have to be able to delegate. What they don’t tell you is how to get better at that. Early attempts at delegation can be faulty, because you didn’t give someone enough information to complete the task, or you assigned them a task that they simply can’t do. This doesn’t mean that delegation doesn’t work, or that your employees or subcontractors don’t know how to get work done. Rethink it. When you plan out your project, make a list of tasks that the people underneath you are likely to be able to complete at a reasonable level of quality. Note the information that they will need, and make sure that they have it. Over time, you will feel more comfortable delegating responsibilities to them.

Minimize Meetings
Meetings can be an important tool to ensure that everyone is on the same page, and provide real-time feedback on the status of a project. It doesn’t mean that meetings are always necessary or even the best way to make decisions and convey information. Some people love to hold meetings if only to hear themselves talk. But that approach can waste a lot of time, even if it feels like you’re being productive. Before you schedule a meeting, ask yourself if it might be easier and faster to do via email or even text message. For meetings that are necessary, set a defined goal and finish on time.

Productivity is a big part of your contracting business success. These tips can take it to the next level. To get high-level preparation for the contractor licensing exam, contact CSLS today!

Sick of Your Job? 5 Reasons 2022 Is the Best Time to Change

If the last couple of years has taught anyone anything, it’s that you deserve to have a job that you actually want to keep. If you have been working hours in an industry that you feel is going nowhere, you might start thinking that now is a good time to change. Although there’s a lot of upheaval in the world, there are also plenty of reasons to be optimistic. Here are five ways that 2022 could be the perfect time for you to change your career and get into construction.

Labor Shortages Are Everywhere
Every time you go to the store and see that one aisle is nearly completely empty, you realize that that job can’t be outsourced or assigned to a machine. Although automation is a popular topic as a way to replace workers in various industries, it’s not a major part of our present reality. Limited service hours and periodic outages are all signs that there are a lot of industries who are in desperate need of workers. You don’t have to come up with a reason to switch from one to the other, because all industries are hurting and needing more people to get involved.

The Great Resignation Is Real
If it feels like everyone you know is quitting their jobs, there’s a reason for that. In fact, throughout much of 2021, US workers quit their job at an average rate of 4 million per month. That’s significantly higher than any other year prior, and more than twice as high as the low in 2009. Workers these days are already less likely to feel as if they have to keep the same job from early adulthood until retirement. But the great resignation is definitely making people in all industries rethink the jobs that they have and whether they are worth keeping. So if you felt like now is a good opportunity to change, you’d be in great company.

Unemployment Is Down
All those people quitting their jobs doesn’t mean that there are a huge quantity of people who can’t find work. In fact, unemployment is much lower than the annual average. Unemployment hit a high of nearly 15% in April 2020, as many companies laid off workers in the early months of the pandemic. At present, unemployment is hovering around 4%. When you compare these figures to the statistics around people quitting their jobs, you get a more complete picture. People are leaving jobs that don’t work for them, and finding new ones in much less time.

There Are Tons of Growth Potential
At the same time as all this upheaval in the labor market, there has been tons of growth in different industries. Construction is a good example. The pandemic highlighted a lot of traditional approaches to building that don’t really work for society as it is now. That’s forcing a lot of renovation and rebuilding in both the residential and commercial building sectors. It provides a lot of opportunities for people who are interested in innovation to find a good career and grow with it.

Construction Is Waiting
In a way, the construction industry has been primed to handle the 2022 reality better than other industries. Construction has had a significant labor shortage for more than a decade. While that presents possible complications for existing businesses, it also offers great opportunities for people who invest the time now. You don’t have to worry that your current industry is more stable, because basically none of them are. Instead, you’ve got a chance to start building a career that can take you as far as you would like to go.

If you’re thinking about changing jobs, you couldn’t have picked a better time. For more information about building your own business in construction, visit CSLS today!

How to Read the Fine Print for Your Contracting Business

When you run a contracting business, you’ll have to review a lot of paperwork. Understanding the fine print is key because it can affect the way that you handle projects or interact with clients. Use these tips to get more out of your reading.

Take Your Time
When you read through a document before signing up for a service in your personal life, it’s easy to gloss over the details and just assume that you’ll be in good shape. As a business owner, you need to make sure that you understand what you are committing yourself to. Avoid signing a document under pressure, particularly if you feel like you’re in a hurry and need to decide quickly. Instead, take the time to read through it completely and ask questions if necessary. For the most important contracts, take a copy away from the meeting to review in-depth before you agree.

Read in Pieces
The thing about fine print is that it can be difficult and tiring to read. Even if you start out with the best of intentions, you may find yourself skimming over parts as time wears on. Get yourself a pair of reading glasses or a magnifying glass, if the font size is particularly small. Otherwise, plan to read it in pieces. For example, you might choose to read one page, then take a short break to rest your eyes or get a drink of water. This will allow the information you’re reading to sink in a little bit, which may raise important questions or concerns that you need to address. For large documents more than a few pages long, ask for a copy a few days in advance so that you have enough time to read it in stages.

Highlight Important Points
If you have ever put together a contract before, you know that they can include a lot of details in a few paragraphs. Extend that to a document of several pages, and there might be a lot of important information to remember. A good way to increase your retention of those details is to highlight them or take notes. If you have the ability, you can use a highlighter much as you would for a personal textbook. Otherwise, bring a notepad and pen to make notes in your own words. This repetition will help to ensure that you understand the details and can help identify aspects that are confusing.

Write Down Questions
When you spend 15 or 20 minutes reading a document before you sign it, you may think that you will remember everything that came up during your reading. Unfortunately, that probably isn’t true. By the time you reach the end of the document, you may be so relieved to have finished that you don’t remember the questions that you thought of at the beginning. As you read, write down all questions. If they are addressed at a later stage of the document, you can easily cross them out. The questions that are left deserve asking. Don’t feel bad about asking for clarification or for more information before you make a decision. It’s your business, so you deserve to be fully informed.

Ask for Help
If you’re worried that you might miss important details that could change the way that you normally run a project, it’s a good idea to have somebody else look at the document before you sign it. Make sure that the person you choose is someone that you can trust, but also someone who will read through the document as carefully as you. It’s no good to ask for a second pair of eyes, only to have them zoom through it and raise no issues at all. Many business owners keep a lawyer on retainer just for the ability to have an educated eye to review documents on their behalf. It could be well worth the money, particularly for the most important contracts.

Running a business often involves reading and reviewing a lot of documents. It’s a good skill that will help to keep you out of conflict. For more information about how you can build a successful contracting business, contact CSLS today!

Is Becoming a Licensed Contractor Your Goal for 2022?

The change in year often prompts people to make some resolutions or goals for the next several months. If you’ve been thinking about becoming a licensed contractor, you should know that 2022 could be the best time. Here’s how to know you are ready.

You Need a Career Change
Whether you are working in construction or in another industry, you might feel the pull of a different career. It’s common for adults to spend 10, 20 or even 30 years in one industry, only to realize that their interest lies elsewhere. Of course, making a career change can be a little nerve-wracking, particularly if you don’t know what you can expect for the remainder of your working life. However, construction has such a bright future ahead. You would be perfectly reasonable to look at its potential and conclude that now is a great time to get started.

You’re Excited About the Construction Industry
It may seem a little silly to be excited about a career, but it’s perfectly normal. There are a lot of things to be excited about for the future of construction, and you can be freely honest about what you’re looking forward to. Here are a few things that you can expect to see happening in the construction industry during the next several years:

  • Dramatic growth in commercial and residential construction
  • Adoption of new technologies, particularly those that improve efficiency and productivity
  • Changing styles of construction to meet the needs of a modern world

There’s going to be a lot of opportunities for people who are willing to put the time in to become licensed contractors. You may be in a great position to take advantage of it.

You Understand the Rules
Of course, there’s a big difference between getting a job in construction and becoming a licensed contractor. There are a wide variety of construction jobs that are available for entry-level applicants, and they typically do not require special certificates or licensing. Becoming a licensed contractor in California has a number of requirements, including years of experience and a passing grade on a licensing exam. Before you get too invested in the process, it’s a good idea to investigate these rules and the fees that you’ll have to pay when you are ready to apply for a license. If you already know, you may be one step closer to achieving your goal.

You’re Building the Right Experience
One of the most time-consuming requirements of becoming a licensed contractor is building a portfolio of experience that you can prove to the California State Licensing Board. As a general rule, you need four years of experience. There are some exceptions for people who have college degrees or extensive experience working on their own homes, but those exceptions can be more complicated to navigate. If you are accumulating the right experience that you know will count toward the license, then you may be approaching the time that you will be ready to consider applying to take the exam.

You’re Learning How to Run a Business
Although you don’t have to run your own business as a licensed contractor, many people choose to do just that. In fact, becoming a licensed contractor is the path that lots of construction professionals use to start their own businesses. But in order to run a successful business, you have to know how to do it. Getting a contractor license and having the skills needed to perform projects in exchange for pay is one thing. Handling all the administrative tasks and other management aspects of business are additional. If you’re already digging into those skills, you may be closer than you think.

The year 2022 is going to be a great one for people who are ready to become licensed contractors. Contact CSLS today to learn how we can help you prepare for the contractor licensing exam!

How to Close Up for Your Contracting Business

When you’re a contracting business owner, you are often the one responsible for finishing work for the day. There are a few last-minute tasks, and you need to make sure that everything is ready to go for tomorrow. Here are a few things to keep in mind, to help you with productivity when you return to the job site.

Clean Up the Workspaces
The first thing you need to do is ensure that each workspace is clean. Ideally, people who work on the task will clean it up and put equipment away when they are done for the day. If you’re a business of one, that may be you. Take a moment to look at the equipment and confirm that it is in good condition and ready for use the next day. Sweep away debris, and bag or box it up. If you need to return rental equipment, give it a good cleaning and put it in a place where you will not forget to take it with you. Once each station is generally clean, you may want to sweep walkways and high-touch points like light switches.

Check on Project Status
If you have been working on part of a project for most of the day, now is a good time to see where you are at by the end of the day. Take a look at your project schedule, and mark off all items that are now complete. If you are running behind schedule for any reason, assess how far behind you are and form a plan to keep progressing. Make a note of any unexpected concerns or delays, giving appropriate details so that anyone working on the project tomorrow will have the benefit of your information.

Make a To-Do List for Tomorrow
The next step is to make a to-do list for tomorrow, particularly in the morning. Ideally, you will have a to-do list for each project that you work on. However, if you have projects that last less than a day, you may need to plan them out daily, instead of a weekly basis. Don’t forget administrative tasks:

  • Emails
  • Payments for services
  • Invoicing
  • Ordering supplies and equipment

It is really easy to let these items slip while you are focused on a single project. But if you want to make sure that you have everything that you need for the next project, you should make them a priority. Plan to do them at the beginning of the day, so that you’re not tempted to push them off.

Follow Up With Clients and Employees
Your communication style may dictate how you respond to emails, text messages and phone calls. If you’re the type of person who lets all of it sit while you work on a task, you’ll need to set aside time to attend to it. Without it, you may lose out on lucrative projects and fail to keep your clients informed. Start by going through all the new messages and responding to each one that requires it. If you are waiting on documentation from employees, subcontractors or clients, now is a good time to reach out to them to make sure that they understand what you expect.

Attend to Security
One of the last things you should do before you leave the job site is attend to security. If it is your own workspace, you might have comprehensive knowledge of the alarms, monitoring, and sensor systems in use. On a client job site, you may have to go with other conventions. If you’re the last one to leave, you should plan to lock the gate, ensure that doors and windows are closed, and obscure expensive equipment and materials from view when possible. Activating the alarm system on your way out gives you a better assurance that if something happens, you’ll have a record of it.

 

Closing up the job site for the day can take time, but it is worth the investment. To learn more about how expert exam preparation can help you get the most out of your investment as a licensed contractor, visit CSLS today!

Is Your Contracting Business Wasting Money?

When you run a contracting business, you work hard to earn money. But you might also be wasting it, as well. Sloppy business practices can cost you more than you know, including the future success of your company. Here are a few things to watch for, and how you can avoid them.

Avoid Wasting Time
As a small business, one of your biggest expenses is labor. The longer it takes for you to complete a task, the more money you spend on it. You can’t rush quality, but there are probably plenty of things you do throughout the day that waste time unnecessarily. Evaluate your practices at least every year or two, and do research into new innovations and concepts that may make you more efficient. You might be surprised how much time you save by making a few slight changes. The best part is that you might be able to get work done more quickly without compromising quality, which allows you to take more projects.

Be Wise About Purchases
When you start a business, it is really easy to break your budget by investing in a comprehensive line of equipment and supplies. There are a few things that you will need to have for your business, but that list is probably nowhere near as long as it could be. Before you start shopping, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I need it for my business the way it is right now?
  • Will I use this all the time?
  • Are there ways to get this purchase for less?

Sometimes, there’s no alternative to paying full retail price. In many cases, you may discover that there are opportunities to rent equipment you don’t use frequently, buy equipment used or refurbished, or delay purchases until you really need them.

Pay for Quality
As with a lot of things in life, quality tends to cost more. When you are thinking about things that you need to buy or pay for, make quality an important factor in your decision. Buying low-quality equipment and materials may cost less, but they could also give you a low-quality result. When it matters, be ready to invest in something that will last longer and work better. And do your research so that you know the difference between a fair price for a quality item and an unreasonable markup on something cheap.

Minimize Material Waste
The construction industry produces a massive amount of waste. If you learn how to cut down on the waste you produce for your contracting business, you may save money at the same time. You can minimize waste by:

Keeping track of all of your purchases, so you know what you have spent

Maintaining an inventory of your supplies, so you don’t overbuy

Making plans to use excess materials instead of disposing of them

Be prepared to try out different strategies and see which ones work best.

Evaluate Business Strategies
For your business, you will probably employ a variety of strategies. For example, you may invest money into various marketing opportunities so that potential clients are aware of your business. Although it is common to outsource services like these, it’s important to pay attention to the return that they provide for you. If your marketing strategy isn’t getting you new customers, you may need to change it. Changing your strategies on occasion lets you experiment to learn what works and helps you avoid spending too much money on strategies that don’t work.

Earning money is one of the most important things that you do for your contracting business, but avoiding wasting money is also crucial. To learn more about starting your construction career, visit CSLS today!

How to Take Advantage of Your Days Off for Your Contracting Business

Even if you have a very busy contracting business, you’ll still need to take days off. And while those days are dedicated to other aspects of your life, they can have a positive effect on your business too. Here are a few things you can do to get the most out of them.

Put Away Work Responsibilities
One of the biggest keys to maintaining a balance between work and home life is to be able to put away your work responsibilities. Even if you do some tasks from home, you still need to be able to shut them off and focus on the rest of your life. Do your best to finish up your work responsibilities in a way that allows you to set them aside, physically and mentally. Creating that separation makes it easier for you to enjoy your time off, without feeling like you are abandoning your business and its important needs. Some people need to create a physical separation between themselves and their work, to avoid the pressure to keep going.

Take Care of Obligations
When you are busy attending to the tasks of your contracting business, you may be less focused on other obligations. If they have a tendency to pile up for your days off, one of the best things that you can do is to address them as quickly as possible. Make yourself a list of tasks that you need to complete, and estimate how long you need to do them. Be sure to prioritize the most important ones, in case you run out of time. If you find that your days off are entirely taken up by these obligations, you may need to adjust your daily routines to spread out the load.

Balance Your Exercise Program
Many jobs in construction involve some kind of manual labor. While it may feel like you are getting a good workout at times, you probably aren’t working out as comprehensively as you think you are. Figure out which muscle groups are getting the most work, and add exercises that will help to strengthen them and avoid repetitive injuries. Dedicate more of your time to muscle groups that aren’t getting a regular workout, so that you can keep them strong and limber. Don’t feel like you have to spend all of your time at the gym, though. Outdoor activities and playing with the kids may accomplish just as much.

Catch Up on Rest
Running a business can be exhausting, in large part because it often requires you to work longer days. If you tend to run a little short on sleep throughout the week, your days off are a good opportunity to catch up on needed rest. Try to avoid using your days off as a way to justify poor sleep routines during the week, however. No one wants to get to a day off and feel so tired that they have no energy for anything but sleep. It’s a lot easier to build more rest into your daily routine so that you can use your days off for relaxation. Even just taking some downtime to read or watch TV can help you to reset.

Get Ready for the Week
As your days off come to a close, it’s a good idea to start shifting your mind back into your work routines. If you typically pack a lunch for yourself for each workday, you might consider investing a little time on a day off to prepare them in advance. Making breakfasts that you can eat when you are in a hurry will help to ensure that you have the nutrients needed to do work and aren’t relying so much on energy drinks. Washing your work clothes and ensuring that your vehicle is ready will help you to start the next workday in the best position to be productive.

Taking days off is an important part of running a successful business. So is becoming a licensed contractor. To learn how, visit CSLS today!

5 Time Management Strategies for Your Contractor Licensing Exam Studies

Preparing for the contractor licensing exam takes plenty of time. When you’re not paying attention, you may lose track of it. If you’re going to balance life, work, and your studies, time management is key. Here are five things you can do to get more done in less time.

Be Realistic About Motivation
When you start to outline the tasks that you need to do for the day or for the week, you’ll probably notice your gut feelings about each one. Some will feel like they are a snap and maybe even fun to work on. Others could feel like drudgery or something that will take forever. Find a way to classify these tasks, such as putting them into easy, medium, or hard categories. That way, you can stagger the harder tasks in between the ones that are easier. If you feel like you only have to spend some time on a hard task, it may make it simpler to push through, so that you can get to an easier one.

Break Up Your Time
One way to accomplish more in a shorter period of time is to break up the tasks into smaller pieces. You don’t want to spend all of your time planning out every five minutes of your schedule, simply because that can decrease your productivity. However, breaking up your work into increments of 15 or 30 minutes can make the work feel more achievable. On days that you’re feeling tired or stressed, opt for shorter increments. That way, you don’t get lost in a single task and give up for the day because you’re too tired to finish.

Set Timers to Stay on Schedule
If you have ever had to research something online, you know what it means to completely lose track of your time management plan. To avoid getting stuck in research rabbit holes or spending too much time on any particular task, set timers that go off at a specific interval. Choose something that you cannot snooze in an instant, or you may turn it off without realizing. If you are scheduling variable times based on the individual task, you may consider using an app that lets you customize the schedule. Time-management apps can be a great way to plan out your time and choose alerts that will be most effective.

Reduce Distractions
To allow you to really dig into the subject you’re working on, make a point to reduce the distractions that you may encounter. If you need to switch books or notes, keep the next set close at hand but not immediately in your face. Otherwise, select a study area that allows you to minimize:

  • Noise
  • Excessive clutter
  • Harsh or insufficient lighting
  • Alerts from other apps
  • Disruptions from family members

If you find that distractions are constantly interrupting your tasks, you may need to choose a different schedule. For example, booking 30 minutes out of every hour as distraction-free might be easier to enforce than planning two solid hours of uninterrupted study time.

Plan for Breaks
If you don’t take enough breaks while you study, you may notice that you’re not retaining the information. Cramming can be a useful skill when you know you won’t need the information again, but it doesn’t apply very well to this process. Taking breaks is important for maintaining health and wellness, as well as lowering your overall stress level. It also helps you to process the information that you are studying, so that you are more likely to remember it. When you have a lot of difficult topics to get through, consider giving yourself a five-minute break for each 15-minute period of productivity. You’ll have an easier time keeping the momentum that way.

Time management is an important skill for preparing for the contractor licensing exam, but it’s also good for your future business. For the best tools in getting ready for the licensing exam, visit CSLS today!