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.
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.
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!