As professionals in the home design and building industry, we can create just about anything! We can transform a client’s vision of a home into an elegant reality. We can overhaul dated decors and make spaces inspirational and aspirational. We can install safe, efficient electrical and plumbing systems to enhance convenience and facilitate cost-savings for our customers. We build, install, dream, and do. The one thing that we cannot create, though, is more time in the day. We’re stuck with the same 24 hours as everyone else. But with our trademark ingenuity and determination, we can make those hours count. Let’s get more done!
Boosting Productivity: 5 Actionable Tips for Home and Design Businesses
If you are like many home design and building professionals, you are always on the go. Projects, plans, clients, employees, and vendors dominate your schedule, and it can feel like your days are spent attacking the now rather than strategizing for the next.
It’s like running on a treadmill: you can go as fast as you can, but you’re not getting anywhere. By implementing a few proven productivity practices, you can free your time – and energy – to start charting your own path.
Our top five tips:
Leverage Technology to Take Control of Your Time …
Does time get away from you? It happens, especially when you’re engaged with your work. Utilizing time more effectively is essential, and technology can be a game-changer. BuilderTrend, for example, is a robust construction management solution that enables you to manage project planning, estimating, subcontractor scheduling, and client relations in a “one stop shop,” if you will.
This saves invaluable time, particularly when it comes to customer/client management. BuilderTrend allows clients to access their building schedule, current status, important updates/reminders, view and share photos, track spending, categorize expenses, access key documents (e.g. warranty information), view and approve change orders, and message your team.
While it is essential that you are always available to address customer concerns, BuilderTrend gives them their very own secure website to track their project’s progress, and they can find answers to many of their questions. This is preferable to many as they can do so whenever they want and from wherever they are.
… But Don’t Let Technology Take Over
BuilderTrend is just one solution. The key is finding those that will work for you and your business. Which brings us to a bonus technology tip for enhanced productivity: don’t be lured in by new flashy technology that promises to solve all your problems. (Spoiler alert: they won’t.)
For example, if you’re a solopreneur and you find paper and pen, calendar, or a whiteboard to be the most effective way to track your to-dos, there’s no need to spend money on planning software – and then waste time trying to figure out how to make it do what your big dry erase board already does. If your simple process gets the job done efficiently, avoid over-complicating matters.
Productivity comes from knowing which tools you need – and how to wield them.
As a business owner, your time is your most valuable asset. Prioritizing is a critical skill that you will need to hone. The first step is simple: arrange your to-do list in order of importance. What is critical? What must be done versus what is nice to get done? And, importantly, do you have to be the one to do it? Can you delegate tasks to other members of your team?
This prevents you from wasting time on trivial tasks and allows you to devote your energy to those that are urgent/important.
There is a caveat here though: if you are having trouble finding motivation or getting down to work (it happens to the best of us!), checking off a few smaller, less important tasks can help you gain momentum. The key here is to switch over to big tasks when you hit your groove and apply that energy and confidence.
Protect Your Time
Again, time is money! While prioritizing to-dos is a great step, there are others you can take. For example, keep Parkinson’s Law in mind. This is the theory that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”
In other words, if you allot 60 minutes for a meeting, you’ll typically use 60 minutes. If you schedule 30… you get done in 30. This isn’t true of everything: for example, a concrete floor needs 24-48 hours to set. You can’t give it 12 and expect it to meet your expectations. But for other activities (e.g. phone calls, meetings, emails, etc.), try limiting the amount of time you give yourself to complete them. You’ll find you free up several hours each week.
Master the Art of Saying “No”
Need more time? Do less. Before committing to appointments, tasks, and obligations, think carefully. Many of us want to say “yes” automatically to requests for our time, but it is worth asking yourself a few questions: What is the benefit? Do I really need to do it? How long will it take – realistically? Will it divert my time, energy, and resources to activities that are not mission-critical in some way?
Some people feel selfish when they deny a request for their time. This is worth considering, of course, but overextending yourself does not do anyone any favors in the end. Bottom line: will the request fill a genuine need or is it a time-wasting distraction? Don’t say “yes” out of politeness; think first of the impact on your business and schedule.
Work On Your Business
We often get caught up in the day-to-day. Christina Garten, of Christina’s Complete Clean, says, “It’s truly amazing what can happen when a group of like-minded people get together every other week to work on their business rather than in it.”
Christina has been a member of Home Artisans of Indiana for over four years, and she finds tremendous value in the opportunity to “strategize with others and gain insight on how other home improvement companies operate.”
Home Artisans allows small business people to give and receive honest feedback and access industry insights that can propel their companies forward. Could there be a better use of time? Or a better return on it? According to Christina, “Collaboration from human resource management to the best way to send a thank you note, we share, we discuss, we support. The best way to explain it is we buildbetterbusinesses together.”
You don’t have to build from scratch or struggle with every problem. You can rest assured someone else has had it, has solved it, and is happy to share and advise. When you lean on the support of fellow artisans and professionals, you gain a significant competitive advantage – in a non-competitive environment.
Home Artisans of Indiana
At Home Artisans of Indiana, we build better businesses together. From resources and referrals to connections and community, collaborating and sharing with like-minded home and design professionals helps you maximize your time – and your results. Increasing productivity is all about using your finite time to achieve infinitely exciting goals. Get in touch today.