Many people in their business day are out of control because they’re
making the wrong choices on what to do with their time, says Ed Gancarz,
principal of the SHA+RP Institute. “The whole issue of time management in our
business lives revolves around making choices,” he said.
For example, recently, a friend was visiting Gancarz at his home. “As we
were momentarily waiting for my garage door opener to raise the door, my friend
said, ‘Hey, you don’t have that high-speed garage door opener. You should get
one of those.’” Gancarz said, “But I didn’t understand the need. How much of a
hurry are we in these days that not only can we not manually open the garage
door, but now we need to have a super-fast automatic overhead door opener?”
Faster garage doors won’t find us the time we’re looking for, but making the
right choices will.
Gancarz offers some tips for time management:
• Decide weekly, then daily, what to work on.
Be driven by the compass — what you need to get done — rather than the
clock. Decide on your priorities for each week, then each day, and accomplish
them. For example, some contractors haven’t invoiced jobs simply because they
don’t have time to send out their bills. This leads to cash-flow problems.
• Choose importance over urgency.
If phone messages or e-mails don’t contain issues that need to be dealt with
immediately, respond after your priorities are finished.
• Slow down to work faster.
Organize your work space, including your store or your truck. There’s a
saying: Sort. Straighten. Shine. Standardize. Sustain. Everything has a place,
and putting it there will increase productivity.
• Identify time wasters.
Everybody has wasted time in their workday. Do a waste analysis
identifying your own wasted time. Typically, most of the time wasters in your day
are within your control.
• Identify two or three areas where you would like to improve.
Do you want to sell more service agreements? Get more new construction
jobs? Decide what you want your business to look like, and then rate how well
you’re doing in each area. Then, focus on these “large rocks” not the trivial many “small rocks!”
• Put relationships first and tasks second.
Work with the customers in front of you first; handle phone calls and e-mails
• Deliver highest quality service, anticipate needs and respond.
Callbacks are the biggest time wasters. Take the time to do the job right,
and eliminate wasted time later.
• Know that people who write things down are three times more likely
to accomplish them.
Many contractors go into business on their own to make more time in their
lives. After all, nobody says on their deathbed, “I wish I would’ve worked more!”
But after beginning their businesses, they find that they have less time.
Although business may be good and you’re busy, busyness is not success. We
can still work less hours than we worked for someone else and make money, if
we manage our time a little bit more.
Coming Next Month: Once-a-Year Cost Cutting Ideas. Set it and Forget it!
Edward Gancarz is the principal of the SHA+RP Institute. Its services include
small business consulting and training, individual and group coaching,
organization development, call center management and marketing and selling
support. If you would like business training conducted at your Totaline store,
contact your parts store manager or the SHA+RP Institute.
Phone: (315) 263-1234