With the summer months nearly upon us, chances are you're starting to book in more and more jobs as customers hurry to get their jobs done ready for the holidays. The warmer weather provides better working conditions, and longer and lighter days means more work can get done. However, if you're struggling to juggle clients and projects, it might be time to assess your time management.
Time management is a crucial skill to nail. When utilised properly, it can increase efficiency and productivity – allowing you to successfully juggle various things at once.
With only a set amount of hours in the working day, getting a hold on time management is essential for any small business. Here are four time management tactics to employ during the summer months.
“By failing to prepare, you're preparing to fail.” Never have truer words been spoken – especially when considering time management strategies. Going about your working day without a plan to guide you is a recipe for disaster. It can lead to:
Thankfully, putting a strong plan in place can prevent these problems and put your time to much better use. The below are just some of the planning strategies you can adopt to improve your time management:
Prioritise tasks in order of urgency and importance: Adopting the ‘first come first serve' rule is an important one to remember when prioritising your work tasks – after all, no one likes a queue jumper. But sometimes a smaller job from a smaller client can take a step back when running the risk of losing a higher paying client who requests consistent and larger projects. Let clients know where they're at by providing regular updates throughout. Check how urgent each job is – you might find some customers are happy to wait longer if you can fit in around their plans.
Set SMART goals: SMART translates to specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based goals. These are crucial for effective time management as they act as the backbone for meeting important deadlines. They provide direction in the most stressful of times and ensure everyone in your team is on the path to the same achievable outcome – keeping you and your clients happy!
Allow for interruptions: No one has the power to predict what will happen throughout a working day. From unexpected client requests to over friendly household pets, things tend to crop up from time to time. Without planning for such interruptions, you may find important work falls lower and lower down your list of things to do – causing poor client relationships and stress. Instead, when setting your SMART goals, allow for a little leeway in between. This will give you time to respond effectively without letting standards slip.
Putting a plan in place is crucial for improving time management
Putting off invoicing, failing to delegate tasks and not taking risks; while some bad habits seem small, they can have substantial consequences on your time management if not nipped in the bud quickly. Let's look at the first example a little closer.
While some see it as just another time-consuming administrative task, choosing to ignore invoicing is a sure-fire way to not get paid on time – or even at all.
Organised invoicing is crucial for any small business looking to take control of cash flow. It also encourages repeat business and establishes professionalism.
When the risk of negative cash flow and overdrafts come into play, removing ‘ignored invoicing' as a bad habit should seem more important than ever. It's as simple as creating an allotted time in your calendar to organise finances and send invoices and sticking to it to get the invoicing done.
During the summer months, your workload may increase and as a result, you'll find yourself working harder to meet these demands. While a great work ethic is admirable, burning out on the job isn't. Failing to take short and regular breaks can have a significant impact on your mental and physical health. This can have a knock on effect to your productivity and cause your work to suffer.
Instead, setting aside 10 minutes before and after lunch, as well as an adequate lunch break, is great to recharge your mind ready to take on the next task. And no, this won't impact your time spent working – these breaks are crucial to doing a good job.
With time management tactics noted, it's time to get the tools to get the job done – and done to the best standard!
A quick question about colour or wallpaper choices, or how a product works, can quickly spiral into an hour of unpaid conversation. It's always good to provide helpful advice, but if the client needs more help with colours, wallpapers or products, liaise with your Resene ColorShop team to help them get the help they need. Our team can guide them through their choices, while you can focus on getting your paid work done.
The Resene Trade Blog
Information of interest for professional painters