3 Time-Saving Tips To Make Your Day Easier As A Contractor
Updated: Sep 10, 2021
Working 40, 50, even 60 hours a week is not uncommon in the home services. And with a constant flow of texts, calls and emails coming in from customers who need service and employees who need guidance, it’s almost impossible not to feel pulled in a thousand directions. You probably feel stressed, overworked, and just plain tired.
With good time management skills and a few tweaks to your daily routine, you can free up some time and get back to enjoying being a business owner and the freedom it can bring. Here are my suggestions!
Know What Tasks Actually Move the Needle in Your Business
Many of you are burning the candle at both ends. You’re hitting burnout status because you’re working so hard to keep up with the high demand for your services.
The truth is, you’re probably doing more than you need to...
You see, more work doesn’t always equal more money. In fact, it can be just the opposite.
There’s something called the 80/20 rule, where 80 percent of the results in your business are coming from 20 percent of your effort.
It’s easy to get stuck doing a lot of busy work that ultimately doesn’t move the needle very much on your sales or profitability, but it looks and feels productive because you’re always moving and doing something new.
You can make your days easier and feel less stressed if you learn to identify the tasks that truly move the needle in your business.
You need to make a plan of attack on the 20 percent of tasks that are producing 80 percent of your results.
Want to save as much time as possible with appointments? Read this 👉 4 Easy Ways to Schedule Customers More Efficiently
If you’re not careful about identifying and focusing your energy on the things that matter, it’s inevitable that you’ll get pulled in one too many directions at once, and end up with feeling overwhelmed.
Doing lots of things that don’t really matter can be a huge waste of your time and energy, not to mention the mental toll that comes with always feeling like there is more work to do than hours in the day.
That’s why you need to make sure you’re doing only the activities that produce real results in your business.
Everything else should be delegated or automated.
Check Your Emails at the End of the Day
If you’re like most business owners, the first thing you do when you get to work is check your inbox.
This is a HUGE mistake!
Email is the worst time waster EVER because it’s so hard to keep focused and organized.
And if you’re anything like me, your inbox is filled with junk and unimportant emails that probably don’t deserve your immediate attention, anyway.
And then when you do have time to deal with the important emails, there are usually more than a handful of them...
And they all require your attention in some way or another.
It can feel like you - the business owner - have a hundred other bosses telling you what to do, when to do it, and how to do it.
You might feel paralyzed by the amount of emails that require action on your part.
This can be stressful if it’s not managed.
All of these emails distract you from the priorities in your business, so instead use a reverse schedule.
Instead of opening your inbox to a flood of demands first thing in the morning, check your emails after lunch.
Make the most of the first half of your day. That’s when you feel fresh and can be the most productive.
That’s your time to focus on the priorities and goals in your business.
And by waiting until after lunch to dig into your emails, you won’t feel the need to respond to email during your lunch hour.
That time is YOUR time.
If you want to calm the chaos in your business and personal life, you need to give yourself time to recharge.
Work-life balance is key to running a successful business and enjoying life.
By checking emails in the afternoon, you’re already feeling accomplished. You’ve spent the morning working on the critical aspects of your business and you can wind down from the rest of your day’s work.
As you respond to each email, keep a task list.
Prioritize emails that need your direct action. You can tackle each email as a “to-do” item for the next day or for some other morning later in the week.
If you have an assistant or someone who handles these things for you, set up a system where they can send you a daily or weekly update of non-urgent items. Allow yourself time to scan this list and tackle the highest priority items the next morning.
This system will save hours of your valuable time each week, which you can use for more productive things (like brainstorming new ways to scale your business or even just enjoying a little down time!).
Checking your emails at the end of the day may take a bit more discipline, but you will feel so much better overall.
Give Yourself Less Time to Do Things
Tell me if you’ve ever had this experience:
You need to complete a task and you tell yourself it needs to be checked off the to-do list at some point in time…
But you don’t give yourself any sort of hard deadline.
As a result, that project is constantly hanging over your head, nagging at you.
And you might chip away at it here and there, but you never feel like you’re making any progress.
You keep telling yourself: “I’m going to get this done eventually...”
But it just keeps carrying over, day after day.
Before long, you’ve made pretty much no progress and that task is still looming over your head.
The reason this happens so often is because we don’t give ourselves a hard deadline (or any deadline at all).
Deadlines are critical to good time-management!
They force us to finish things on time or else be faced with some negative consequences.
Without deadlines, there’s less motivation for action.
But here’s the thing, giving yourself a deadline isn’t enough...
If you really want to free up extra time in your business and in life, you need to give yourself LESS time than you normally would to do things.
What do I mean?
Parkinson’s Law states “work expands to fill the time available for its completion.”
Basically, it’s the idea that you will spend more time on something if you let yourself.
In other words, if you give yourself a week to complete a project, research shows you’re going to take that full week.
But if you only give yourself 1 day to complete that same project, you will push to get it done in that amount of time.
It may seem counterintuitive at first, but with a deadline fast approaching you’ll be much more likely to complete the task and move onto the next one.
You’ll get more accomplished in less time. And that can free up hours or days for more high-value work.
Take a hard look at the the tasks that are overwhelming you. How motivated are you to complete them? Are there any consequences for not getting these tasks done ASAP?
Don’t let that long to-do list keep growing and growing. You’ll constantly feel like there are more tasks than ever before.
Give yourself hard deadlines with less time to complete those same tasks than you normally would.
It’s amazing what happens when there’s no more room for delays - just like Parkinson’s Law suggests.
Now, I’m curious how you find ways to be more efficient. How do you free up extra time in your week?
What steps do you take to have better time management as a contractor? Leave a comment below and tell me what your time-saving tips are!