Archive for the ‘Time Management’ Category

80%-20% Principle




I was working with a contractor. He says, he has just too much to do. He can’t get every project completed properly without burning out. I asked him if he knew of the 80-20 rule. He replied, “How does that apply to me?” I said that 80% of your problems probably come from about 20% of your clients. And that 80% of your income comes from 20% of your clients. My guess is it’s not the same 20%. So if you can eliminate the 20% of your problem client base, I guess you would not be burning out. Then we looked through his list of clients, ensuring that one; 80% of the problems were only 20% of the clients. And two, in his case, those problem clients were not the 20% that generated 80% of his income. When we found that the 20% that should be dropped could be dropped, I asked him to drop those 20% in any convenient way possible. Furthermore, I suggested, that taking clients at this 20% problem level wasn’t the right thing to do.

When accepting these problem clients, some part of his brain was telling him that taking this job is not going to be a good thing. But his fear of lack of money, or rejection, caused him to say yes, when he should’ve said no. I think intuitively we know when we’re making a mistake. And if we listen to that little voice inside our heads that nags us, and tells us we are in too deep. We would stop blindly saying yes to commitments we know are going to be difficult, if not impossible to keep. This begs the question, why do we keep saying yes to complex, unnecessary commitments, and accept responsibilities that we know we shouldn’t? I suggest that it is our fears. Fear of rejection, fear of low income, or even fear of letting a client down, can keep a small percentage of unnecessary problem jobs in the forefront of our big picture.


Driving Me Crazy: By Paul Sanneman

I know a general contractor who has a big time management problem. He has more to do than he can possibly get done. In a perfect world he would simply clone himself, unfortunately that’s not a practical solution. A real world solution is to hire somebody with his exact skill set. But since he’s been in the construction industry for 20 years, knows all the ins-and-outs of his business, and is literally irreplaceable, that person is impossible to find. Furthermore, an individual who could do even half of those tasks would cost a fortune. A reasonable solution was found by breaking down his typical day in the office/field. Bam! There it was. He was spending three hours out of the workday in a car. Problem solved, do his work while he drives, right? No. Not without killing himself and/or someone else. I suggested they hire a personal assistant that could serve as a driver, as well as assisting in other tasks. At first he thought the idea of the driver was absurd. I told him that I had a personal assistant who drove, as well as perform tasks that do not require my expertise. I have been using a driver for 10 years, and it’s worked out very well. I hook up a Wi-Fi hotspot to the car, bring along my laptop, and presto! I have a mobile office. This allows me to see more clients, as well as bettering the service for those clients. I suggested he try the same thing. This would give him three hours a day to do work he cannot do now. He should be able to do any work from his laptop in the car that he could do in the office.
Another technological innovation that is ready to aide his new mobile office is a cloud based storage and retrieval application. These types of applications would put all the files on his computer in the cloud. This allows him access to any file at any time, from his computer or cell phone. Cloud based storage is very inexpensive; it also provides a backup for all your data and information. The types of time saving tasks that my client could perform in the car while the driver is driving include: making important phone calls he needs to concentrate on, sending/receiving emails on his computer, and even doing estimates by looking at the plans on his laptop.
Sometimes the construction industry is slow to adopt new technology. But usually, if it’s used effectively, technology can be your friend and it saves a lot of time/money. There also happens to be a huge rate of return on investment if you hire a driver. By paying a driver $10-$15 an hour, you are able to buy back your time. This, as a business owner, is worth hundreds of dollars an hour. So for the small investment of a personal assistant’s salary, and the technology to go with it, you can actually buy that extra day or week that everybody is looking for.