Being a contractor involves a lot of phone calls, meetings, and multitasking — and that’s not accounting for last-minute changes.
To stay on schedule while keeping your sanity, you have to know how to manage your time properly. These 7 useful tips will help you save precious time on daily basis to keep things flowing!
1. Track time
Tracking time is useful for many reasons. First, it’s great for productivity’s sake — we tend to focus more on work when we know the clock is ticking.
But it’s also good for accounting. You can use time tracking to calculate how much specific jobs will cost — and the more you know about how long you take to perform certain tasks, the easier you can provide precise estimates.
2. Important tasks are priority over easy ones
We tend to go for the easy tasks over any others, but this is a mistake. Easy tasks can take longer than expected, especially when we’re being so relaxed while focusing on them — after all, we picked them because they were easy.
You can go for the quick tasks first, depending on the situation, but what you should really do is go for the most important ones.
Then, whatever happens during the day, you can rest assured knowing the most important part is done — now you only have easy and quick tasks to deal with.
3. Break bigger tasks down into smaller ones
Anyone who’s ever written a to-do list can assure you they have written one monumental task right beside trivial ones, and it looks horrifying. For example:
- Buy some fruits
- Pay insurance
- Vacuum the living room
- Start my home improvement business
Everything was fine until that last one. How are you supposed to cross that off your list anytime in the next week?
This is when you break it down — take any big task and turn it into several bite-sized tasks. This way, the list item “Starting a home improvement business” becomes something like:
- Brainstorm name ideas
- Check online domain availability
- Hire a designer to create a logo
- Create Facebook page
- Place an ad on the local newspaper
- And so on…
Much more manageable, huh?! You can add as many as you want, as long as they are achievable. Start crossing those off, and pretty soon, that one huge task is done.
4. Focus on one thing at a time
There’s always some degree of multitasking when working as a contractor, so the secret to focusing on individual tasks boils down to managing time.
Knowing how long jobs will take is already of great help, but something that works for most people is to not let yourself get interrupted — at least, not all the time.
It happens often that you’re doing something important and something else just as important comes up. Do you let go of what you’re already doing to deal with the new thing?
Generally speaking, no. I can’t say this is true for every task, but as a general rule, first you should finish what you’re doing. If necessary, write down what was the other thing that came up, and you can work on it right afterwards.
This attitude keeps you focused and requires you to do less juggling, consequently, saving you time.
5. Save files on the cloud
With today’s systems, it couldn’t be any easier.
On Mac computers, iCloud already does that automatically for any files you create using Apple’s native apps. For everything else, just drag it to your iCloud folder, and it’s done.
For Windows, OneDrive and Google Drive work wonders. Google Drive allows for up to 15GB of space on a free account, meaning you’ll probably won’t need to upgrade.
But why save on the cloud at all?
Because you can have all your contracts, estimates, sheets, schedules, accountings, etc., all accessible to you whenever and wherever you are.
Your laptop or PC crashed? No worries, go to any other computer (or even your smartphone) and access your files there. With internet connection, the files will be automatically updated.
Don’t have access to Internet? All your files are also saved locally, or have the option to do so.
You need one specific file and you don’t know where you put it? Take advantage of the search feature — look for files by name, date, or owner.
Need to take your laptop to work somewhere else? Your files go with you and will be automatically updated.
We highly recommend Google Drive because of the 15GB of free space and 100% online office tools.
6. Automate social media posts
Posting on social media is something you can easily automate with a free tool like Buffer.
Set up your posts for the entire week in one day, and let Buffer do the rest while you focus on other tasks — it’s great. For small business owners and contractors, the free version works wonders.
7. Use notes and reminders
Take advantage of having a smartphone — they’re fantastic for this. Need to remember something for later? A number, a value, a date, a task — whatever it is, set a reminder for it. As soon as you can check your phone again, everything will be there and you delegate what needs to be done next.
You can also take detailed notes for any kind of project, from simple to-do lists to long breakdowns. Apple’s native Notes app gets the job done wonderfully. If you have an Android phone, you can use the extremely popular and efficient Evernote, wonderful for taking notes and scanning documents to save them on the cloud.
Or, if you prefer the real thing, simply get a small notepad you can carry in your pocket!
Take the first step towards growing your business today and start receiving leads that will make you money — Sign up with homeyou!
This post is not sponsored and has no endorsements of any way. All suggestions are based on providing you options based on solid research and contractor advice.