The Ultimate Time Management Guide for Tradies
25 November 2021
One of the common issues many tradies face is how to effectively manage their time.
When you started your business, you probably had grand plans about creating your own future and what that would look like - a profitable business, more flexibility with your schedule, more time to spend with family.
But it doesn’t take long for most trade business owners to discover that, when you’re running your own business, time is your scarcest resource, and time management is a daunting task. Before you know it, the demands of work take over, your schedule is out of control, you are working long hours to try and manage it and you come home every day stressed out!
The good news is, there is a pathway forward. And with a bit of structure and planning, you can learn how to shift your mindset and develop a time management plan that will help take control of your time and schedule to give you back hours in the day.
Step 1: Start with the end in mind
Before you drill down to how you should be spending your time, you need to create a north star for your business to work towards. An achievement that will make all your hard work worth it in the end!
Effective time management begins with a clear vision (your north star) of what you are working towards. Your vision helps you focus and prioritise your time. Simply ask yourself – is completing these tasks or activities the best use of my time that will get me closer to my vision?
Step 2: Understand where you spend your time
To become effective at time management, you first need to know where your time goes. And to know where your time goes - you guessed it - you’ve got to regularly audit your time by completing a time-log.
Your time can be thought of in three categories:
Working on your business
Working in the business
Use a time-log to get a better reflection of what a typical week looks like for you so you can understand where you currently spend your time.
Step 3: Value your time
One of the biggest mistakes managers of trades businesses make is not valuing their time.
The value of your time is not your charge-out rate and it’s important to understand where spending your time creates the greatest value for the business. (hint: it is working on the business and building your asset).
Of course, as a business owner you wear multiple hats and you have to generate cash to pay the bills. It’s about getting the balance of where you spend your time right.
Step 4: Reallocate your time
Now that you have understand where you currently spend your time and understand the value of your time, you can start to identify ways to reallocate your time so that you are maximising the time you have available to you.
Step 5: Measurement and holding yourself accountable
In our experience, measuring results and holding yourself accountable are the #1 things you can do to improve time management. As the old saying goes, ‘what gets measured, gets done’.
Planning is the easy part, but execution is bloody hard. It’s easy for a busy person to fall back into the habits of always being busy. So, to help hold yourself accountable for getting your tasks done, set up a structure from the outset that helps you stay on track. And find someone you trust who can hold you accountable to achieving your goals.
Step 6: Time block your way to success
Once you know where you should be spending your time and how much time you should be spending on administration, working in the business and working on the business, you need to schedule time blocks each week where you can focus on executing your plan.
Improved time management can start with a 90-minute block each day where you work on the important and urgent tasks first thing in the morning and another 90-minute block in the afternoon for the important but not urgent.
During these times you should completely remove distractions. Turn off your phone and emails and ask your employees not to bother you during these times.
Tradies workbook: Own your time and get hours back in your day
It doesn’t take long for most trades business owners to discover that time is their scarcest resource. Before you know it, the demands of work take over, your schedule is out of control, you are working long hours to try and manage it and you come home every day stressed out!
The good news is, there is a pathway forward. The Tradies workbook: Own your time and get hours back in your day can help provide the structure and planning you need to learn how to shift your mindset and develop a plan that will help you take control of your time and schedule to give you back hours in the day.