Time Management and Communication Boundaries for Painting Contractors
We live in a time of constant contact with everyone and anything at the click of a button or a refresh of your phone.
The seemingly unimportant becomes urgent.
The priorities of others become ours and our productivity goes down the tubes.
We are inundated with communication distractions throughout our days to the point where everything demands our immediate attention and all the problems, inquiries, and challenges from our team and our business become the focus at hand with the drop of a hat.
The seemingly innocuous question,“Got a minute?” suddenly becomes the secret code to break down your mental focus.
Can You Relate?
If you’re anything like me, being intentional with communication & time management is paramount to achieving REAL productivity and facilitate creative deep thinking.
When I was in the beginning of building my business, I struggled with finding the time to accomplish everything I needed to while also producing the work needed to sustain the business. The hat rack was empty because they were all precariously perched on my sweating head. Every morning I would wake up, get ready for work, hit the paint store, and drive to the job. During the course of the day I would field phone calls, answer emails, respond to texts, invoice clients, etc..
The fact is, I had no discipline system set up for when and where I was going to streamline running the business. I was running the business and working in the business all at once– and, boy, it was chaotic! The main pain point was the lack of focus in regard to time management and communication priority. What I understand now is that I had all the time I needed, but lacked the structure to be effective with it. On top of that, I now realize that correspondence via email/text can be timed to suit my needs to meet that structure.
The very first thing I implemented from DYB was to have regularly scheduled “Jam Sessions” where I could get the most important work of the day done, uninterrupted.
Being a morning person, I chose 5:30-6 am. I know it doesn’t seem like much, but it was the first step into freeing myself from the chaos.
I also chose that time because I knew, with almost certainty, there would be zero pings and dings on my phone during that time to derail my productivity. It worked!
I got the major items done for the day and I was able to get to work knowing I tackled the days biggest admin duties.
Over time, 30 minutes became 1 hour.…1 hour became a second hour (from 5-6pm daily)… and so on. Having those Jam Sessions was revolutionary for giving me unhindered time to work on business building and maintenance that I so needed.
Pro Tip: If your jam session is during daytime hours, consider airplane mode for your phone.
The 9 Minute Rule
First, let’s deal with texts. The common scenario I fell plague to was when a team member would send me question, comment, or request via text. Historically, being that I suffer from “Superman Complex”, I would respond milliseconds after receiving said text.
I wanted to fix everything and I knew all the answers! What this was doing was training my team members that I was reachable at anytime for ANYTHING throughout the course of the day.
I needed boundaries to keep communication from derailing my focus throughout the day. If you talk to Steve about this, you’ll be familiar with the 9 Minute Rule.
Unless a house is on fire or a team member injured themselves, I don’t respond to work related texts for minimum of 9 minutes.
What this ended up doing was having the reverse effect my immediate responses had to my team. They were now being trained to problem solve, redirect their thinking, or collaborate with other team leads to figure out a solution.
I’m no longer the lynch pin guiding every decision made.
As for email, there is no need to email anything business related between 7pm and 7am. If a client or vendor decides you don’t give them the attention they deserve, if they demand communication during these hours, perhaps they are not a good fit for your business.
There are many time management strategies out there, these are just the two I have seen the most instant results in while building my business through 1-1 coaching with Steve. These don’t cost anything upfront… but save you a ton on the backend.