6 Wacky Thoughts to Avoid in Your Construction Office

Avoid these wacky thoughts so your construction business runs better

Wacky thoughts and things come at us from every direction. Things which make us do a double take. And thoughts which have us putting on the brakes.

Some wacky things are just there, and you can’t do anything about them. For instance, unexpected weather changes and natural disasters.

On the other hand, some wacky things are rather enjoyable, like magic shows and flash mobs. (This is among my favorite flash mob videos – check it out.)

Wacky thoughts to avoid

In your construction office (more likely in your head) there are some wacky thoughts which you’re better off avoiding. Look at them as the “forest of doom,” and avoid them. Your day and your office will run more smoothly when you come to your senses and take the path away from that dreadful forest.

Wacky Thought number 1

I’ll remember this, I don’t need to write it down.

Ouch!

Everything from the gift you need to purchase on the way home, to the great idea to improve your construction contracting business needs to find its way to the written page.

This article from Dustin Wax on Lifehack explains why we remember what we write. It’s fun to see his explanation of the mental Catch-22 involved. “In fact, it seems that writing anything down makes us remember it better. On the other hand, not writing things down is just asking to forget. It’s a kind of mental Catch-22: the only way not to have to write things down is to write them down so you remember them well enough not to have written them down.” 🤔

 

Thus, here’s the kicker, writing it down means writing it down. Put down your phone, your iPad, your laptop, or other digital device and write it down! Read the article, you’ll see why pen and paper win out.

Wacky Thought number 2

Of course I’ll remember where I put this, it’s important.

When you find yourself at a loss concerning your ability to remember where you placed something – on purpose – it may be because you didn’t practice well enough what scientists call “effortful processing.” The thing is, if you don’t purposefully think about the placement in the first place, there’s no way you’re going to remember it later.

At first glance (and keeping Wacky Thought #1 in mind) you might think writing down the location would be the final solution. Turns out, you’re only partly right. Because there is every chance, over time, you’ll forget where you wrote it down. If you’re placing an object in a “safe place” because you’ll only need it every six to twelve months or sometime in the future, it’s possible you’ll need a better memory keeper.

Crazy as it sounds, that place is your brain. Yet, that depends on your ability to participate in effortful processing. And, writing it down can be helpful if it is a part of your purposeful processing.

It might look like this, “I’m putting Mom’s wedding ring in the treasures box at the back-right corner of my closet BECAUSE I want to give it to my niece in the future and it is a real treasure.” Write down where you put it and why you put it there. That will be a good memory boost.

And, if you do forget, here are some steps you can use to try to find your lost object.

  • Instead of panicking, sit down to think.
  • Let others know what you’re searching for, they may have seen it.
  • Use your own thought processes in your favor. If you were putting the object up today, where would you put it?
  • Yet, don’t assume it won’t be in a particular place because you would never put it there.
  • Conduct your search as if you’re a detective searching a crime scene – inch by inch.

If all else fails, buy another one. If you’re like me, you’ll find the original a day or two later. 😜

Wacky Thought number 3

This is a task I do pretty regularly, there is no need to put it on the calendar.

Even some daily tasks should be included as a part of your working calendar. “Pretty regularly” is too vague. Too vague in every sense of the word. Once a week tasks can be easily forgotten if you don’t have a calendar reminder.

Rashelle Isip, a professional organizer, productivity consultant, coach, and author, offers insight concerning why you should schedule tasks into your calendar.

She says:

  • Turn a task into a tangible item.
  • Focus on your work.
  • Have a record of your work.
  • Practice your time management skills.

You can see her complete article here. Check out the 3 tips she gives for scheduling tasks into your calendar.

Wacky Thought number 4

Why would I bother creating a checklist; I know the steps involved.

I am and have always been a fan of checklists. So, you would think I would have a lot to say on this subject. Truth is, I do.

Yet, I think Brett & Kate McKay, of The Art of Manliness, have said it all, better than I could. Check out their article here. They even include information concerning how to make an effective checklist.

Plus, I love that in the section of their article titled, The Power of Checklists in Action, they have a subsection titled, Construction.

Wacky Thought number 5

It won’t take long to check out (name your favorite social channel) after I make a post there.

My guess is, if you’ve had this thought, you’ve already followed it up with these words, “this time.”

As my mom, who was ever the lady, (yet could on occasion be brought to the breaking point of frustration) would have said, “My, my, I do believe that is a bit of horse do-do.”

There are 3 ways to avoid wasting time on social channels:

  1. Avoid them.
  2. Use tech to block them.
  3. Schedule them.

Using social channels to market your construction business is a good thing. On the other hand, using social channels to waste time . . . well, you know – a bad thing.

Because, liking, commenting, and being “social” on social channels is a good thing, it can sometimes be a challenge to know where to draw the line. What I’ve found that works best is to schedule social time. When the time is up, you’re done. You can schedule social for once a day, or for several times a day. Or, get someone else to help you or do it for you. 😉

Wacky Thought number 6

I’m just going to plow through this project until I get it done, I don’t have time for breaks.

I know, I’ve felt it too. There is a deadline, or a challenge, or something tangible on the table meaning getting this project done soon is imperative. Yet, taking breaks can have the effect of helping you do better work without wasting time.

Meg Selig, writing at Psychology Today, provides a summary of recent research and thinking on the value of taking breaks. She lists and explains 5 important reasons.

  1. “Movement breaks” are essential for your physical and emotional health.
  2. And, breaks can prevent “decision fatigue.”
  3. Plus, breaks restore motivation, especially for long-term goals.
  4. Breaks increase productivity and creativity.
  5. “Waking rest” helps consolidate memories and improve learning.

She also mentions when not to take a break.

She goes on to provide information concerning how to plow through when you really can’t take a break.

Great Thought

If you’ve walked into the “forest of doom” (and who hasn’t at one time or another) you can still find a path out. Practice avoiding these 6 Wacky Thoughts and see how much better your day, week, and office runs.

 

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Job Close Out – Make it snazzy for you and your employees

This is the third in a three-part series of articles. You can find part one here and part two here.

A great Job Close Out system without documentation is only a rumor about the way your company performs the job close out process. If you don’t “get it in writing” then you don’t actually have a system. What you have is wishful thinking.

Think of your construction contracting Job Close Out system as a set of rules, policies, and procedures that trained individuals can repeat as your construction company grows, a standard they can use without your direct involvement.

Creating your system will entail two parts – the simple checklist and the detailed written specifications supporting the checklist.

We’ve never done it that way before

Perhaps in the past you’ve depended on the checklist stored in your head. Or, it could be you have a Job Close Out checklist you expect your employees to follow but have never provided the supporting documents.

Whatever your set of circumstances, if you’ve come to the conclusion that in order to see your business scale you need to add a Job Close Out checklist and Job Close Out procedures to your company’s standards you may find you have some resistance from your employees.

This article from Entrepreneur has a set of steps which I recommend reading and following if you are concerned about getting your employees to come on board and be a part of the new system you’re building on your way to scaling your construction contracting business.

I would emphasize step two when creating the Job Close Out system. Getting the employees involved in this crucial aspect of “leaving a good impression” with your customers helps them see how important this phase of their job is and allows them to input steps you may have overlooked.

Building the checklist

Whether you prefer your checklist be on your digital device or on your clipboard there are options for you.

For instance, you may want to check out the mobile app form from canvas.

As a part of their package, bridgit offers a product simply titled “closeout” which may suit your needs. (BTW, I had a brief chat with one of their representatives and was impressed with her knowledge and willingness to help me with my questions.)

Another option you can look over is Smartsheet which includes in their many construction documents one titled “Project Closeout Checklist.” You’ll have to scroll down quite a way to find it, but it is there.

If you prefer a clipboard over a digital device an option for you might be the Project Closeout Checklist from ready built forms.

As far as I can tell, each of the above options offers you a prebuilt form or a way to design the form you would use for the checklist portion of your Job Close Out system. By starting with the form of your choice you would then be able to prepare the backup documentation in order to complete the system.

One more option

Our good friends at Knowify have within their system a way we can help you design and build your checklist as well as the supporting documents that would then be integrated within your Knowify data base of information. If you’re interested in finding out about how we can work with you through Knowify give us a call 480 -442-4032 or Toll Free – 866-629-7735.

 

Job Close Out – Map a superior customer journey

This is the second in a three-part series about using a Job Close Out system to enhance your construction contracting business. If you missed the first part, you can go here. You’ll find the third part here.

Start at the finish line

Rather than getting close to the end of your project and finding you have an Easter egg hunt for what’s incomplete or unacceptable (including the dreaded punch list) working from the beginning of the project through the completion with Job Close Out in mind makes better sense for both you and your customer.

Speaking of punch lists: There has been a lot of talk lately about striving for a zero item punch list. When I first heard of the idea, my reaction was “that’s impossible.” Then I began researching the ideas and thoughts associated with the concept and discovered it is not only possible, but actually the industry as a whole is moving toward that reality rather rapidly.

So, whether your particular segment of the construction industry typically relies on a punch list or not, there is still that moment in time when you reach the finish line at each of your jobs and you close out with your customer.

Who benefits from a well-planned, systematic Job Close Out process?

Your customer

Your team

Your bottom line

Whether or not your particular customer has ever heard of the language found in the American Institute of Architects’ AIA A201-2007 document is beside the point.

“Substantial Completion is the stage in the progress of the Work when the Work or designated portion thereof is sufficiently complete in accordance with the Contract Documents so that the Owner can occupy or utilize the Work for its intended use (2007).”

Think like your customer

The fact that your customer can “move in” isn’t enough. No matter how much they’ve enjoyed your company for the past few hours, months or years they wish to fully occupy and fully use whatever you’ve built, installed, or repaired for them.

No matter where you are in the contractor, subcontractor chain you still answer to your particular “customer.” Your ability to scale your contracting business is greatly enhanced when your reputation is for closing out your job without repeat call backs, for monitoring even the “little things,” and for finishing your project with no loose ends.

A well designed Job Close Out system will keep your team from missing vital yet routine tasks which can sometimes slip through the cracks because you or someone else on the team assumes they’ve already been carried out. Another important benefit of using a good system is that by assigning close out tasks to a specific person and having the tasks verified by different team members sets up a communication path which often leads to more information, therefore better close out.

Your Job Close Out system is an internal checklist which in reality is a customer service tool.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, makes an excellent point when he says, “We’re not competitor-obsessed, we’re customer-obsessed. We start with what the customer needs and we work backwards.” Making your Job Close Out system customer-centric is a wise investment of your time and is important to scaling your construction contracting business.

The next article in this series will discuss how to create a useful Job Close Out system which will serve you, your customers, and the members of your team.