Priority Planning in Your Construction Business
Priority – it’s a task
“I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent.” Former U.S President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Prioritizing your daily tasks is simply smart business. You greatly lessen the chance you’ll get caught up in busy-work and heighten the chance you’ll get something of significance accomplished. That’s it in a nutshell.
The first step is to understand the importance of your calendar and your to-do list. There are those who are adamant that ditching your to-do list and using a calendar alone is imperative. And there are others who espouse using both calendar and to-do list. No one I know of suggests ditching your calendar. Most people have a fairly good idea concerning how to use their calendar. Fewer understand how to get the most functionality from their to-do lists.
A while back, I wrote this blog, Before You Give the Paper To-Do List a Pink Slip Consider This. It is full of information you can use to up your game when it comes to taking full advantage of a to-do list. Yep, there’s more to it than simply jotting down a few things you can later check off.
As you can see, I’m still firmly in the camp which espouses using both a calendar and a to-do list.
A winning priority
I would like to add one more piece to this prioritizing puzzle. Whether it comes from your to-do list or from your calendar choose one WIN for the day.
Look at it this way. What is the one thing you need to complete today which will move you forward in the way you’ve already determined to go? Yeah, I know you have lots of different chunks on your plate. Which one is most important? This doesn’t mean you won’t do any of the other items. It does mean you will (most days) get one important task done or started.
How we do it
Here at Schulte and Schulte we address it this way. Every weekday morning in our virtual huddle each of us states the one thing we plan to do for the day which will be a win. And, it isn’t just any old win. It needs to be a win which reaches our companies stated goal of assuring that our clients are equipped to “run with the big dogs.”
And, this is what it sounds like – “I’m going to help X company run with the big dogs by completing all their billing for the day.” Or it might sound like this, “I’m going to help X firm run with the big dogs by meeting with them to clear up the payroll issue they’re having now.” Or the words might be, “My plan is to help our clients run with the big dogs by writing a blog post which helps them be better at prioritizing.” 😉
Determining task priorities
Determining your priorities will obviously be based on your long-term goals and your strategy for reaching them. (We’ll get to that in parts two and three of this series.) Yet, there is a quick way to determine which of your daily tasks should be placed in the win column for the day.
Looking at both your to-do list and your calendar ask these questions:
- What is due today?
- Does this really need to be completed or is it a waste of time?
- How much of this have I already completed?
- Can I shift that task to someone else?
- How many people will be affected if I do or don’t get this task done?
- Have I put this off in the past?
- Is this task part of an ongoing project or a one-off?
One other useful tool for determining daily priorities is to always keep in mind what is best for your clients. I know that sounds trite. Yet, there are times when we become so caught up in the mechanics of what must be completed, we forget the reason they must be completed. And, when considering our clients’ needs is injected into the equation the determination becomes somewhat easier.
Prioritize your daily tasks for the win
The likelihood of getting one significant thing done goes up exponentially when you put thought into prioritizing your daily tasks.
This has been the first in a 3-part series dealing with prioritizing in your construction contracting business. In the second part the information will center on prioritizing your business goals. And, in the third part we’ll take a look at planning for the interim – the strategy part.
It is our desire this article (among our growing library of construction-centric informational articles) is helpful in assisting commercial construction contractors build better building businesses.
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