5 Tips for Productive Time Management

Time is a precious commodity in the hardwood lumber industry, as it is in most industries. Without a plan of attack for time-management—or at least a disciplined approach to handling how you spend your waking hours— it is difficult to establish a standard that helps reduce wasted time for your business.

Many times, business leaders spend their office hours responding to one crisis after another, only to find at the end of the day that very little of what they wanted or needed to be done has been accomplished.Small 062117 0072

Over time, many of us at Baillie Lumber have had success adopting time-management best practices such as these. Maybe you will find some of these helpful in your daily routine.

1. Focus on goals and priorities. Trying to manage time in order to achieve long-term goals can seem overwhelming. One approach that we have found effective in tackling these types of goals is by breaking down your larger objectives into smaller, more attainable goals - by month, week or even by day.

For example, with monthly objectives, put together a list of daily or weekly “to-do” activities that move you steadily towards achieving that larger goal. For us these activities could be things like managing green lumber received, booking new lumber shipments or building footage in the air-drying yard.  We find this also helps you keep better track of your progress by noting completion of these tasks and how much of each day these tasks consume.

2. Get the most done during your most productive time of day. Everyone has a time of day in which they find themselves most productive. Since we have a heritage in the sawmill industry this seems to be first thing in the morning for most of us. However, busy people usually let their most productive times pass them by while dealing with emails, phone calls or other low-level priorities. Then once those tasks are completed, they feel too exhausted to deal with genuinely important tasks. Rearrange your daily schedule to leave that most productive time of day open for your creativity to flourish.

3. Minimize distractions. We live in an age of distraction, from texting and social media to phones calls and e-mail. The most productive business leaders can tune out these interruptions. They discipline themselves to turn off their phones or eliminate distractions during at least part of their day, so they can concentrate on high priority tasks.

However, it is important to not be impolite to your co-workers in an effort to become distraction-free. Simply let others know there are specific times when you must get rid of distractions to do the job you need to do.

4. Track how you spend your time. With the amount of technology available right at our fingertips these days, there are plenty of apps are available to help you track how you spend your time. What you learn after using a time-tracking app can make a big difference in the way you think about time-management and what you can do to become more efficient and productive. For example, notes the Harvard Business Review, “recognizing which activities are stressful enables you to make smarter decisions about how to delegate or reshuffle your workflow, so you can optimize for the tasks that suit you best.”

5. Do a better job of delegating. How much time are you losing by dealing with things better left for others to handle? As we’ve noted in the past, there are three types of tasks we ask our department heads to delegate within their teams:

  •  Administrative tasks that maintain business operations, but aren’t related to growing the business
  •  Work others can do better than you
  •  Tasks that sap your energy and passion

Identifying job responsibilities that fall into these categories affords you the opportunity to spend your time more productively planning the future of your business.

Time is our most precious resource; good leaders can adopt some time-management strategies that allow you and your team to get more done and feel more satisfied at the end of the day.

We have found these time management tips to have had a positive impact on our hardwood lumber business. We believe they have helped our sawmill managers be more productive, our lumber traders be more efficient and our customer service representatives be more helpful. Whatever way it impacts your business, effective time management will leave you energized to tackle new challenges tomorrow.

What are some methods you have found effective for improving time management? Let us know!

Brett Del Prince
Baillie Lumber
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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