Articles for Contractors

Tools and Tips for being Organized

Organized 1Plan your work and work your plan.

There is a lot that goes into this category.  Did you take time to discover your life purpose?  Do you have a long term vision?  What strategy will you follow to achieve it?  Did you develop short term objectives/goals?  How do you keep track of your activities?  Do you have a planner/calendar?  (If not, I recommend one from Staples or Office Max) or learn the one on your phone. A good planner is a critical tool to being organized and productive.

Help yourself “see” your time

Creating a visual representation for your time can be an effective tool for both planning better and adding urgency to your actions.  Have a space where you can see your entire year (or at least one quarter) at a time.  I use a month-at-a-glance calendar and it does miracles for me.  First, I now plan better and start working on future projects way in advance.  Second, I cross off every day that passes; seeing days being gone allow me to visualize how fast time goes by.  It’s a great reminder to focus on what matters most!

Don’t major in minor things

Remember the 80/20 rule; 80 percent of your results come from only 20 percent of your activities! Productivity is not about “saving” time but rather using it effectively. Making a daily “to do” list is a great habit.  Prioritizing your activities is an even better one!  Ask yourself a question:  Which two out of my top ten activities scheduled for today will produce the greatest payoff?  Give those two most of your time and energy.

Put value on your time

I know this is hard for some of you that just got into the business and were making $10 to $15 per hour and you think that making $30 per hour is awesome, but if you think this way, you will go broke before you know it.

If you are not making $100 per hour, you will go out of business or always be broke.   Take a look at your last year’s tax return.  Look up the number for your net earnings (that’s what you took home last year after all the taxes were paid).  Divide this number by the number of hours you worked last year to find out your net hourly earnings.

Let’s say you earned $25,000.00 but only took home $18,000.00.  Now lets say you worked 40 hours per week for 52 weeks.  This equals 2,080 hours.  When you do the math you actually took home $8.65 per hour.

Don’t confuse activity with productivity

I know how good it feels to cross things off the “to do” list; just make sure it’s the right list!  If you catch yourself writing things down so you can get the thrill of crossing them off, that will definitely keep you busy and feel good at the moment – but I doubt that it will produce any worthwhile results.

Getting organized doesn’t mean buying “stuff”

You don’t need to make a trip to Office Max or Staples to buy filing cabinets, storage bins, trays, etc.  Instead work with what you have and before you add anything see if you can eliminate things first.  Adopt a rule – one major thing (file cabinet, organizing gizmos) in, one major thing out.  I also recommend boxing some of your “most important” papers (yes, the ones that have been sitting on your desk for a while now).  Put the date on the box and set it in the corner of your office; I can bet you will not touch it for a year; then it will be easier to throw it away – after all it’s already boxed!

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