About 6 years ago I made a conscious effort to take control of my ability to manage time. I realized that everything I was doing was affected by time. Time is money, it is the essence of almost every contract or commitment we make. Time is our most valuable resource and I wanted more of it to spend with my family, friends and on new business opportunities. I decided that if I could take complete control of my time that I would have much more control of my life.
In 1994 Stephen D. Covey released a book entitled 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, where he discussed a system for managing time that was originally introduced by Dwight D. Eisenhower. This system splits up activities into four quadrants based upon two factors: urgency and importance.
Almost 30 years ago, when I started in this industry, it felt like time was an endless resource. After years of working as an employee, and then subcontractor, I started my custom construction business in 1997 with my business partner Roger Ketchum. Immediately I began wearing multiple hats out of necessity. Carpenter, project manager, sales, whatever it takes. We were doing very well and the work kept coming in. In those early days our model for scaling the business was the Hamster Wheel:
Find work, produce work, collect money…Find work, produce work, collect money…Find work, produce work, collect money…
At one point I found myself doing design, estimating, sales, accounting, marketing, IT, webmaster, and a few other things. I was becoming a master multi-tasker but at the same time creating a job I could never leave.
In 2014 I attended a seminar that included some time management tips and that was the moment I decided I had to make some changes. The presenter said something I will never forget:
Stand back and take a look at all the things you do in a day. Then ask yourself if you do any of them to the best of your ability?
With that one statement it became very clear that I was not the best designer, estimator, salesman, accountant, husband, father, etc. What I was really good at was being overwhelmed! Being a master multi-tasker would always keep me busy but never let me get anything accomplished.
With some soul searching I found that what I really wanted was to spend my time becoming the best husband, father, and leader for my company that I could be. I had whittled it down to just 3 hats but each of these would require significant time requirements. That was when I knew I had to gain complete control of my time and so began my quest to become a guru of Time Management.
Time management is very difficult to master but when you do you will “untrap” yourself and suddenly have time to do the things that matter most.