Stay focused on goals through time management

by Tom Droste

Time management starts with goal-setting and planning. If you are operating in a constant crisis management mode and responding to every issue as it happens, then you likely have not set your goals or plans. It’s tough to manage your time if you have not decided how you need to be spending it.

Time management is a tool that all team members can benefit from. How you and your employees plan out each person’s time depends a lot on your role in the company. As a crew leader, you have to paint. But you also have to spend time keeping up with technology changes to expand your knowledge and improve your skills—and lead your crew. As an estimator, you have to make appointments, do site visits, create estimates, and follow through on them. If you are the owner of a painting company, you probably have to sell, plus manage painters, estimators and your office team. The more responsibilities you have, the more challenging your task of effectively managing your time becomes.

The starting point is determining what the business goals are for your position. We all have short- and long-term business goals and we need to allocate our time appropriately between them.

Identify your goals

Planning goals boils down to identifying items that you want to focus on to achieve a specific result within an allotted time frame. First, identify your goals, then list out the initiatives or steps required to achieve them.

An example of a goal may be to improve average customer rating scores in the next quarter. The initiatives for that goal could be:

  • Prepare a checklist after each project that verifies the site was left in excellent condition.
  • After completing the checklist, call the customer to make sure they are satisfied.
  • Send a post-project follow-up email thanking the customer for their business and asking for a rating or review.

With a goal like this, you’ll need to plan time to set up the follow-ups for when each job is completed.

Ideally, you will have systems in place that will help you automate as many as these tasks as possible. Some contractor software applications have automated follow-up features that streamline the process.

Schedule goal-related activities

One popular approach to managing time slots for working toward goals is creating an ‘ideal week’ plan.

For this method, set up a document with days across the top and hours down the side. Then create time slots for the tasks you need to work on each day. This format gives you a visual reference of what activities you should be focusing on and when, in order to achieve the goals you have set.

That is not to say you shouldn’t do activities that aren’t on your goal list, but first consider if they can be delegated or postponed so that you can remain focused on the tasks that clearly support your goals. Measure—and reward—your results The final step in any goal-setting process is measuring the results at the end of the allotted time frame. When team member goals are achieved, make sure they are acknowledged and/or rewarded. And when they are not achieved, use the experience as an opportunity for teaching and improvement.

Start achieving your goals today

Goal setting—and reaching—are key to success, so get started today. Have each team member list three important goals for your company that can be achieved in a month or a quarter. Then list the steps needed to achieve those goals and block out the time to do them. The sooner you begin the process of mindfully planning time management, the sooner you will start reaching your goals.


Tom Droste is the president and cofounder of Estimate Rocket. The Estimate Rocket team empowers thousands of service contractors with software that helps rocket their jobs from lead to paid by enabling them to close more sales, increase profits, and keep their customers happy.

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