For construction businesses, time management is integral to success. When planning a project with a prospective client, one of the primary questions is the expected completion date. While some businesses may be far worse offenders than others, the construction industry has unfortunately developed a reputation for delays and not meeting deadlines. And even if you’re usually on time, it’s a good idea to have a rock-solid time management system to follow as your business grows.
We’d like to highlight where some contractors run into trouble when it comes to construction time management and suggest some best practices that can lead to improvement.
Common causes of poor time management
When attempting to solve an ongoing or recurring problem, it’s necessary to take a step back and find out what exactly is leading to these troublesome outcomes. Here are four common causes:
- Time and again, construction businesses manage their time poorly because they are following a work plan that isn’t detailed enough. Don’t be afraid to include details in your plan. This will give you a more realistic idea of when things will wrap up.
- Accidents at the construction site can set jobs back weeks or even months. Oftentimes accidents are just bad luck, but building a safe worksite culture with the help of OSHA regulations and guidelines can go a long way toward preventing disruptions that are normally avoidable.
- Sometimes poor time management results from a lack of motivation in the ranks to keep things on track. Find out what motivates your crew and use that to your advantage to keep them on task. (It could just be some positive feedback—or the occasional free food.)
- Procrastination is the best friend of poor time management. The attitude “I’ll do the hard part tomorrow” is easy to revert to, but it must be avoided. Even if it’s unrealistic to finish a certain task in the time frame you initially planned on, work like you expect to—and address the “hard parts” as you go along.
Time management tips & solutions
- Prepare (in detail). “Proper preparation prevents poor performance”—truly words to live by.
- Learn from your mistakes. Drawing from prior experience will help you anticipate things that might go wrong. Conversely, you should get in the habit of establishing good habits by taking note of your successes on prior projects.
- Constantly checking your progress against a detailed timeline is a really effective way to make sure you meet goals on a daily, monthly, or yearly basis. Keeping a physical representation of your timeline (e.g. a poster) to help reinforce the idea of making progress can be a big help.
- ExakTime is a great time management tool because it can provide you with accurate digital workforce tracking. Additionally, it gives you a real-time, bird’s eye view of any of your job sites so you can make smart decisions or necessary adjustments on the fly.
Benefits of developing good time management practices
Finishing projects on time will not only save you money, but will help you establish a good track record, too. When you have a tried and true history of finishing projects well and in a timely matter, potential clients will be more apt to trust you and recommend your business.