You Must Make Room for Routine: Here’s Why
It isn’t likely that you got into the wild and wacky world of construction contracting because you were enamored with routine. Instead, you probably prefer the idea that construction work is rarely repetitive. Differing job sites, dynamic objectives, and varying approaches make the industry exciting and inspiring.
Yet, because you’re in construction, you understand the importance and security of using anchors.
Anchor: something used to hold another thing securely
The anchor for your construction business is routine. Leave out the anchor, and things will get wobbly real fast!
The Difference Between Routine and Habit
Before going further concerning the need for routine, it is a good idea to understand that routine and habit are different. Nir Eyal posted an excellent article, Stop Confusing Habits for Routines: What You Need To Know, which succinctly describes the difference. After you’ve read it, you’ll have a better footing and an increased understanding of what follows.
Deliberately Schedule Routine
Whether it must be done daily, on a specific day of the week, once a month, annually, or on some other timeframe, taking time to deliberately schedule routine tasks gives you the added advantage of structure. Think of it as the studs to which the drywall will be applied.
By establishing practical routines, you focus on what must be done and what you can control. If you don’t deliberately schedule routines, you may fall into inadvertent or accidental routines that cause friction and headaches.
For example, suppose your GC or client requires a weekly report on Friday at 3:00 PM. In that case, the routine you’ve established makes that task either a hasty and frustrating burden (starting at 2:00 PM) or an orderly undertaking with routine tasks completed throughout the week, leading to the prompt delivery of a well-organized and comprehensive report.
When establishing a routine, you must consider who is responsible for what, when tasks must be completed, what data is required, or other parameters you specify.
Cultivate Routine to Minimize Crisis
Whether you, as the owner or manager of a construction business or those in your employ, take advantage of routine, you stand a much better chance of minimizing crisis.
Think of the difference between placing your keys in a routine place when returning home, always having them available when you get ready to leave the next day, or the mini-crisis that develops when everyone is late because no one knows where the stinking keys are.
Likewise, routine maintenance of tools and equipment helps alleviate the possibility of delaying a project for a lengthy time while repairs are being made.
Avoid Procrastination Through Routine
Procrastination typically involves ignoring a critical but unpleasant task by participating in one that is more enjoyable or easier to accomplish.
Paradoxically, when you routinely avoid specific tasks, you inadvertently create a routine that is difficult to overcome.
By purposely creating a routine that puts the unpleasant task front and center, it is easier to start and finish the task for these reasons:
You don’t have to “make a decision” concerning what to do next.
It helps those around you know what they must do and when they must do it to support and maintain the routine.
It may become easier to complete the task as it becomes more familiar.
You gain satisfaction from knowing you overcame the procrastination monster.
For example, suppose you know that you need to provide documents or information to your outsourced accounting professional every month at a particular time. By routinely gathering the material beforehand, you avoid the last-minute scramble and the delay it causes.
It may be necessary to alert yourself to the upcoming routine task by routinely putting reminders on your calendar. Yes, treat the building of routines seriously, and you’ll see results sooner.
Maintain Routine by Being Somewhere
Being somewhere doesn’t necessarily mean you must be in any particular space. It does mean you need to be able to pick up where you left off. It is like inserting a bookmark in a book or noting a stopping point.
By inserting the bookmark, you’ve identified the place where you are. You’re somewhere in the book, and you know where that somewhere is. Even if you don’t get back to the book for a week or more, you’re not frustrated by the necessity of figuring out where to resume reading.
When people or circumstances disrupt your routine, it is easier to resume the task if you’ve flagged the stopping point. You know the somewhere to be.
Another aspect of being somewhere when it comes to routine is that of delegating tasks. Not all of your routines must occupy only your time and space; some can and should be delegated to others part-time or full-time. In other words, you can be somewhere else even when someone else is doing the task. Cross-training and reliance on systems and procedures allow you to ensure the routines are taken care of even when absent.
3 Basic Routines Categories
While there are a multitude of routines to consider when working to strengthen your construction business, there are three basic routine categories that will aid you in determining where to start.
The routines that will help you address a particular pain point.
Routines that are designed to keep your current obligations under control.
Those that aid you in fulfilling contractual agreements.
Reflection: What pain point are you experiencing in your construction business? What routine would help alleviate the pain? How will you begin establishing the routine?
Ambitious Construction Contractors look to The Profit Constructors to provide advocacy in dealing with:
Clients and customers
Employees and subcontractors
Vendors and service providers
Working with The Profit Constructors gives Construction Contractors the means to organize their operations in ways that help them:
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