Use time wisely to boost your career
Want to be a star performer at your company? That takes more than technical expertise. You also need to work productively and use time wisely so you can accomplish all the tasks assigned to you each day.
If you often find yourself struggling to get everything done, poor time management may be to blame. In this article, we’ll explore ways to improve time management and help reduce stress at the same time.
But first, let’s take a look at some signs of poor time management that can help you recognize a need to make changes.
Symptoms of poor time management skills
Frequently running late. Everyone is late occasionally due to unavoidable circumstances like getting stuck in a traffic jam. But you don’t want to become known as that person who is always “running late.” That’s the most common sign of poor time management skills, and it actually comes across as disrespectful to others.
Rushing to complete work. As a service technician, you’re expected to complete a certain number of assigned jobs each day. If you’re not using time wisely, you can end up always in a rush to finish every repair. That leads to the next couple of symptoms.
Making mistakes. If you’re constantly rushing through things, that’s when mistakes happen. You may miss something and misdiagnose a problem. Or leave out a step so your repair doesn’t work. Even if you eventually figure out the solution, it takes longer and you force yourself to keep rushing through the rest of your tasks.
Forgetting things. Do you frequently leave tools behind, forget to stop for gas, or forget to replace supplies you need to keep in your truck? When you’re behind and rushing through things, it happens more often.
Procrastinating. When poor time management leaves you with too much to do, people often react by putting things off (like ordering parts or bringing your truck in for service). Which, of course, only makes things worse.
Getting distracted. You can waste more time than you realize by excessively chatting with customers or coworkers, listening to the news, or just daydreaming while you work.
Feeling overwhelmed. Poor time management often leads to feeling anxious and overwhelmed by mounting responsibilities and the consequences of not getting things done on time.
If you experience a number of these signs regularly, it’s time to work on improving your time management skills. Here are five ways you can learn to use time wisely.
5 ways to improve time management and be more productive
1. Be prepared.
The most productive people have good planning skills that help them prioritize important tasks and avoid wasting time.
At the beginning of the week, take a few minutes to make a list of important things you need to get done outside of your daily service calls. Decide when you’ll do them and set reminders for yourself on your phone.
Each morning, think through the work you need to accomplish that day. Do you have all the information, parts, and supplies you need for each job? If you’re not sure, maybe a quick call to the customer in advance can help you clarify the situation and save time when you get there.
2. Be punctual.
One of the reasons people have trouble with time management is that they tend to underestimate how long it takes to do things. Travel time is a common example. If you’re only going a few miles away, it may seem like you have plenty of time to get to your next job on time. But in New York City, there are plenty of obstacles that can make the trip take a lot longer than you expected.
Always check your GPS to see the current ETA well before you head out, so you can leave earlier if possible. And it’s a great idea to review the route in case the GPS isn’t accurate (which can happen often in the city). Also, remember that finding parking can take a while and you might be forced to park farther away than you’d like. You might be able to save time by using a parking app that helps you locate street parking in the area you’re traveling to.
Related article: Driving in NYC: Safe Driving Practices & Tips
3. Be organized.
Before you head into the building for your service call, take a moment to review the order and organize the supplies and tools you’ll need to complete the job. If you can carry everything you need in one trip, that can save you considerable time by avoiding unnecessary trips back to your vehicle.
Before you begin working, set out your tools and supplies where you can easily find and reach them when you need them. Having to stop and hunt through your tool bag on every job can add up to a lot of wasted time each day.
4. Be strategic.
Before you dive in and start replacing parts, take the time to review the symptoms reported by the customer. What are they telling you about the cause of the problem? Then decide on your strategy for confirming the cause and making the repair.
Spending a few minutes thinking things through can help you avoid wasting time on unnecessary steps.
Related article: Technical Problem Solving Strategy for Service Technicians
5. Be disciplined.
For things you struggle to get done, establish a regular time to do them so it becomes a habit.
Keeping up with new technology can be one of those things that’s easy to put off after a long day. But to excel in your field, you need to keep your skills and knowledge current. So try scheduling time for yourself each week to read industry news and advice, listen to podcasts, and check out what’s new from equipment manufacturers.
Chances are, along with expanding your technical knowledge you will also learn about new techniques and products that can save you time on the job.
More advice to help you build the skills you need to succeed
Our mission is to help HVAC and Refrigeration professionals to build successful careers. Check out these articles that can help you improve your skills and expertise.