Emailing, endless meetings, and managing people can be overwhelming for young archipreneurs. How can you get the most out of your day and learn to prioritize tasks for optimum effectiveness? Sticking to a few key principles can make a huge impact on the success of your enterprise.
Architects who diverge from the conventional career path and become archipreneurs face the challenge of how they can effectively combine creative work with business operations. This often means that they have to add an entirely new set of skills to their toolbox. With little knowledge on how to run an enterprise, architects-turned-archipreneurs need to establish an efficient work routine in order to lead and make decisions.
An architect’s income is often tied to the time spent on a job. As an archipreneur, smart time management is key to achieving efficiency – and can either make or break a startup. To help you stay focused, we have compiled our top 7 tips on how to better organize your day and increase productivity.
#1 – Use the 80–20 Rule
A good place to start is to apply the 80–20 rule to your daily work. This strategy evolved from the Pareto principle, developed by Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto. When applied to daily productivity, this principle translates to the idea that 20% of the input creates 80% of the output. The central concept is to prioritize when you don’t have the time to fulfill every task in your checklist. Pick the top 20% of the tasks that you think will create the most results and tend to those first. This is not a perfect mathematical equation so don’t get too caught up in numbers and percentages. The best way to make this method work for you is to put it into practice and tweak the metrics as you go.
#2 – Designate a Time for Emailing
With the huge number of devices available to keep us connected at all times, business owners are often presented with the challenge of responding to constant queries. Many are tempted to start their day by checking their emails the moment they arrive at the office. Disable email notifications on your phone completely, and resist the urge to open your inbox right after the first sip of your morning coffee. It’s much better to schedule one or two blocks of time in a day where you can get on with answering your most relevant emails.
#3 – Work in Blocks of Time
When working on a task that requires more dedicated attention, it is important to designate it a chunk of uninterrupted time away from any other distractions. Take short, planned breaks to avoid procrastination, and learn through practice in figuring out what the optimal length of a work session is for you. This will help reduce, if not eliminate, procrastination and keep you focused on the task at hand. Time blocking can also be applied to reactive work tasks to avoid going back and forth between projects.
#4 – Automate Tasks
As a business owner, you’re likely to spend most of your time on left-brain activities such as delegating, managing and networking. Keeping things organized can therefore make a world of difference when it comes to time management. Try to systematize your services through automating them so that you have more time to deal with the most important issues. Document standard operating procedures that your company uses and make them available to employees who can then update and optimize them over time. Project management and collaboration tools can also help free you up from spending hours creating and sending invoices, chasing overdue payments, and general office management.
#5 – Master Your Tools
The software you use should depend on the type of work you do. Instead of simply choosing the most popular software out there (the licenses for which can be rather costly), try to recognize the functions that you’ll be using most in your work. Our top tip: once you decide on a software package, learn all of its shortcuts; this can save you a lot of time. Keep up-to-date with its latest updates and features, and learn how to customize the software for your specific needs.
#6 – Create Assets
Instead of starting all over again with each new client, create assets through standardizing your approach that you can pull from your archive whenever needed. This tip is also related to the idea of productizing, as it enables architectural businesses to give their services a set price and scope through standardizing common procedures. In addition, you can also create additional sources of passive income that complement your main offer.
#7 – Learn to Stop and Relax
Being an archipreneur means it’s often hard to switch off. Working for yourself brings additional pressures that often lead to spending too many hours in the office and too few with your family. It can also cause you to become less productive and even suffer from burn out. Read a book, organize a barbecue, see a movie and spend time with your loved ones. Switching off is just as important as any other part of your business.
How many of these strategies do you apply to your own work? Perhaps you have other tips on how to be more productive? Share them with our archipreneur community below.