Whether you're a landscape contractor, nursery professional, or a retail garden center employee, you work on deadlines with customers depending on you to hit those important dates. To help you manage your time efficiently, consider these proven productivity hacks that will bring you more time in your day.
Plan out your work ahead of time
At the end of each day, you need to be looking at what's on tap for tomorrow. Get your to-do list in order so that you know what you need to accomplish tomorrow and the rest of the week. If you're in charge of a landscaping crew, consider preloading trucks the night before with all necessary materials and gear. When employees arrive in the morning, they are ready to go and not taking up billable hours. It helps employees plan better, too, since they know what's expected of them tomorrow. If you run a retail garden center, look at the forecast for the week ahead and consider how that may impact in-person traffic and consumer projects for the week ahead. If it looks like rain, are there organization projects you can take on while you know there will be less foot traffic?
Work when you're the most productive
This seems like an easy one, but in our go, go, go industry where the work rarely stops, it's still important to remember the difference between working hard and working smart. Are you a morning person who feels more creative in the early hours? Great! Knock out your projects that consume the most brainpower early in the day. Prefer to work when the rest of the world sleeps? Try saving big tasks for after regular work hours so you know you won't be distracted by the ping of your email inbox. Whatever works for you, it's important to identify when you're most productive...you may be surprised how much faster certain tasks go when you can dial in your focus!
Save calls for the afternoon
Blocking your schedule can be tricky when you're in a business dealing with customers, but whenever possible, save your calls for the afternoon. Many people experience a burst of productivity in the morning, which is excellent for taking advantage of and keeping for independent projects and on-site work. Taking calls in the afternoon gives you a natural "stopping point" for your brain to shut off the part focused on detail-oriented tasks and allows it to use communication instead of staying busy.
Remember to add whitespace to your day
We know more than anyone that sun and fresh air aren't beneficial for plants and trees! They're great for us, too. While the weather is still nice enough to enjoy a brisk walk outside, take a short break to increase your mental clarity. Need help identifying when to take a break? Take notice when you feel like you're drowning in calls, start to fidget at your desk, are rereading the same email sentence over and over, or are craving a snack/coffee/etc. These are signals that your brain and your body need a moment to reset. Insert wedges of time or "whitespace" on even your busiest days will help you stay sharp.
Work on your emails at designated intervals
Ah, the dreaded inbox. Possibly the most significant time suck for many of us. Your inbox can derail your productivity if you let it. Instead of keeping the gateway to your email open all day long, consider setting times when you will check and respond to emails. If you're in a role where responsiveness is critical, check your email at the top or bottom of every hour and be deliberate about it. If you have an internal function, designate a couple of times per day to check and respond to email. Creating an intentional schedule creates space between email time to focus on your work without distractions. Does your company also use an internal communication tool like Slack or GChat? Remember that you can set times when you're unavailable. It's not always appropriate, but take control of your availability when you can.
Use technology tools (like LandscapeHub) to save time
If you're in a position when you're buying or selling landscape material, how much of your day is focused on inventory management, sourcing plants, or placing and tracking orders? It probably eats away at the day. Using tools like LandscapeHub, the time you spend will be drastically reduced. It will also allow you to focus on other activities that can add value to your business. To get started with LandscapeHub, join today for free.