Time symbol - The End

5 Tips For Architects To Manage Their Time

1. Manage Your Time Proactively

This is the cornerstone of effective time management. Your time belongs to you. It’s a finite resource you need to manage effectively. Don’t let others dictate how you spend it.

This is often easier said than done, especially when your boss or client expects things done yesterday. However, setting expectations and being consistent will give you greater control over your day-to-day and your life in general. Respect your time and others will respect it as well.

2. Limit Distractions

Turn off your email notifications. Seriously, do it right now. Next, close all those tabs on your browser. Lastly, set your phone to vibrate or better yet, turn it off.

Between email, cell phones and social media, there are more ways to connect to people than ever. The problem is, all of these connections can be a huge distraction if you don’t control them.

For starters, try checking your email twice a day – once at noontime and again at 4pm. Email is a great communication tool but it’s all too easy to react to email as it comes in to your inbox instead of focusing on the work that needs to get done.

3. Single-Task

Multitasking is a hard habit to break. I do it more than I should, and I know better. A good way to break the habit is to limit your distractions (as stated in #2 above). The fewer distractions you have, the more likely you are to complete your task.

The problem is that our digital tools are great at providing distractions. Between the Internet, email and social media, there are all kinds of things begging for your attention. That’s why there’s a burgeoning field of single-purpose digital tools, such as the Hemingwrite.

I’m sure the hand-drafters of old were great single-taskers. With just a pencil, t-square and sheet of paper, there was little to distract you from getting your work done. What we need is a Hemingwrite for BIM.

4. Keep a Time Log

Ever realize it’s Friday and wonder where the week went? Try keeping a time log.

For one week, keep track of everything you do during the work day. You might already track your time in a time sheet but the time log should account for everything you do. And I do mean everything. Spend 10 minutes checking email? Mark it in the log. Talk with a co-worker for 5 minutes in the kitchen? Mark it in the log. Go to the bathroom? Yup, that goes in the log too.

Yes, logging every minute is tedious but I assure you, you’ll have a much better picture of what you actually do versus what you think you do. With this data in hand, you can objectively analyse your week and understand where you’re spending your time. The results might be surprising.

5. Design Your Week

We design things at all scales, from the master plan down to the door knob. We might even do some graphic and web design. Why shouldn’t we design our ideal week as well?

At its essence, time management is just a design problem. There are only 168 hours in a week and it’s up to you to get everything to fit. Yes, you’ll need to make trade-offs but that helps you prioritize what’s important to you.

To get started, make a list of all the things you need to do as well as the things you want to do over the course of a typical week. Get really specific with your list. Include things you typically do at work or school as well as things you do in your own time. Be sure to include breaks and down-time (both in and outside of work). This list is essentially your program document.

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