Hardware Retailing

JAN 2019

Hardware Retailing magazine is the pre-eminent how-to management magazine for small business owners and managers in the home improvement retailing industry.

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January 2019 | HARDWARE RETAILING 51 Find a Plan That Works What does a time management plan look like? More than likely, it will look a little different for everyone. Learning what works may be a process of trial and error until you find the perfect fit. And, it may take a while before your approach to managing your time becomes a natural part of your daily routine. What's important is that you start somewhere. Clouse starts each week by listing all of the tasks he needs to do that week. That includes consulting with his father (co-owner in the business) so they coordinate efforts. He also prioritizes what needs to be done first and what he can delegate to his employees. Keeping his big-picture perspective includes letting his store managers execute the details of the day-to-day business and only stepping in when he needs to. When he knows the steps needed to reach a particular goal, he can push himself and his staff to complete each step at the prescribed time so he's not scrambling to finish at the last minute. How Clouse manages his time comes practically second nature to him, he says. But if you're just starting out looking for a plan, one good place to begin is one of the many models constructed by experts. The model Goldsby recommends to his students, and what he's adopted in his own life, is called Getting Things Done ® (GTD ® ), created by author and consultant David Allen. The premise of the plan is that people, in general, are very distracted, whether it's from the bombardment of news and social media or from cramming our days with too many things to do. In fact, perhaps the most limited resource we have is our attention, not our time or money. We often are so distracted by keeping those to-do lists in our heads that we are unable to focus our full attention on one specific item. Allen's solution is to put everything you need to do in a written list, and then start a systematic approach of organizing and executing those tasks. He suggests these five steps. • Capture. Clear everything out of your mind that needs to be done. Make a list and put it in a place where it will not get lost. If you come to something that can be done in 2 minutes or less, do it then and clear it off your list. • Clarify. Ask yourself some important questions about what is on your list. Is it actionable? Decide what to do now, what to delegate and what to defer until later. • Organize. Divide the list into categories that make sense for your operation. • Reflect. Every week, review and update your list. This is where you can set priorities of what needs to be done next. • Engage. This is where you get those tasks on your list done. At this point, you are confident that whatever task you've chosen to do is the one that will make the most productive use of your time. Allen's method, explained in greater detail in his book, "Getting Things Done," is just one of many models created by experts who have studied productivity. When you find a method to try, you are just at the beginning of a long, but rewarding, journey to learning how to manage your time effectively. Byron Clouse (left) has created detailed checklists of daily tasks for his employees so they know what is expected of them. The lists also help them plan their day. Perhaps the most limited resource we have is our attention, not our time or money. We often are so distracted by keeping those to-do lists in our heads that we are unable to focus our full attention on one specific item.

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