Chief of Content

Erika Taylor is the Chief of Content for Professional Remodeler. Contact her at etaylor@sgcmail.com or 972.803.4014.

Having It All

Effective strategies for making the most of your time

May 25, 2017

Most of the time, when I ask a remodeler how they’re doing I get the same answer: “Busy.” 

They don’t just mean that their company has lots of projects; it’s also a general statement of having too much to do and too few hours in the day. I’m in the same boat and often wish I had more time to just relax and enjoy life. 

So recently I picked up a book called I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Make the Most of Their Time. Written by time-management expert Laura Vanderkam, the book’s target audience is women, but I found that the insights hold true regardless of gender. 

I Know How She Does It is based on a study Vanderkam conducted on success and time management. For her research, Vanderkam approached a group of professional women across multiple industries. All earned more than $100,000 a year and had one or more children under 18 living at home. Each woman was asked to fill out a time log that covered one week—168 hours—in 15-minute increments. 

The findings were surprising. For starters, a lot of the women worked fewer hours than they thought they did. It’s easy to see why: A quick 30 minutes spent on an errand, 15 minutes chatting with a colleague, and 15 minutes dealing with car insurance, and boom, you’ve lost an hour. These respondents had a sense of themselves working in the evening, but before the time log, they didn’t always see the part of the workday that was lost to other things. Often, a more holistic understanding of their schedule was helpful. 

But the heart of the book lies in Vanderkam’s look at the women who report a high level of satisfaction with their lives. These professionals hold demanding jobs, spend time with their families, see friends, exercise, and enjoy hobbies. How do they do it? 

There are a number of effective strategies many of the respondents report using. First, they embrace a more fluid work schedule, which allows them time with kids and spouses. This may mean six hours at the office, four hours of family time, and two or three more hours at night working from home. Another tactic was to understand that not all family time is equal. Teaching your child to play chess is inherently more meaningful than sitting in the same room with them while both of you are glued to your phones. 

Since finishing the book, I downloaded Vanderkam’s time log, spent a week filling it out, and found interesting patterns. I highly recommend doing this for yourself and your business. 

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