Diane Koester-Byron
President
I.E.-Pacific, Inc.
Escondido, Calif.

My best time management skill is keeping up with email daily. If I am able to get through all emails from the day and respond with an answer or delegate to someone else, I find that I avoid issues becoming an emergency. I attempt to minimize the amount of items that I add to my to-do list and provide a quick response to avoid leaving too many items unanswered. 

If I do need to add a project to my to-do list, I make sure that I clearly define the date I expect to respond and make sure that date is realistic. If for some reason I am unable to complete the project as I outlined, then I make sure to proactively respond with a new timeline. Basically, I try to treat others the way I like to be treated. I don’t like to have to follow up, so I try to take the initiative to keep others proactively updated so they are not forced to follow up with me. 

I also review my calendar on Sunday. If I have many out-of-office meetings that week, I make note that I will need extra hours to catch up on my email and daily tasks. If we have proposals or cost estimates due that week, I plan ahead for time to work on those items. 

Jay Baldwin
President/CEO
Reliable Contracting Company
Gambrills, Md.

I review and prioritize my schedule each morning so I know what has to be done between meetings. Knowing what is important and what is not is key to being efficient. I keep a detailed schedule as a big part of that process. I also make sure to give myself a little time between meetings to make calls and answer emails or texts. I do not leave any unanswered emails in my inbox when I leave the office each day, but once I leave, any new emails or texts are on hold until the next day. 

Once a week, usually on Friday afternoons, I spend at least 15 minutes going through the piles of stuff that have accumulated on my desk. Getting rid of at least half of it keeps my office somewhat organized. And often this will stir my memory and create a task on my calendar for the following week. 

I also schedule time to go to the gym at least three days a week, usually during the lunch hour. It’s a nice break and gives me a chance to think about my priorities or tasks coming up that afternoon. 

That being said, putting out fires and solving unforeseen problems is what contractors do. It’s also why I love this industry.

Rick Absher
Corporate Safety Director
TP Mechanical
Cincinnati

At TP Mechanical, we believe that it’s important to be proactive and look ahead to plan for potential issues. That hands-on, preemptive mentality starts at our highest levels, with our CEO and COO, whose 100 percent buy-in helps all our team members be solutions-oriented instead of problem reactors.

Every week, we go through our project list and identify possible problem areas. Our teams are trained to treat difficult situations as challenges, not problems. Problems are viewed negatively, but most people like and respond well to challenges. With this way of thinking, we gain a lot more cooperation and develop better relationships at all levels.

We live by our “Safety First, Always First” core value. It encourages and motivates us to remember the big picture. Our first and foremost goal is to ensure the safety of our employees, clients and jobsites. Reacting to urgent matters, instead of proactively developing solutions, jeopardizes that goal. 

Our solutions-oriented approach to challenges has provided remarkable safety results for the company: 2,714,469 manhours since a lost workday case.