21 WAYS ARCHITECTS CAN WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER – MICHAEL KILKELLY

21 WAYS ARCHITECTS CAN WORK SMARTER, NOT HARDER – MICHAEL KILKELLY
In their day-to-day work, architects face a lot of distractions and challenges: managing clients, collaborators and contractors; keeping up to date with the latest software and technologies; drafting planning applications and paperwork; and if you’re lucky, even getting to design some things in between. Originally published by ArchSmarter, this post offers 21 tips on how to maximize your productivity and minimize unnecessary work.

 

Project schedules are getting shorter and shorter. Building types are getting more complex. We already work hard but there are only so many hours in the day. As architects, we need to work smarter, not harder. How can we maximize our effectiveness and our efficiency? How can we manage the increasing flow of information? How can we design better, faster?

 

Here are 21 ways you can work smarter, not harder:

Plan Your Work

1. Understand the difference between “effective” and “efficient”. Effective is doing the right things. Efficient is doing things in the right manner. Both are important, but you need to be doing the right things first before you can do them in the right manner. Combine the two and you’ll be really working smarter, not harder.

2. Remember the 80/20 principle. Eighty percent of your results come from just twenty percent of your effort. Focus on results, not work. More hours does not always equal more results.

3. Outline your process. Yes, every project is unique, but the tasks and milestones in each project are pretty similar. Outlining the process helps you see where to eliminate steps or make the process more efficient. Mind Maps are a great tool for this exercise.

4. Use checkists. Most project management software allows you to create checklists and to-do lists. Once you’ve outlined your process, you can create checklists for each stage of the project. What are your standard deliverables? What problems do you typically run into? What often gets missed? Take a look at Atul Gawande’s book, The Checklist Manifesto, for practical advice on creating and managing checklists.

Focus Your Time

Time is the one resource that cannot be created or stored. It’s our most precious commodity. Guard your time and use it effectively – you can’t make any more.

5. Time is the one resource that cannot be created or stored. It’s our most precious commodity. Guard your time and use it effectively – you can’t make any more.

6. Fill your time jar with the big rocks first.

7. Try working fewer hours, not more. This forces you to focus on the most important tasks. Plus, research shows that working more than forty hours is downright unproductive.

8. Keep a time log. Record how you spend your time during the course of a typical week. This log should be more detailed than a timesheet. You want to record everything you do during the course of the work day. Writing an email to a client, surfing the Internet – record it in the log. Do this for a whole week and you’ll have a really good picture of where your time goes.

9. Eat the frog. Mark Twain said if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, then nothing worse will happen to you all day. Tackle the thing you really don’t want to do first thing in the morning, when you’re fresh. Get it done, then you can move on to the tasks you actually enjoy.

10. Batch related tasks. If you’re working on multiple projects, try working on similar tasks in a series rather than jumping from project to project. This will save you time and energy since focused on a single task.

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