New Year Challenge: clear the clutter and maximize time

Justin White
CEO of K&D Landscaping

Do you ever find yourself reaching the end of the day and wondering where all the time went? If you said yes, you are not alone. It is a constant battle in our life; how do we get more done in less time and still achieve the results we desire in our business and personal life? If you can spare six minutes to read this article and implement a few strategies, I guarantee you will see an improvement in your time management this year.

The 80/20 Rule — Trivial Many, Vital Few

The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, states that 80% of your results will come from 20% of your activities. Adversely, 80% of your activities will only yield 20% of your results. At K&D, we call this our “trivial many, vital few.” The exercise: make a list of the top 25 tasks you do regularly, (tip: keep a journal for 2-3 weeks and this list will create itself), and then choose five tasks that you feel are the most important and yield 80% of your results. Next to each vital task, write how you will do more of those essential duties in the future.

The remaining 20 are now by default your trivial many; create a plan next to each of these tasks to reduce, eliminate or delegate them. There may be items on here that need to continue to be done, such as taking checks to the bank or walking the dog. These are tasks that may not yield great results but are important for security or your mental health. After completing this exercise, you will be more aware of your top 20% and when you find yourself in the bottom 80%, ask yourself if you are the best person to be doing this task.

Default Calendar

In the landscape industry, time escapes easily and we can end up jumping from fire to fire and meeting to meeting without any real purpose or intent. Setting up a default calendar will help keep you focused on what is essential. Set time blocks in advance for those tasks you can’t seem to spend enough time on, such as strategy, following up with clients, getting back to emails and prospecting for future employees or new work.

The exercise: Utilize a digital calendar such as Google or Apple that will sync between devices and connect via email. Start by blocking out 1-2 hour sessions for your top 5 vital tasks every week. For example, Monday morning could be for jobsite visits and Monday afternoon can be used for calling all potential clients back whom you quoted last week, and so on. The goal of this exercise is to dedicate time to spend on your most important tasks while taking care of the day-to-day firefighting in between these blocks. Every week is going to be different; however, the more consistency and rhythm you can bake into your weekly calendar, the smoother your week is going to be.

Prepare For Success

Every Sunday evening, I spend up to an hour preparing for the week. I review my calendar, meetings and to-do list to ensure I am focusing on the right tasks. If my week looks like I am living in my “trivial many” rather than my “vital few,” I will rearrange my week or delegate tasks to maximize my efficiency. I may excuse myself from certain meetings if my presence does not present added value to me or the team. Doing this on Sunday allows me to start Monday with a prepared mind and complete focus on execution.

Let me know how you do! I would love to read some of your 80/20 lists and results from these exercises. Feel free to drop me an email with any questions or feedback on how your time management can be improved.

Raise the bar is a monthly column by Justin White, CEO of K&D Landscaping, written to help improve professionalism in the green industry.

January 2023
Explore the January 2023 Issue

Check out more from this issue and find you next story to read.

Share This Content