The work of technical creatives like architects is highly demanding. From designing buildings, managing projects and drawings, and coordinating with teams to meeting with clients, soliciting for new business, and everything in between, it can all seem overwhelming.

On most days, take-away meals, working all night, and dealing with the pressure to deliver elegant designs in time are nothing new in the life of an architect.

But it doesn’t have to be that way, not if you master effective time management skills. You can wish for more hours all you want, but sadly you simply won’t get it. What you can do though, is learn the ropes on how to manage your time and increase your creative output.

That’s why we’ve prepared a post exploring some simple time management techniques that will allow you to work more efficiently and increase your productivity.

Let’s get started.

Time Boxing

As an architect, one of the most difficult struggles is to develop the discipline to work. You’ve probably done this a couple of times. You reviewed your to-do list the evening before and know exactly what you need to do in the morning. In fact, you have a deadline coming up in a few days.

However, you get to work and decide to take a quick look at your email. Something interesting catches your eye. Perhaps a client requesting a few sketches of the building. You think to yourself, “I’ll get this done right away. It shouldn’t take long.” Several hours, phone calls, and emails later, you’re still on that job.

Your schedule is already ruined, and the deadline is dangerously close.

You can avoid all that by time boxing. With this technique, you use short, structured sprints to concentrate on set goals. It involves time and task chunking, where you divide your project into small separate tasks and assign each task a fixed deadline.

Once you decide which task to tackle, you set a timer and work on nothing else but that particular task. Creating smaller milestones and shorter periods between those deadlines can help you work more efficiently and be more productive.

The Parkinson’s Law

Parkinson’s Law states that: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.”

Most of us have a tendency to overestimate what we can do in a short time and underestimate what we can accomplish in a long time. We fail to be realistic about setting time estimates.

Before long, the deadline is looming, and you’re not close to finishing work. Strangely, we tend to work harder and manage to get a significant amount of work done when pressed for time.

You can try to trick your mind into working at a quicker rate by imposing shorter deadlines on yourself.

Keep a Time Log

Analyzing how you spend your time working not only helps you identify where it gets most wasted but also allows you to measure your time so you can improve it. Therefore, consider tracking the time you spend on various activities, from sketching, meeting with contractors, 3D rendering, building models, etc.

You can do so manually, but then this method is tedious and prone to errors. The best strategy is to find the best time tracking app that automatically monitors your activities and tracks billable hours.

The tool provides insightful data that allows you to analyze your workweek and truly understand how you spend your time.

The Pareto Principle

The concept behind Pareto Principle is that 80 percent of your results come from just 20 percent of your efforts. When it comes to time management, most people resort to to-do lists to guide them.

However, research shows that almost 90 percent of people never finish their to-do list. The biggest reason for this is that most of the tasks on your to-do list are low value. No wonder you don’t put too much effort into accomplishing them.

The Pareto Principle is an effective time management technique you can employ to actually finish what you’ve set out to do. Try it today. Simply create a list that has only 20 percent of tasks that will provide you with 80 percent of the results.

To do that, create the list as you normally would. Then rank the items from highest to lowest, according to the amount of effort it will take to complete the task. Now, rank the tasks according to the impact of each task on your work or business.

At the end of it, you’ll have tasks falling under four categories:

  • High impact, low effort
  • High impact, high effort
  • Low impact, low effort
  • Low impact, high effort

Basically, you want to begin with tasks under the high impact, low effort group and finish with items of the low impact, high effort category.

The Pomodoro Technique

The Pomodoro technique is quite simple. You work for short sprints of 25 minutes, where you focus entirely on the task at hand. You then take a 5-minute break before embarking on another 25-minute work sprint.

It’s an excellent technique for blocking distractions and pushing yourself to achieve more productivity. It is also effective in ensuring you don’t spend too much time on a single task, which can hinder you from achieving your daily targets.

Prioritization

Nothing works as effectively as prioritizing and completing high-value tasks first. These are usually the most difficult tasks, and by tackling them first, you’re taking advantage of your peak productive time to work on the most important tasks.

Doing so will save you time later. For instance, building a model is one of the most difficult tasks for an architect. Models provide a 3D of all the parts and pieces of the project. This gives you a clearer picture of what you’ll be doing.

By completing the model first, you can design the floor plans, sections, elevation, and so on. It basically gives you an idea of the final product, including the materials and resources needed for the project.

Since you prioritized the most difficult task, the rest become easier to sync into the plan without wasting time with back-and-forth reviews of the project.

Wrapping Up

As an architect, you may struggle to fit all your tasks in a day, finding the hours too few. However, with practice, discipline, and persistence, you can perfect your time management skills, which can empower you to maintain high levels of productivity.

Author

Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.

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