Time seems to get away from a lot of us. Most of us never seem to have enough time to get things done, both personally and professionally. That may be okay when it comes to finding the time to clean out the garage, but for gardening professionals we have the added pressure of dealing with seasonal highs and lows, staffing issues, and weather disruptions that can rob us of precious time at the worst possible moments.
Do you ever get overwhelmed by all you need to do in your garden? Weeds to pull, flowers to dead head, mulch to spread, shrubs to dig out, annuals to plant, seeds to sow, the list seems endless at times! Stopping thinking about EVERYTHING that needs to be done or that you want to do in the garden. Because garden health is very important for us. Instead figure out what you can do in 15 or 30 minutes, when you have time, and then go do just that without thinking about everything else. It’s a little time-management mind game.
The point is simply this – you need a system to succeed. Get it structured, get it documented, and get everyone on board. The only alternative is chaos. Time management is also important in our daily life so why not for plants.
So here are my tips. Use them as you will: revise them, restructure them, even reject them and come up with your own.
- I require the use of a digital calendar by all managers — we use Google Calendar. My calendar is shared with my support team. If they want to work with me on anything, they must look at my calendar and invite me to a meeting. Or if my schedule looks too “scary” to them, email me a meeting request. I do the same with them.
- I have a personal and a work calendar and integrate them so I can see both at the same time. This helps me stay accountable to my family. This is super important for all you workaholic-types out there. Family has to be worked in equitably.
- I time-block my calendar in advance. Because I have direct reports that need me on a consistent basis, I preset meetings to ensure that I am engaging with them on a predictable and consistent basis. Meetings can be moved or rescheduled as needed, but they cannot be cancelled without the approval of both parties.
- We pre-schedule production each month on a huge 6’x4’ whiteboard so that we are always looking 30 days out for each division. Every week we review that monthly schedule and make tweaks as the month ticks away and as we need to respond to new information. Every client has a labeled magnet to represent them so we can move them around the board with ease and make notes with markers as needed.
No matter what we do, no one is ever going to “make” more time. There is never going to be a 25-hour day. It’s how we manage the time we have that counts. And that means managing our behavior and habits.