Budget your time to live life, and enjoy family and friends.

We all recognize and accept the ever present dangers and casualties of this great challenging construction industry. In spite of rigid OSHA safety guidelines and regulations, we still suffer far too many work-related injuries and fatalities.

In addition, OSHA, unfortunately, has no regulations or guidelines for our most recurring and costly threats:

  • This industry will steal all of your time and concern if you are really good, love it and get involved. This is commonly referred to as being a "workaholic."

  • You typically remain totally unaware of this merciless robbery of your precious time until it is too late to repair the damages.

  • The costs, punishment and penalties for this larceny of your time are also painfully suffered by your immediate family and close friends. Far too many divorces, broken homes, wayward children and broken promises top the long list of personal distress.

    There is only one person who can stop or at least control this "thieving" construction industry. It's you! Many have either heard or read my philosophical recommendation: Make a good life, not just a living.

    Make The Most Of What You Have

    Naturally, all of this involves keeping score of your personal time commitments as well as all the hours spent working and thinking about work.

    Budgeting your time is much simpler than budgeting money since we are always sure there will be 24 hours in each day. We cannot be sure how much money we will make and the only problem with time is that we don't know how many more days we will live. Tomorrow may never come.

    My son Jack (John Thomas Ridilla) was 47 years old on May 2, 2004. He and his wife, Patty, have one son, Matthew, aged 17, who is a student and baseball player at Lake Mary High School here in Florida. Jack was a jobsite superintendent until Aug. 10, when he died unexpectedly at South Seminole Hospital.

    Fortunately, Jack always budgeted to spend precious quality time with his wife and son, as well as with me. Jack and I worked with each other on many projects and we - Patty, Jack and I - always attended all of Matthew's ball games together. All of our friends and relatives have been very compassionate and we do appreciate that so much, but it can't possibly replace Jack in our lives and in our hearts.

    Jack won't be here to see Matthew graduate from high school or to see him off to college. Jack's boss has set up a college education fund to help Patty ensure Matthew's career goals and all his tomorrows. Our Jack has no tomorrows but, thank God, he shared many beautiful yesterdays with his family.

    You and your employees still have those tomorrows. Much like Jack, you certainly do not know how many, but you should not put off something that you want to do. Live for today and, at the same time, plan and pray for tomorrow. You may need to look back at your own personal life and time commitments to establish a retroactive change of plans to make up for critical things that you really intend to do, but haven't:

      1. Quality time with your spouse, significant other, and family. Do all those things that they enjoy - frequent vacations, trips, social events, shopping, etc. No procrastination on frustrating repairs, remodeling and chores.

      2. Critical time with your children and grandchildren. Sit on the floor with them to color their books or read to them. Play all of those kids' games. They are only 2 or 6 or 16 for one year and you will never get that opportunity again. Attend PTA meetings, go to all their school functions, help with homework, get involved in their problems, take them fishing, hunting, etc.

      3. Take care of your own body. Exercise, get regular physical checkups and take the time to eat properly.

      4. Continue your education. Attend conventions and association meetings for fun and advancement.

      S. Enjoy your hobbies, such as sports and time with friends.

      6. Attend religious services and volunteer as needed.

      7. Be charitable and help others not so fortunate.

      8. Avoid heartbreaking broken promises. When you promise your wife or children that you will do something with them this evening or this weekend, do it! Don't use that worn out, horrible excuse that something critical came up at work that you have to do instead.

    Naturally, people will have different items that they wish they had the time to do. You easily can understand why you need a scorecard for spending your time, just as you need a written budget for spending your money. It's simply a matter of establishing a priority between what you would like vs. what you can afford.

    Budgeting Your Time

    Now I'm going to show you how you can budget more of your precious time toward making a good life and taking care of all your wishes.

    You need to begin with your written scorecard of what tasks or duties you are responsible for and how much time each one requires. We call this a time study.

    You should also evaluate the price per hour you would have to pay another employee to perform that task. This actually tells you how much you are worth for that period of time. You need to avoid menial tasks and unimportant duties.

    I hope you are already using flex-time work hours that allow you and your employees to fulfill your work needs and provide quality hours for personal situations. I doubt that any of your family would miss you or care if you went to work at 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. each day. You can also try four-day work weeks (10 hours per day) or three-day work weeks (13 hours per day).

    But the biggest word for cutting back on work hours is delegate. Assign that duty or task to a responsible employee and then go take care of your business.

    I'm sure many readers have tried delegating and were upset and/or disappointed that the employee did not do the task properly or on time. You've all heard, "If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself." Keep in mind that good employees want to work for a boss who delegates. They want to learn more management techniques and advance in position and salary. They cannot gain anything from a "do-it-myself" boss.

    You need to follow my AAA - SSS method to assure that it gets done your way:

      A. Assign that duty to a responsible employee who fully understands what you want done.

      A. Act - Your employee performs that duty.

      A. Ask - If, for any reason, the employee cannot do the task, he will come back and ask for your assistance. You should never have to check on anything that you assigned.

    If your employees do not follow the three As, you will encounter the three Ss:
      S. Surprise - You discover that they did not act or ask.

      S. Struggle - This could involve many hours of a lot of valuable people's time and money.

      S. Slide - You simply ask that employee what lesser position he would like to try since he could not fulfill your expectations.

    This may sound harsh but, keep in mind, that third "A" gave him the opportunity to ask for your assistance.

    Even the one-man companies can save many work hours by using part-time temporary manpower agencies for office functions and jobsite needs. This is especially critical with how much per hour you are worth when you do those tasks yourself. Your time is worth more at home.

    If you think about making a good life and not just a living, you will have no doubts about the value of keeping your own scorecard. Do it now!

    Ridilla At ISH NA 2004
    Paul Ridilla is a scheduled speaker at this year's ISH North America trade show held Oct. 14-16 in Boston. He will present "Beat Critical Schedules And Tight Labor Budgets: Profit-Oriented Jobsite Team Building Techniques" Thursday, Oct. 14 at 9 a.m., and "Your Female Connection - Today's Quick Fix For Our Critical Skilled Manpower Crisis" Friday, Oct. 15 at 9:45 a.m. To register for the show, visit www.ish-na.com.