One Of The Top Secrets That Can Make Or Break Your Project

One Of The Top Secrets That Can Make Or Break Your Project

I’ve said this way too many times but oh well.  I’m going to say it again….


Actually, let me rephrase that…


I take notes like crazy.  The reason for this is that I feel that if I can get things out of my mind and captured somewhere then I can remain more creative in what I am doing moment by moment. If I’m going to be having a conversation with a sub-trade or a designer or an owner or anyone really, and I have 10 things going on in my mind I don’t think I’m going to be very helpful to them or truly be in the moment.  Not being fully present during those discussions is one of the biggest barriers to effective communication.

We all have different ways to capture things to clear our mind and I’m just going to give you an example of how I do it. Hopefully, it can help you with anything that you do.

You might be a paper person or a digital person or whatever and they’re all good whatever works for you is fine. Some people believe if they write it down on paper they remember better and I believe that’s true.

In the beginning, I’d say, more than 30 years ago I used to have some kind of a day planner. It used actually get bigger and bigger to a point where the paper was exploding out of it. I remember the crew on the job site having fun one day and hiding it under the seat of my truck and then watch me stressing out because I couldn’t find it. For that reason, I highly recommend you have some kind of way to duplicate your info in some way, shape, or form even if it’s just your main items like phone numbers, contacts, etc. I’m digital at this point and it can be easier that way because you can have the version on your phone tablet or laptop or desktop etc. and then another copy on a drive or a cloud etc. As long as it is floating in the cloud or on that drive. Set up a reminder for yourself to check that at certain periods during the year. I still have copies of all my paper day planners, digital planners, etc. And yes, I do refer to them from time to time for that unusual item I’m digging for.

I later moved to a personal digital assistant, which in my case that was a palm pilot. I fell in love with that thing. It was truly my personal assistant. It would get to a point where the reminders in there were nagging me maybe too often so there were days that I would just ignore it.

Here is an example of a list I have where I capture ideas as they come through my head.

I do a very similar thing on all my projects.

There are many items on that list right now.  I think I need to do some cleaning up on that one and delete the tasks I’ve dealt with. There are more headings not shown also.

The app that I am using is great because when I check something off as complete, it still saves it so when I’m going to my next project I can be scanning through that old list of everything crossed out and read through just to see what I might capture and bring to the next list. Sometimes there are some things that you forget and just refreshing your memory with an old list helps you avoid missing some of those big items on a project (ie like ordering that unique shower unit that is 8 weeks to get). Saving-your old list on paper that have things checked off can also be very useful for this. I can’t count how many people have said to me “ Mike this is the last renovation that we are going to do” more than once.  Keeping your old notes might save you from suffering through an old pain in the butt again.

Below is a sub-list I would have within one of the headings above.

The electrical list above may not mean anything to you but these short-form notes remind me of a lot of details that I need to deal with when communicating with my electrician etc.

I take these notes as soon as I get the thought in my head if possible.  If I can’t put them down digitally, I’ll put them on a scrap piece of paper near me. I will sometimes mute someone on the phone so they can’t hear me and then turn to my iPad and take a new note using Voice to Text or just tell my dog (he’s usually at my feet when working at home).  Unfortunately, ideas come at the strangest times and they can also disappear that easily.  Sometimes we fill the void with other stuff 🙂 if we don’t capture these ideas right then and there.

So these sub-lists are very useful whenever I talk to someone on the phone, whenever I meet them in person, whenever I am building an agenda for a meeting or when sending out an email.  Quite simply put, by using sublists, we avoid having things slip through the cracks (unfortunately we find about these missed items at the end of the job and at that time it may be way too expensive to implement them into the project).

There are hundreds, more likely thousands, of times on projects where we allowed for future things in one-way shape or form (like where we put the conduit in or a special chase) and on that very project those items were utilized and saved the owner thousands of dollars (this is a whole other topic I’ll refer to another time)

In the end, before I’m done talking to a person or before I even speak to them I am referring to these lists and either prioritizing them or just scanning through them to make sure we get them done.

This is definitely one of my top 10 ways to have a successful Reno or new build. These lists help me remain creative and solution-oriented instead of stressed and overwhelmed. I really love the synergy with people when solving challenges or creating new ways to do something on projects. Ok, maybe I am a little cuckoo!

I hope there’s a couple of little secrets here that can help you to save on your project !! I could dive into multiple levels here with these task lists as there are so many features on apps that I love and so many other ways to manage your tasks but I’ll save that for another day.

Passionately yours,
Mike Collins (aka The Construction / Real Estate Investing Coach)

P.S. – Aren’t these notes just mini-goals? I do this with my personal goals also, keeping them at the top!

No Comments

Post A Comment