written by Traci Brosman
You never know when you are going to find skills that will help you with your business. Today, I want to share with you something that I know will help you increase your profits and manage your time better.
Important Time Management Skill
This last weekend we had to remove 10,000 square feet of sod so that we could replace it with St. Augustine grass. We were not doing this because we wanted to but because our HOA was requiring it. We purchased this home a year ago and it had been vacant for three years before that. Unfortunately, we have been unable to get the yard to meet the required standards of the HOA and as a last resort; we were replacing the entire lawn.
You are probably wondering how this story will help you with your business but continue reading and you will see an important lesson.
Friday afternoon we rented a dump trailer, bought a wheelbarrow and started picking up the sod. The good news is that since it was dead it was extremely light. The bad news is that it literally fell apart into tiny little tufts in our hands and was going to take forever to load. That afternoon we raked the sod on to old bed linens and then lifted the sheets into the dump trailer and emptied them. After several hours, the dump trailer was loaded and we figured we would need to repeat this entire process 6 more times to remove all of the sod.
Time Management Problem
However, here is the big problem we faced. The landfill where we were taking the sod opened at 7:30 am Saturday morning and closed at 5:00 pm on Saturday. It would not be open again until 7:30 am Monday morning. This was also the time our new sod would be arriving. The other problem we faced is that it was a 1 hour round trip to dump the sod each time at the landfill. With these calculations, it would take approximately 19 hours on Saturday to complete this project. Yet we only had 9 ½ hours to actually do it.
We had talked with several professionals in the weeks leading up to this monumental task and they told us that there was no easy way to do this. It was slow backbreaking work that had to be done by hand.
Realizing that we were not going to be able to do this in time even with the friends who had been recruited to help, my husband began thinking outside of the box. This is just one of the many things I love about him. He always looks for the solution instead of focusing on the problem.
His first idea was to go and purchase a yard vacuum. He figured that since the dead grass was very light and almost the consistency of hay that he could just vacuum up the yard like you would leaves and mulch it down into fine pieces. We found a yard vac on craigslist and went and purchased it that night after we finished with the first load. When we got back, it was dark but we wanted to see if it would work. Al started it up and ran it across the lawn. Nothing happened. He went down another area of the yard and still nothing. Even though the sod was very light, the dirt it was attached to was still too heavy for the yard vac to pick up.
We went to bed that night knowing that tomorrow was going to be a killer day but we would just do the best we could.
We took the first load to the landfill bright and early Saturday morning and it weighed 2,850 pounds. We only had to rake and lift another 17,000 pounds and make six more trips to the dump in 9 hours. Since six of these hours would be used in travel time, we only had 3 hours to pick up 17,000 pounds of sod. The thought was overwhelming.
The Time Management Solution
Al could not accept that there was not a better way though. At 8:00 am, he called a construction rental place in town and asked them if they had a tractor with bucket and something that would also drag the yard. Guess what, they did. We left the landfill and went to pick up the tractor. When we got it home, he started it up and made the first pass over the yard. Within 30 minutes, he had most of the yard in piles and another load filled and ready to go to the dump. This load was 4,000 pounds.
At that point, we realized we were going to make it. Woohoo! Because he could pack the dump trailer with more sod, we would be able to complete the job in fewer trips. In the end, we only made five trips for a total of 20,000 pounds. We also finished by 4:00 pm and everyone who helped us was able to go play golf until dark.
The reason I wanted to share this with you is that it is extremely important in your business to not accept defeat. Always be looking for ways that you can improve and do things better. Just because someone else does not try new things does not mean that you should limit yourself. Look for the solutions and you will find them. By being willing to think outside the box, you will not only manage your time better but you will also help more people and increase your income.
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