Flat Rate & Time Management
Flat Rate & Time Management as an Automotive Technician
One of the biggest reasons a technician needs to have a time management program? Flat rate!
Unless you are in an hourly situation you only have so many minutes in your given workday to produce a paycheck that is worthy of your time, skills, and tool investment with a flat rate & time management system.
What is a simple definition of time? It is the measured or measurable period during which an action, process, or condition exists or continues duration, a nonspatial continuum that is measured in terms of events which succeed one another from past through present to future.
How does it effect a flat rate tech? Some say unfairly, others state “it’s the best thing that has ever happened to me”.
Let’s talk about flat rate & time management and how working smarter will enhance your productivity. Do you ever feel like there's not enough time in the day? We all get the same 24 hours – so why do some people seem to achieve more with their time than others? The answer: good time management.
Flat rate & time management is the process of organizing and planning how to divide your time between different activities. Get it right, and you'll end up working smarter, not harder, to get more done in less time – even when time is tight, and pressures are high.
The highest achievers manage their time exceptionally well. And by using time-management resources, you too can make the most of your time – starting right now!
Start by taking a look at your day and how you manage your time. How good are you at organizing your tools, can you balance your time between two or three cars at one time. Good time management takes a shift in focus from activities to results.
If you want better results than you will need to manage your time. Being busy isn’t the same as being effective. Truth be known many people, the busier they are, the less they will actually achieve.
The Benefits of Good Flat Rate & Time Management
When you know how to manage your time effectively, you can unlock many benefits.
These include:
  • Greater productivity and efficiency
  • Less stress
  • A better professional reputation
  • Increased chances of advancement
  • More opportunities to achieve your life and career goals
Overall, you start feeling more in control, with the confidence to choose how best to use your time. And by feeling happier, more relaxed, and better able to think, you're in a great place to help others reach their targets, too.
You can achieve more when you start dedicating time to the right things. But how do you know what those things are? Let’s take a look.
Imagine your boss just asked you prepare a presentation on workflow because they are seeing you accomplishing a lot more than others in the shop.
You only have a few days to prepare this, your workload is already high, and you have many urgent tasks to perform on your To-do-list. All of a sudden you feel anxious, you can’t concentrate, and everything now seems to distract you. With a flat rate & time management system you will succeed at the assignment.
What Are "Urgent" and "Important" Activities?
In a 1954 speech to the Second Assembly of the World Council of Churches, former U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was quoting Dr J. Roscoe Miller, president of Northwestern University, said: "I have two kinds of problems: the urgent and the important. The urgent are not important, and the important are never urgent." This "Eisenhower Principle" is said to be how he organized his workload and priorities.
He recognized that great time management means being effective as well as efficient. In other words, we must spend our time on things that are important and not just the ones that are urgent. To do this, and to minimize the stress of having too many tight deadlines, we need to understand this distinction:
Important activities have an outcome that leads to us achieving our goals, whether these are professional or personal. Urgent activities demand immediate attention and are usually associated with achieving someone else's goals. They are often the ones we concentrate on and they demand attention because the consequences of not dealing with them are immediate.
When we know which activities are important and which are urgent, we can overcome the natural tendency to focus on unimportant urgent activities, so that we can clear enough time to do what's essential for our success. This is the way we move from "firefighting" into a position where we can grow our businesses and our careers.
Important Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle
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Use the strategies described below to schedule your activities.
1. Important and Urgent
There are two distinct types of urgent and important activities: ones that you could not have foreseen, and others that you've left until the last minute.
You can eliminate last-minute activities by planning ahead and avoiding procrastination.
However, you can't always predict or avoid some issues and crises. Here, the best approach is to leave some time in your schedule to handle unexpected issues and unplanned important activities. (If a major crisis arises, then you'll need to reschedule other tasks.)
If you have a lot of urgent and important activities, identify which of these you could have foreseen, and think about how you could schedule similar activities ahead of time, so that they don't become urgent.
2. Important but Not Urgent
These are the activities that help you achieve your personal and professional goals, and complete important work.
Make sure that you have plenty of time to do these things properly, so that they do not become urgent. Also, remember to leave enough time in your schedule to deal with unforeseen problems. This will maximize your chances of keeping on track, and help you avoid the stress of work becoming more urgent than necessary.
3. Not Important but Urgent
Urgent but not important tasks are things that prevent you from achieving your goals. Ask yourself whether you can reschedule or delegate them.
A common source of such activities is other people. Sometimes it's appropriate to say "no" to people politely, or to encourage them to solve the problem themselves.
Alternatively, try to have time slots when you are available, so that people know they can speak with you then. A good way to do this is to arrange regular meetings with those who interrupt you often, so that you can deal with all their issues at once. You'll then be able to concentrate on your important activities for longer.
4. Not Important and Not Urgent
These activities are just a distraction – avoid them.
You can simply ignore or cancel many of them. However, some may be activities that other people want you to do, even though they don't contribute to your own desired outcomes. Again, say "no" politely, if you can, and explain why you cannot do it.
If people see that you are clear about your objectives and boundaries, they will often avoid asking you to do "not important" activities in the future.
Key Points
Eisenhower's Urgent/Important Principle helps you quickly identify the activities that you should focus on, as well as the ones you should ignore. For technicians flat rate & time management is more important than other industries.
When you use this tool to prioritize your time, you can deal with truly urgent issues, at the same time as you work towards important, longer-term goals.
To use the tool, list all of your tasks and activities, and put each into one of the following categories:
  • Important and urgent.
  • Important but not urgent.
  • Not important but urgent.
  • Not important and not urgent.
 Then schedule tasks and activities based on their importance and urgency.
At Mechanic Alliance we hang our hat on efficiency. That is why in diagnostics we are ALWAYS 112%-117% efficient. Yes, that’s right with our diagnostics program you can work 40 hours doing straight diagnostics and easily bill 44.8 to 46.8 hours. You can have it control you or you can control it. We prefer to ALWAYS control it. What’s your flat rate & time management system? Need help, reach out today mray@mechanicalliance.com


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