Construction Curiosities #6 – Presidential Productivity Hack, Amazon Pullbacks, 57 stories in 19 days

Hey! Happy Friday! Matt here. Welcome to the Construction Curiosities newsletter. Especially to the New Subscribers. We had another 25% increase in subscribers since last week! Welcome and Thank You for being here! If you get value from this newsletter, let’s keep it going! Please help us continue to grow. Send this newsletter to either 2 friends or the “All Staff” email at your company. I won’t be mad with either choice.

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This weekly Newsletter will explore my Curiosities around the Construction Industry. It’s meant to make you think, smile, and become a better, more well-informed Construction Professional.

The real value in this newsletter isn’t necessarily what I think and say, it’s the conversation by the group. I hope you will join the conversation on !


This week we will look at:

  • One Hack: Presidential Productivity Hack
  • Two Articles: Amazon Pullbacks
  • One Video: 57 Stories Built in 19 Days
  • One Quote: Urgent Present vs. Important Future
  • One Meme: When’s the deadline?

One Hack

As Construction Project Managers, we have a lot of “things” hit our inboxes. Too many things. Some important, some trivial. Some urgent and some not.

How are we to make sense of all the noise and decide what to do to move the project forward?

Years ago a colleague told me that he knew a Project Engineer/ Assistant PM was ready for a promotion when they could create their own to-do list. At the time I thought well that’s simple. But as the years have gone by, this has stuck with me. I’ve come to realize it’s not the simple task of creating a to-do list that matters. It’s the ability to create an Effective To-Do list.

Around the same time in my career, I had that “promotion” discussion, I discovered the Eisenhower Matrix. Created by Dwight D Eisenhower. Simply put, Eisenhower was a productive dude. He was the Commander of the Allied Forces during WW2. He become the President of Columbia University and then the 34th President of the United States. He authorized the creation of NASA, DARPA, and the Interstate Highway System. That’d all make quite a LinkedIn profile page.

This simple 2×2 square has been an essential part of my daily routine ever since. I used to have it printed on my desk but now it’s just in my head and with practice, I can quickly make decisions to Do, Schedule for Later, Delegate, or Delete.


Urgent and Important. Do this stuff now. These are the tasks that you must do to keep the project moving every day. This is your job description level stuff.

This square is simple.


Not Urgent but Important. These are the things that really propel your project, company, or career. The things that you can just never get to cause you don’t have the time. Create uninterrupted AND uninterruptible time for it. Put it on the calendar. Close your door, silence notifications, and get to work.

Checking and responding to emails should also go in the Schedule square. Check and process emails in batches 2-3 times per day. Sitting there all day waiting for an email so you can reply instantly is a waste of time. While processing emails is an important task for anyone in 2022 (and can seem urgent) they rarely are. No one is going to send you an email that the building is on fire.

For your passion projects create a schedule and give yourself deadlines. This creates internal urgency when external urgency doesn’t exist. This is how I’ve kept going on this newsletter. I have a Friday morning deadline every week to publish. (Even if that deadline is something I completely made up.)

The Not Urgent but Important also includes your own Mental and Physical health. Make it a priority. Put it on the calendar and DO NOT CANCEL.


Urgent but Not Important. This one is pretty self-explanatory. As a leader, you must have the faith in your team to be able to delegate tasks that don’t need you. This empowers the team and frees you up for higher leverage activities that require your expertise.

I realize in this industry there are many times when you won’t have anyone to delegate to. In such a case think about how you can automate a labor-intensive task. Such as putting bills on auto-pay. Delegate to the robots.

As a younger construction manager, there’s a fine line between being helpful and useful to the team and being dumped on. If you are consistently getting bombarded by delegations that make it impossible to get your important tasks completed find a way to tactically push back. Explain to the Delegator how taking on this additional work will impact your work and therefore affect the project as a whole.


Not Urgent and Not Important. These are the things that are true time wasters. Such as mindlessly scrolling on Social Media. Find and destroy the “busy work” that doesn’t matter yet takes precious time.

In this hyper-productivity world we live in, many people assume that any sort of downtime, fun time, or areas of mental break should be avoided at all costs. Yet your brain and body need a chance to experience joy or even simply take a rest. Sure it’s fine every now and then to binge all four seasons of Stranger Things. I would even argue that is Important however not Urgent and should be scheduled into your calendar.


You aren’t going to be Dwight D. Eisenhower, but this trick will make you more aware of how you are spending your time—making you more productive and effective.

How are you going to use this to become a Better Construction Professional?

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Two Articles

Amazon just spent who knows how much money building a massive distribution warehouse down the road from my house and it just never opened. Now there is a For Sale sign out front. I was telling a coworker this last week and he said the exact something happened to him on the other side of town… It got me wondering so I found this:

Why Amazon’s warehouse pullback is good news for contractors

Not just warehouses: Amazon pulls back on office projects, too

One Video

One Quote

“Who can define for us with accuracy the difference between the long and short term! Especially whenever our affairs seem to be in crisis, we are almost compelled to give our first attention to the urgent present rather than to the important future.”

– Dwight D. Eisenhower

One Meme

This week I went GIF heavy. Let me know if you loved it or hated it. If you didn’t get the full experience due to your email platform hating me (looking at you Outlook) go to the Substack page:

Make my Gifs Work!

Let me know in the comments or send me an email ([email protected]) what you liked, didn’t like, want to see more of in the future, or have suggestions!

More GIFs? Less Gifs? Let me know!

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