Mark’s Viewpoint


By Mark Buckshon

Fall is almost always the busiest time of year in our business. The combination of association and social activities, with a generally higher seasonal business volume, results in a fair level of stress and time management challenges. There’s also some travel in the schedule, including a transcontinental journey in late September and a visit to North Carolina a few weeks later in October.

Nevertheless, despite the challenges, I’m noticing the workload stress is declining – largely because of technology.

Researching and writing, for example, formerly required a fair bit of searching through diverse offline sources, phone interviews and in-person visits. Some of this is still needed, but much crucial information can be gathered with a few clicks of the computer keyboard. As well, I can fit in small pieces of work at different hours of day and night. Some might find this stressful; I find it liberating – I can (in return) take a bit of time off during the day and enjoy family vacations by allocating a few hours of work time in an otherwise free schedule.

The other key is to understand what is important, and how to spend time constructively.

For example, Robert Merkley of Merkley Supply Ltd. In Ottawa encouraged me to participate in the 100 km Ride the Rideau cancer research fundraising event on Sept. 7. That’s a lot of riding. I decided to practice by commuting on the bike when the weather is decent between my home, office and gym.  The total riding distance is about 35 km – and, now that I’ve got the hang of it, it takes only a little more time than in the car.  I’ve also been reasonably efficient in the fund-raising – sending emails, using Facebook and (if you wish to support the cause), providing a link here:

The most important time management skill, however, undoubtedly, is the one that might seem to break some rules: I’ll do what I like, and avoid what I don’t. Now, I know some people will say that just having fun is an invitation for misplaced priorities and ineffective business management. But I look at it somewhat differently. If the work isn’t fun, can I find a way for someone else to do it (often at much lower cost)?  And the “fun”, seemingly unproductive time often produces incredibly satisfying results because passion connects with effort and skill, and this results in excellence.

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            Surprisingly few readers fully appreciate the free services we offer. Of course, if you want to promote your own business directly through advertising or editorialized advertising feature coverage, we’d like to see some money. However, these rules don’t apply for genuine community service and association-related activities. Here, the publicity is always free.

Sometimes, of course, readers wish us to advance political issues or causes. Our approach in these circumstances is to combine fairness with respect. For example, if Merit Ontario or the Ontario Construction Secretariat contract with us to produce feature profiles, we’ll write the story as they wish.

On the other hand, controversies about the Ontario College of Trades or municipal union-labour procurement rules require us to be more balanced.  We’ll do our best to report both sides of the story, without bias.

Please connect with me if you would some publicity for your business, organization or cause. If it can’t be free, I’ll work with you to ensure that you receive a net gain on your investment.

Mark Buckshon is president of the Construction News and Report Group of Companies. He writes a daily blog at and can be reached by email at or by phone at (888) 432-3555 ext 224.


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