Time management is an essential skill for any successful project manager. By putting in place key structures and framework you can make the most of your time and ensure you are well equipped to tackle any obstacles that may occur along the way.
Effective time management during a project provides the glue that helps to bind the whole process together and can be the vital difference between success and failure.
Here are some key time management tips to help increase your efficiency and productivity.
- Set Your Goals
Having clear goals in mind for your project is a great place to start and allows you to focus on and plan based around what you are working towards.
Be sure to keep these goals within your view at all times so that even when you may feel like you aren’t seeing the progress you had hoped for, you will be able to remind yourself what you are working towards and keep motivated.
This could be a whiteboard, a laminated plan on your desk or even something as simple as a post-it-note to keep you driven and focused when you look at it each day.
- Arm Yourself with The Right Tools
You wouldn’t expect a carpenter to produce their best work with inadequate tools and it’s no different for project managers. By assessing your needs early on in the project planning stage you will be able to ensure you have the very best software and equipment at your disposal.
This might include things like collaboration software, communications equipment or resource management software.
- Produce a Plan
A clear and detailed plan allows you to demonstrate to your team exactly what their roles are, what is required of them and what they have to do which helps to prevent potential issues and time wasted down the line from a lack of clarity.
- Make a Schedule
Having a realistic schedule laid out is a great way to help you prioritise, stay on track and meet deadlines.
You can do this in a way that best suits you which can include a schedule for the day or even week – allowing you to tick off jobs or tasks as you complete them. This creates a positive work behaviour and builds confidence and job satisfaction from seeing the progress being made each day.
This can often be one of the hardest parts of project management and it’s important to get it right.
As a project manager, you need to allow time each day for overseeing of work, decision making and helping on key areas if problems arise. Try to ensure that you are not giving yourself too much of the work, which could leave you overrun and compromise your ability to manage effectively.
- The 80/20 Rule
Also known as the Pareto Principle – the 80/20 rule is one of the guiding principles of project management and states that around 80% of your output will be generated by just 20% of your input.
This means that of all your tasks, jobs and activities that form your project – only 20% of them will be really important and will likely amount to 80% of your results.
Therefore, it is important for project managers to identify the elements which have the most impact and focus on them, ensuring that the right attention is dedicated to the correct tasks.
If you need help ascertaining which elements of your project are the most important then the Pareto chart can help you to rank them in order and plan accordingly.
- Identify Time Lost
Time is precious in project management and it’s critical that you identify where and why you are losing time so that you can put in place the necessary changes to resolve the issue.
You must be realistic with deadlines. Deadlines that are too short can lead to unnecessary stress or substandard work from having to rush, but long deadlines can lead to procrastination.
Be sure to break tasks down into smaller goals and set shorter-term deadlines for them, working towards the overall long term deadline to help keep yourself motivated and working at a steady pace.
Anybody can be more productive and time-efficient if they take the right steps. Remember at the end of each day to ask yourself ‘how did I move the project forward today’ and use your answer to help plan your path for the next day.
By taking a small amount of time to put in place the right framework you will make your job a lot easier and ensure a successful project from planning to completion.