Good project managers understand how critical it is to use their time wisely and efficiently. Still, it’s not always easy to handle distractions, manage consecutive projects and communicate effectively with staff and clients. It takes commitment and discipline to get more done in less time.
The following project management tips can help you regain those lost hours and redirect them down a more productive path:
- Write everything down.
Use whatever project management tool works for you. Get into the habit of record-keeping, note-taking and updating your plan regularly.
- Plan ahead.
Every evening, make a detailed list of what want and need to accomplish the following day. Once you’ve done this, determine which tasks you can delegate, and prioritize the list from most to least important. Completing the most vital tasks first will allow you to be more productive and ultimately accomplish more.
- Once you have a daily plan, stick with it.
Your to-do list is useless if you don’t follow it, and putting off your tasks will not make them go away. As tempting as it may be to procrastinate, doing so will throw off your entire schedule.
- Keep close track of your distraction.
Distractions are going to happen, so make a list of what is distracting you. Record the date and time of the distraction, the cause of it and how long it lasted. Do this for about a week, then use the list to determine the value that came out of each distraction. Then use your findings to cut out the distractions that do not lead to anything productive.
- Keep a record of how you spend your time.
For at least a week, record everything you do during the day and note how long it takes. Do not skip anything, even if it seems unimportant and/or takes just a minute. After a week or so, examine your time log and evaluate how you spent your minutes and hours. Make any necessary adjustments to increase your productivity.
- Use smart time management when planning meetings.
For starters, make certain that the meeting is absolutely necessary. Is there another method of communication (email, conference call, etc.) that will serve the same purpose? Also, determine whether or not you are actually needed in the meeting, or if there are others you can delegate this responsibility to. When you do run a meeting, plan it in detail beforehand and make sure that those attending know what will be covered and how long will be allotted for each item. Once you are in the meeting, stick to the agenda so no time is wasted.
These project management tips on using your time effectively are a great start to delivering a successful final project. By keeping up with project management trends you can develop a time management system that is just right for you and it may even help your career!
We thank to the University Alliance which submitted this article on behalf of Villanova University’s online programs. Villanova offers PMP training prep courses to help professionals take with their PMP certification. For more information please visit http://www.villanovau.com.