Tag: time management

Top 7 Project Management Productivity Tips

In project management, results are what really matter. You didn’t get into this field because you want to go to work and just “look busy” for 8 hours. You crave efficiency and productivity. Here are 7 tips to help you do achieve that.

1. Prioritize and Take Action

Only work on what’s most important. This may seem intuitive. But it’s actually really easy to get into the habit of taking care of minor tasks first to “get them out of the way” so you can focus on the critical stuff. If you have ten tasks to accomplish today, evaluate how each one should be weighted for importance. You might find that 8 of them are nonessential but you could get them all done today if you work hard. The other 2 are essential but it would take all day just to address those two items. Getting 80% of the items on your list ticked off may look good on paper. It doesn’t mean you’re actually being productive. Put the most vital tasks at the top of your list and address those first.

2. Revisit Goal Setting Daily

Physically putting your goals in writing each day is one way to reinforce both the why and the how of your productivity in project management. Be specific and include both work and general life goals on your list. This is separate from your daily “to do” list. So, focus on your top 3-5 long term objectives. For example

  • Take the lead on the next major multi-million dollar project at my company
  • Pay off my house mortgage by 2017 (5 years ahead of schedule)
  • Learn to speak Italian in preparation for my vacation next summer
  • Put $5000 extra dollars in my child’s education fund over the next 12 months

This practice allows you to take a step back and determine whether your daily activities are taking you closer to or further away from your goals. Visualizing what you expect your future to look like is also a powerful motivator to keep you working.

3. Get Your R & R

Rest and Recreation should be interspersed with your work schedule – not reserved for the weekends. After you have completed the critical tasks on your list, take a break.  Use this time to exercise, eat a gourmet meal complete with freshly harvested vegetables, listen to music, or engage in any other activities that feed your mind, body, or soul. Taking a time out reduces stress and self-care pays off in better focus and enjoyment while you are working.

4. R & R Revisited

This time it’s about Rewards and Recognition. Tie your true productivity (the completion of tasks that actually matter) to some type of prize. In project management, you know how to reward and praise your team when they deliver results. Do the same for yourself. No one is so “mature” or self motivated that they don’t need positive reinforcement.

5. Do What You Hate

Ideally, your career should be something you love.  But there are always going to be some tasks within your job description that you absolutely loathe. If you put these off, the rest of your work may slow down to a crawl as you try to avoid the inevitable. Anxiety doesn’t lessen the longer you put off an unpleasant task – it just gets worse. So, do the things you dislike early in the day to relieve yourself of that burden.

6. Reinforce Your Boundaries

Refuse to take on other people’s work. There are two kinds of coworkers who ask you to do work for them. The people in the first group are really swamped and need to learn better time and task management skills. The people in the second group are just lazy. Neither one of these issues are yours to resolve. The best thing you can do is set an example of what good productivity looks like by getting your work done.

7. Stop Juggling

If you need to get several things accomplished in short period of time, schedule an allotted number of minutes for each task. Then focus completely on the task at hand for each segment of time. This will prevent you from making the errors that typically come with multitasking.

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Project Time Management – Watch The Clock

In the world of project management, it could be argued that no other resource is as valuable as time. This commodity, unlike money or materials, really is irreplaceable. Once a project falls behind schedule, it is extremely difficult to close the gap and get things back on track. One activity or event that is delayed affects the next like a line of falling dominoes. This means wise time administration must be a top priority. Here are several areas where accurate planning and management make a big difference.

Don’t Make Activity Sequencing Too Rigid

When you are creating a WBS, it can be tempting to construct a tidy timeline with one schedule activity flowing neatly into the next in chronological order. However, smart project management planning often means scheduling many activities concurrently even if they will be incorporated during different phases of the actual project. There is no reason to have Team B sitting around with nothing to do when they could be preparing for the role they will play when Team A is done with the first stage of a project.

Unless there is an actual dependency that prevents a schedule activity from a future project phase from being performed in advance, consider staying ahead of the curve by having work done on as many critical aspects of the project as possible simultaneously. This approach can buy you time if your project hits an unexpected snag later on.

Learn Project Duration Shortening Tricks

The old phrase “It takes as long as it takes” doesn’t always apply in project management. When you are estimating the time needed for each scheduled project activity, fully explore your options. Often, there are creative ways you can reduce the time resource required for one or more phases. Here are some questions to ask when planning time commitments:

  • Will adding more human resources to this activity shorten the project duration?
  • Will having employees work overtime get this done task faster or will quality be degraded due to fatigue?
  • Is there an individual on the team who needs to be reassigned because he/she tends to slow things down creating a bottleneck?
  • Would delaying the start of this activity until I have all the right resources in place actually lead to a quicker turnaround time?
  • Is there a tool or training option I can provide (within budget) that will reduce labor for this activity?

Shaving off a few days here or a week there creates a buffer that may help keep your project on schedule in the event of unavoidable delays.

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Time Management Tips for Project Managers

Successful project managers avoid wasting valuable time and are more productive. The following time management tips can help lead to such increased productivity.

  • With a comprehensive plan, everyone on the team knows where the focus should be, allowing the project manager to spend less time dealing with issues caused by confusion and more time tracking progress and moving the project forward.
  • Don’t waste time on endless team meetings. Enforce an agenda that keeps meetings short and to the point. Discussions about big issues should only include individuals that are directly involved. It is pointless to have the whole team sit through a discussion when they could be working.
  • Following the Pareto Principle, or the 80/20 rule, can also improve productivity. As a project manager it pays to focus on the 20 per cent of activities that are most important since these tasks can yield 80 per cent of the desired results.
  • There is no need to get involved in the technical work. It is the project manager’s job to allow the carefully chosen team to concentrate on their work. Instead, spend time steering the project to success. When the project manager loses sight of the big picture problems are created rather than solved.
  • Making a daily to-do list, and crossing items off the list as they are completed, gives a sense of satisfaction and keeps the project manager focused on the day’s objectives.

By following these time management tips the project is sure to move forward and have a greater potential for success.

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