Time Management for Project Managers: Simple Tricks That Can Make Your Life Easier
By Sophie Jones
Successful management of your time is one of the skills the best project managers have to master. The world around us is getting more complex, distractions are getting more common and, to some extent, unavoidable. At the same time, deadlines are not getting any shorter and projects less complicated. What to do in order to overcome these problems? Manage your time effectively! It might seem like a chore at first – I know you have it all under control and enjoy this creative chaos you’re surrounded with. But let’s face it – it’s only a matter of time until a project comes along that you will fail at, if you approach it without a plan.
Here’s a couple of tips that will help you avoid this pitfall:
- Make sure you have proper tools for the job
Every project is different and requires a different set of tools to complete it. Before you start, make sure you have what you need. If you lack anything – software or equipment – this is the best moment to work on getting it. Furthermore, even though we don’t encourage referring to your personnel as tools, this is the moment you have to think about them and their skill set too, whether it’s enough to complete the project or if you need any additional staff.
Make sure tasks are properly distributed.
It might sound simple, but this is the element many failed projects didn’t approach properly. Make sure people work on things they know best, that the distribution of labour is effective – maybe an especially busy department needs some help, while a different department has their part already covered? Remember that in most projects, failure of one element means the failure of the whole thing.
You’re here to manage, not micromanage.
You want to be sure everything is perfect to the last detail, I know. Thing is, the more you focus on the little things, the more you lose sight of the big picture. You’ve prepared extensively – you have chosen the needed equipment and people, you have set clear goals in front of them – now you have to trust them. To an extent, of course, but that’s why you are here to manage the project, as this includes checking up on progress being made.
Create your daily to do list.
It might sound obvious, yet, many skip it. The most common reason is that at the beginning of a project, everything is clear. There are no setbacks or problems, issues seem controllable and the list feels only like an additional hassle. Thing is, with time there will only be more issues and things will start piling up. You might not notice this gradual process until it’s too late and you’ve forgotten about something critical. Get a list. Use it. You will see it is worth it.
Follow these simple guidelines and you will see how easy it is to manage your time and how effective you will become at managing projects.
Sophie Jones works for SavvySME, a community marketplace, which helps Australian small and medium enterprises grow their business.