Time is the one commodity that seems to always go up in value no matter what. As buys professionals, time management is one of the ‘X-factors’ that can take a good resource and turn them into a great resource. We all say that time management is important, and it is, but time management techniques (and measures of success) vary from role to role when it comes to project execution. For this post I thought I’d share a little of my thoughts on what a successful time management strategy is from a project manager’s perspective.
We’ve all heard of the daily to-do lists that we should always prepare. The checklist of what we want to achieve that day that 80% of the time never gets done as planned. So what can you do differently? Well, being a great project manager, you should be developing a plan on how you’re going to achieve your list (i.e. your scope) in the time you have to dedicate to it. Here’s a strategy that I use to build my daily plans
Look at the time (hours) you have to dedicate to your tasks. Being a busy project manager, your day is going to be scattered with meetings. Subtract the meeting time, plus the prep and post work you need to do in order to get the available time you will have to work on your tasks
You should be able to understand the time needed to complete the items on your checklist. Take the time you have available to you to work on your tasks and determine what you can achieve with that time. Like we tell our project teams when estimating – be realistic with what you feel you can achieve. As pressure mounts, there is a natural tendency to try to achieve more with less (time) and that usually results in substandard quality being delivered.
Examine the priority of your tasks. Know what absolutely has to be done first/today and put that to the top of your list, knowing the time you have to dedicate to it. Is it a type of task that requires an extended period of focus (i.e. not something that can be done in several 30-minute chunks of time)? If so, make sure you block off your calendar accordingly.
Set mini-deadlines (i.e. time of day) for when you feel you can feasibly achieve the results that your plan is calling for.
Once you have your plan set, it boils down to focus, disciplined execution and ensuring that you do everything you can to stick to your plan. Things will come up, it’s important to understand that if you need to alter your plan that you go through your planning steps again to make sure that you’re working on your tasks in an organized fashion to get the results you need to be successful in your day.