Good time management is so important in project management, but can be easily over-looked because of poor working habits. Here are some tips to help you get into the good habit of effective time management.
As a project manager, you should be the king of time management right? Your calendar is filled with client meetings, milestones as well as all the other commitments on a PM’s time. But wait… you’re still feeling like you don’t have enough time. How can that be when you’re organised, plan ahead and successful?
Good time management is achievable, but the paths that lead to it can often seem too complex, so we simply abandon the idea and keep limping on in our current state; until we burnout. Even if you think you’ve cracked time management, there’s always room for improvement.
So whether you’re struggling to find enough time for all your obligations, or you’re already managing your time well but would still love to improve your approach, here are a few skills to help you:
What Are You Doing With Your Time?
In order to manage your time, you have to know how you fill it first. Understanding what your time is filled with will enable you to effectively time manage. Track everything in a typical week from how long it takes to update a status report, read and act on emails, talk to stakeholders and team members – everything counts.
Are You Prioritising?
When you have looked at what you fill your time with, you can learn to prioritise your activities. List all your activities and rank them in relation to how important they are. Essential activities could be ranked 1 as most important and activities like social media browsing could be ranked 10 as least important (!). Understanding which tasks need to happen and which don’t, or can wait, is important.
Are You Easily Distracted?
Distraction is a huge issue when it comes to time management. From social media browsing, chatting with the receptionist, to checking emails every 10 minutes – all are distracting things that don’t need to happen right now. It is important you can work uninterrupted for at least a few hours a day. Coach yourself to completely focus on the task in hand and ignore any distractions unless they are extremely urgent.
Are You Focusing On Too Many Things At Once?
Multi-tasking can be useful but it can also limit productivity and cause us to be ‘jack of all trades, master of none’. You might forget to complete certain tasks, complete other tasks less thoroughly than if they had your complete concentration, and potentially exhaust yourself mentally because you are trying to do too much.
Are You Being Too Hard On Yourself?
So many PM’s are guilty of thinking they need to do everything themselves. Understanding what you do need to do, and what you can delegate is also important for managing your time. You’re a leader and a manager – you can’t do that job and complete all the work yourself. Spend your time wisely and don’t be afraid to delegate.