Most of New Year’s resolutions are about the extra pounds we want to shed in the new year or that job promotion we want to ask for but didn’t have the guts to address it. Basically, everyone is thinking about personal achievements that are as far away from the office as possible.
Still, there may be some benefits in connecting this year’s resolutions with the job. For instance, as a project manager, it can be rather difficult to entirely separate personal life from the job. Whether you want it or not, your mind is constantly pondering solutions that are about improving the work process of your team and getting better projects and customers.
So why not put this effort into your New Year’s resolutions? After all, more efficiency in the office could mean a better position in the company and could translate into more money and perks in the new year.
If you like the idea, have a look at the resolutions we think could turn things for the better for a PM.
#1: Stay Away from your Inbox
According to a McKinsey analysis, the average professional spends around 28% of the day reading and answering emails. This adds up to 2+ hours each day, but the numbers can get higher if you use email to manage projects and assign tasks.
Besides being a poor method to manage projects, most people tend to check their email every half an hour. This creates a habit that will be perpetuated throughout your activity and hinder the productivity of the entire team. Moreover, it is more difficult to identify sensitive issues or bottlenecks when you don’t have a Birdseye view of the entire team’s activity.
According to recent studies, it can take a person up to 23 minutes to get back to their work rhythm once they’ve been interrupted. So, if you check your email every half an hour, your productivity will plummet.
To solve this problem, it’s best to use a project management platform that lets you assign tasks and design the most efficient workflow for each project. It’s also a fantastic way to put your inbox aside and only check it when you have some time to spare.
Moreover, email platforms (like Gmail, for instance) even have tools that let you put the inbox on hold until you can check them. This way, you won’t be tempted to check each half an hour.
#2: Make Better Budgets
Everyone knows that the human resource is the most important asset of any company. But, in order to put it to good use, you need to know how to manage the people’s time and the company’s money in the most efficient way to produce quality work.
Now, as a project manager, it is your job to put together the budget and make sure everyone gets the remuneration they deserve. Still, this is a time-consuming task, which is why you should use an HR & Payroll software that is a good fit for your situation.
Such a tool will shorten the time spent with the budget and will let you identify problematic areas without too much effort.
#3: Invest in the Right Tools
Speaking of tools, nowadays there is a wide range of apps and online platforms that can help your daily activity. From HR-oriented platforms to apps that let you monitor everyone’s activity, you should choose the ones that help create a better work environment.
For instance, if your company uses a platform like G Suite in combination with Chromebook devices, there are settings and tools that allow system administrators to block distracting sites and apps. This way, it becomes easier to have everyone focus on their work tasks.
#4: Make Communication a Priority
Believe it or not, the lack of proper communication is a project’s worst enemy. Everyone who was ever involved in the workforce has their horror stories that can be summarized to a problem in communication.
As a project manager, you must maintain open lines of communication with your team and with stakeholders, which is why it can be difficult to find a balance between the two. Start by analyzing your activity in the last year and learn from any mistakes that have already happen.
For instance, do you encourage the team to openly discuss their concerns and offer suggestions? Also, when it comes to discussing with stakeholders and customers - are you the only point of communication or do you allow your team members to weigh in their opinion?
The 2020 resolution should be about listening more to your team members and finding ways to keep the stakeholders and clients informed on the work progress. This could mean more meetings with everyone involved in making decisions (from both sides) or it could mean getting to know your team better.
#5: Think Outside the Box
Any good manager must have the capacity to think creatively and identify new solutions to all sorts of problems and difficulties. But your ingenuity shouldn’t be applied only to putting out fires.
Make a resolution to find new ways to promote your team’s activity or to identify fun ways to get everyone involved in a learning challenge. Always monitor the most recent employment trends. For example, 77% of employees have acknowledged that they don’t feel valued for the word they are doing, as stated in this report. Having read this, you might need to think about how it relates to your company and your employees. Perhaps you’ll even come up with ideas for a better employee recognition.
Also, be more open to the idea of remote workers (which is becoming mainstream) and make a resolution to add technology that will allow more people to have a flexible work schedule. If your company has not implemented this way of working yet, you could be the first to introduce it.
Most of your 2020 New Year’s resolution as a project manager should be about improvement and efficiency. But, you should also think about personal development and opening your mind to new situations.
By doing so, you will be prepared to act on emergencies and difficult situations, which will save you and your team precious time. Of course, it’s just as important to understand and accept that failure is a part of the process. This will allow you to face any type of challenge and come out of it unscathed.
So, make 2020 the year of growth and acceptance and be the manager who leads their team to new heights of success!
Erika Rykun is an independent copywriter and content manager. She is a believer in a high-quality networking, avid reader and runner.