The process of controlling and planning how much time to spend on a certain activity is time management. Whether it’s planning daily tasks or managing a business project, time management plays a major role in accomplishing goals.
When it comes to project management, time management plays a crucial role in helping teams accomplish more in a shorter period of time.
Time management leads to improved productivity and less stress, as you execute and manage your day and attain massive success.
Benefits of Time Management
Here are a few benefits of practicing time management strategies.
- Identify and Accomplish Goals: Project managers and employees who manage time well can accomplish goals better.
- More Opportunities: Less time wasted on trivial activities and managing time well leads to greater opportunities. Efficient time management skills help teams prioritize and schedule tasks to do more work in less time.
- More Time: Both employees and project managers can enjoy spending more time on personal pursuits or hobbies when they learn to close projects within given periods.
- Stress Relief: Following tasks and schedules reduces anxiety. When you are making tangible progress, you can avoid feeling stressed and overcome all challenges ahead.
5 Strategies to Improve Your Time Management
Now that you know how beneficial time management is for both project managers and team members, here are five crucial strategies that you can implement to develop this crucial skill:
Eat the Frog
According to Mark Twain, if your job involves eating a frog, do it first thing in the morning so nothing worse will happen to you. If you have to eat two, first eat the bigger one.
In terms of project management, the frog could be an important task or your most dreaded assignment. So, stop delaying extensive paperwork or a call you must make to a demanding client. Any task you keep putting off becomes more complicated because you end up finishing it in less time. Swallowing your frog every morning is sure to give you a productivity boost.
Contrary to popular belief, multitasking does not help you in the long run. When you try to focus on everything, you fail to give your complete attention. For that reason, multitasking does more harm than good. That is one of the reasons why you end up taking longer than expected to finish multiple projects when you are trying to complete everything simultaneously.
While it is true that the human brain is more powerful than any computer, every mind works differently. The average brain does not have unlimited processing units. Instead, our brain has two hemispheres that perform best when we are focusing on one or at most two things at a time.
Sharing ideas with your team does nothing to reduce your workload. Project managers must delegate some part of their task to other team members. Most leaders avoid delegating important tasks because they fear that could ruin an important project.
The first step is to identify potential team members who can follow instructions and map out a project plan and timeline. Make sure you give out clear and precise instructions. There are numerous project management tools and software available online that come in handy to delegate and monitor tasks daily. These resources not only save your precious time but also simplify a complex project by combining several activities.
Schedule and Automate Tasks
Delegating alone is not enough to help you manage time effectively. Other routine tasks, such as updating estimates, tracking time, and report preparation, can consume a lot of your time. Hi-tech automation systems improve your team’s efficiency and accuracy and reduce costs.
Project managers can benefit from a central hub where they store and update all information. This unobtrusive data collection method allows project managers to track progress without wasting hours. You get flexible report formats and the power to access data. You can also schedule routine tasks, such as sending out marketing emails, and receive a progress report.
The critical path refers to the longest cycle of activities in a project that require completion on time for the project to finish on the due date. Early Start is the earliest time that an activity can begin as per the logical constraints.
It is a great idea to precede any project with an internal kick-off session to involve everyone. Set clear and defined timelines and guidelines and assign tasks to all members of the team so everyone can start early without an excuse.
How to Overcome Procrastination
It is common for PMs to procrastinate.
However, did you know some of the most famous celebrities in the world dealt with procrastination?
Renowned names including Margaret Atwood, Victor Hugo, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Bill Clinton have all been victims.
The secret lies in self-control and identifying your strengths so you can combat your weaknesses.
Most project managers arrive at work at 6:00 a.m. and remain in their office throughout the first half of the day. They do not answer phone calls, reply to emails, or answer knocks because they do not want anyone to disrupt their work momentum. That is because they are most productive during that part of the day. Once they accomplish the most important tasks, they become available to meet with their staff members or reply to messages.
Time is money. As a project manager, you are responsible to help everyone in your team overcome this productivity killer. A time-tested tip most leaders use is to assign more tasks to a lazy employee, so he or she has the chance to prove their mettle. The results are usually the same. That employee will either work overtime or adopt time management practices to perform better. A reward system can also motivate employees who need an extra push to become more responsible.
Project management is the application of skills, knowledge, tools, and methodologies to develop strategies and activities to meet the project requirements. A competent project manager communicates, delegates, and tracks progress to implement time management practices. Breaking down large or complex projects into manageable parts and effective delegation guarantees successful completion. A project manager can save valuable time if he/she sets clear work goals, delegates and automates tasks, and communicates effectively.
Brandi Marcene is an English literature major turned web copywriter and blogger. For the last decade, Brandi has built her experience and expertise in blogging, content marketing, and technical writing. She has experience across numerous industries, including oil and gas, architecture, banking, and business and productivity.