6 Sep 2013

Your Time is Like Gold Dust — Manage It Well

Time is something which is generally in short supply during a project, especially for the project manager it has to be said. You might feel at times as though the days and weeks fly past faster than ever before once you are in this role.

A project manager looks worried as he checks the time on his watch.Of course, this isn’t a problem when you are getting through all of your work but if you are flying by the seat of your pants then at some point you are probably going to come unstuck. This means that you are better finding a way of managing your time which works for you and which you can stick to whether you have a lot of time or not much at all.

Plan in Advance

Probably the simplest way of making the most of your time is by working out in advance what you need to do. This might seem simple but I have seen a lot of project workers run into problems because they don’t do it. Part of this is all about doing the project plan but I am also thinking about planning on a more detailed, day by day or week by week basis. If you do this right then you won’t come across any nasty surprises along the way. It is actually a pretty easy habit to get into and you will soon be thinking ahead all of the time without even realizing it.

Use the Power of Delegation

You don’t have to do everything on your own. Once you realize this it will make your life a lot easier. Obviously there are some jobs which you will want to do yourself but there are sure to be plenty more which you can delegate without any worries. What you don’t want to do is wait until you have urgent tasks and then delegate all of them out to team members who haven’t yet been properly tested. For the sake of everyone concerned it is far better that you get used to delegating out work right from the start of the project and seeing who you can most trust to do certain things.

Know Your Deadlines

One of the previous points was about planning in advance but you are only doing this half right if you don’t take into account the deadlines. An example I can think of just now comes from a mistake I made a while back. I had planned ahead to do most of the work on time but a couple of the big tasks I had left till the end were actually more urgent than most of the other ones I had already done. You don’t want to be in the situation when suddenly two or three different urgent tasks sneak up on you at once. This means that you need to know when you are needed to do everything by. This is easier said than done in some cases and it might become a fairly big task in itself to find out the dates you need to know. However, you will be giving yourself a much more complicated task if you try to manage your time without knowing when you need to do each thing by.

Multitask at the Right Times

Multitasking is one of those things which are great at times but not all of the time. Personally I like to do it when I am feeling fresh and full of energy in the mornings but not so much later on. I also think that it is important to do it with the right tasks instead of trying to squeeze too much in. For example, if I am on a conference call in which I know that I am not going to be needed to do or say much then I will probably feel happy enough to answer a few simple emails or do something else which doesn’t need 100% of my concentration. Multitasking can be of great benefit to you but if you try and do it at the wrong time or with the wrong tasks then it could all get a bit messy. I remember seeing a colleague trying to work on his project plan while in a meeting with stakeholders. He got so engrossed in the plan that he seemed to completely forget about the meeting and it took us about 30 seconds to attract his attention when someone asked him a question and he didn’t respond to it or show any sign of having even heard it.