For any project manager, time and project management is critical. Over the course of a project, you will be constantly engaged in time management, whether it is managing the schedule, milestones or the progression of tasks. Project managers are well skilled at this, however, it is often a different story when it comes to managing their own time. A lack of personal time-management skills can result in stress and burning out. Here are 7 quick suggestions that will help PMs manage their personal time better.
- Scope your week - Spend 20 minutes at the beginning of your work week reviewing your calendar and noting the meetings, deliverables and tasks required of you. Once everything is in view, plan the appropriate amount of time required for successfully completing each item. Scoping your week and planning your time will help you avoid over commitment or being under prepared.
- Prioritize - Each day tackle “must do’s” tasks first and with focus. These are the items that need to be accomplished today. Be disciplined in avoiding any item that did not make the “must do” list and only tend to them after your prioritized tasks are completed. Working this way will help stabilize your work week and stop you from getting slammed.
- Underestimate yourself - Although this sounds counter intuitive, studies show that we overestimate what we are able to accomplish in a given amount of time. Just as you do when creating a project plan, anticipate that there will be distractions and interferences in your personal schedule. Plan for this by building in some extra time for each of the items on your daily to-do list.
- Stop Multitasking - Multi-tasking may not be a good way to accomplish “must do” items. Multi-tasking dilutes your focus across several tasks. Instead, practice solo-tasking where you apply full attention to the task at hand and once it is completed, move your full focus to the next task.
- Respond, don’t react - Break the habit of quickly handling small incoming distractions. Note them down but don’t react until the task you are working on is done. Manage the tools that deliver these distractions by logging-out, setting them to do-not-disturb or turning them off until your current task is done.
- Outsource tasks - Identify which tasks can be outsourced or delegated to a team member or across the team and then assign them. Set a goal to pass one of your sizeable tasks each week. You must budget time to review the resulting work and make adjustments as necessary.
- Take breaks - Staying focused for long periods is draining and difficult. Planning a few minutes to relax between tasks is a good technique for staying focused and energized. It could mean physically getting up and moving away from your desk or just mentally relaxing for a few moments.
Following some or all of these tips can help Project Managers control their personal work schedules. Let us know what has worked for you?
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