Simple Lessons in Time Management

Simple Lessons in Time Management

Insights | 14 December 2009

As a project manager, success comes as a direct result of not only your relentless application and dedication to said projects, but your time management skills. In order to maximize efficiency, your time should be managed in order to sustain a routine that encompasses both discipline and commitment whilst providing a well-thought out margin for factoring in routine facets of life including personal tasks and duties of which cannot be avoided in the workplace.

Time management theories within the business world are superbly written on paper, however many of said theories are rooted purely in business application and fail to consider living life in general. As a project manager, your business will be anchored in every aspect of your personal life. You’ll be working from home on occasion, receiving calls on the go, perhaps reading over reports on your train ride home…  But are you managing your tasks effectively?

You may find that some simple time taken to prioritise tasks during the day will mean that you won’t have to read those reports on the way home, won’t have to take those business calls out of business hours or even work from home.

Some simple time management tips for project managers:

  1. Focus on yourself – They say that time management is not just about business, rather it is about life. Understand that you can only control and influence a certain amount of occurrences, and that you will be affected by unpredictable externalities. With this said, work with what you can control within the realms of your business/project with the utmost dedication and commitment. Do this, and will be effectively creating a time space contingent for these externalities through your pro-activity. By maximizing efficiency you are leaving back-up room for things that can go wrong, with time to fix these issues without them eating into your personal life.
  2. Plan ahead – Not only should you be planning ahead within the confines of your projects at work, but also at home too. This ensures that you are putting time aside for things that you want to do outside of work hours.
  3. Prioritise everything – Remember that there is only 24 hours in a day, therefore you want to be making the most out of each hour to ensure high levels of productivity within the workplace and give yourself time to focus on yourself outside of work hours. Unless highly necessary to take on emergency tasks, always put your projects before all other workplace demands and execute your project with strict reference to a hierarchy of imperative tasks. Do not allows yourself to get distracted with smaller activities or extend past designated task time frames and exercise discipline over larger tasks to get as close to your project goal within one working day as possible.
  4. Ruthlessly execute – This further assert the above point. Exercise discipline and do not shy away from any task at hand. Efficiency is key to effective time management hence your success.
  5. Make use of planning tools – Ensure that you have excellent project management systems deployed within your workplace  and ensure you have mobile access to email to keep yourself informed of progress on the go.
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