A three-part series on project management. The first of three areas that will assist in project management, time management, efficiency and communication.
Stellar time management, either you have it or you don’t. If there was one lesson my years in the military taught me, it’s that you can train yourself to do just about anything. Being able to manage your time effectively is no exception. The area of time crucial when managing a project. The project manager not only has to manage their own time but also the time of contractors, employees and the client. This means that one must under promise, over deliver and map out time in a clear, precise and efficient manner. Below, I have listed three steps to help manage time more effectively.
1) Become an early riser
I’m not a morning person by nature but I have been determined to turn myself into one. To do this, I spent some time considering why I don’t like to rise early. Also, when I do wake up, what do I enjoy about it. After my analysis, I made a plan to diminish the aspects that I don’t like and increase the ones that I do.
One example of this would be my “spaceship alarm clock.” Don’t laugh! Actually, go ahead, it is quite funny. Years ago, in an effort to rise earlier than the sun, I bought a Panasonic alarm clock that wakes with light instead of sound. The light starts out dim and gradually gets lighter until the entire room is as bright as I desire. And it works! I wake up in a much better mood because it is a gradual process instead of a jarring experience.
This is just one example, the same idea could be applied to anything. Is your morning coffee the thing you look forward to most? Why not buy a coffee maker that has an automatic start time so you wake up to the smell of freshly brewed coffee. Or maybe you don’t like to get up because the house is too cold and your bed is so warm. Why not purchase a smart thermometer that is programmed to warm the house before you wake?
Anyway, you cut it, starting the day out earlier is going to help accomplish the work that needs to get done. It’s an effective part of time management, and it can be done. I’m proof positive that even the grouchiest of us non-morning people can wake up and be more effective when a plan is put into place.
2) Use a day planner
Americans perform quite the juggling act when it comes to time. Because of this, it’s crucial to write everything down. While using Google Calendar or any other digital planner is a good idea, I also think it’s prudent to write things down. Our brains hold information better when we physically write and as a bonus, we have a hard copy that can’t get deleted or accidentally changed.
In addition to writing events, deadlines and appointments in my day planner, I utilize sticky notes as well. Post it’s are my go-to organizational supply. I write tasks on them and fill up the day planner. When the task is done, I simply put the sticky note into a pile so that I can see everything that’s been accomplished for the day.
3) Create margins of time
Things end up taking longer than we think they will. Because of this, it’s important to create margins of time. We can do this by purposely setting aside time where nothing is scheduled. When a meeting runs over, a child calls homesick, or a project takes longer than expected, those margins are then allowed to fill up. If nothing pressing happens, then take the time to get ahead on a project or to enjoy a hobby. You could also declare any margin that doesn’t fill up your personal R&R time. Any way you cut it, creating margins of time is going to help you with time management.
In waking up early, writing down tasks, and creating margins of time, I hope that you create the perfect plan for managing your time effectively.