“Time is the scarcest resource and unless it is managed, nothing else can be managed.” – Peter Drucker
Apart from being scarce, time is also the most precious resource. Project managers have to arrange tasks and coordinate teams to meet deadlines.
Project managers also have to try and control costs. Changing internal and external factors provide no excuse.
To be successful, project managers need to master the art of time management. Time management not only benefits the project but also the employees and supervisors. It lowers stress levels and improves productivity.
Project Time Management Strategies
If you are in charge of projects, you need to pick up a few project time management strategies. Here are 5 indispensable strategies that will help you maintain your sanity as you manage and juggle high-pressure projects.
Moving With a Well-Defined Plan
Efficient time management begins even before the project. It starts with clear goals and objectives. The main difference between project goals and objectives is that project goals are set at a higher level. Project objectives focus on the deliverables.
Project goals make clear the rationale of the project and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Thus goals help in avoiding conflict of interest at a later stage, and the associated waste of time.
Clear goals and objectives are necessary for developing a good project plan. No project can be successful without a well-defined plan. The project plan will enable the project manager to ensure a smooth workflow.
Clearly state what needs to be accomplished and by when. This will increase accountability. Identify the resources needed to complete the project successfully, such as personnel, equipment, and materials.
Prioritizing Tasks and Breaking Them Down into Manageable Chunks
Project dependencies and related delays can hurt the progress of the entire project. Identify dependencies and the critical path to prioritize your tasks.
It is wise to polish your time management skills. Try to learn techniques such as the Eisenhower Matrix, the Alpen Method, and the Pareto Principle. These techniques make prioritization of tasks and allocation of time easier. Select a technique based on suitability.
Once you identify your priorities, break each task into smaller chunks. Dividing the tasks will make it easier to complete them and measure success.
Estimate the amount of time required for each task. Set realistic deadlines. Review your schedule regularly and make adjustments as needed.
Free up your time and energy with delegation. This way you will be able to focus on more important matters. It won’t be easy in the beginning. You have to get used to the idea of not having complete control.
Look at the strengths and expertise of your team members. Select the right people for the tasks.
Provide clear and complete instructions. Ensure that your team members have the correct information and resources. Let them know your expectations and the deadlines.
Show your team members that you trust them to handle their responsibilities. Follow up regularly. Provide suggestions, support, and motivation.
As a project manager, you have to find ways to boost efficiency. One way to do this is by using technology to automate processes. Many available project management tools serve this purpose.
You can use project management software like ProofHub, HubSpot, and GanttPRO to track progress and assign and update tasks. Such software will also provide insights, help ensure the best use of resources, and enhance collaboration. Some software also offer the option to integrate with other tools like Outlook and Dropbox.
Good communication is the backbone of a successful project. But, communication takes 90% of the time of a project manager. It can eat away at the time needed for other key tasks.
Technology can speed up communication. Project management software can keep your team members informed and aware of project timelines and changes. It can help team members stay on track.
You can deal with distractions using a Pomodoro timer app or device. Focus on a task for 25 minutes at a stretch. Then, take a 5-minute break. The app or device will allow you to set up a signal for your team. This signal will let your team know when you are not to be disturbed. Ask your team to follow the signal at all times except in case of emergencies.
As a project manager, you need to keep striving to find ways to boost productivity. Use various tools and methods to prevent delays. Nurture your skills through learning and training.
One of the main parameters of the success of a project is its completion on time. This makes time management a vital skill for project managers.